Unanswered questions …

You can never take your sobriety for granted. Never take your eye off the ball. Don’t assume you are safely through to the other side. That is what I’ve learnt today.

This past week has been full of anxiety triggers for me. Work pressures and stress, the sad loss of a very old family friend, not having been able to see my closest friend for 4 months now (and still likely to be longer) and the outlook and reporting on the news just so bloody bleak. In addition, I am fully med free having spent 4 weeks weaning off my antidepressants. I have had virtually no sleep since Friday, struggling to go off until 2 or 3am and then awake again at 5am. Then, today, for the first time in ages, the unthinkable happened. I wanted a drink.

It wasn’t a romantic, sit by a lake, enjoying a picnic, sipping a glass of Prosecco type of longing. Oh no! It was a full on, fuck this, I want to go and buy two bottles of wine (white or red – I’m not fussy) and drink the whole lot type of craving. Nor was it a, “I’m a bit curious as to whether I can moderate and be able to live with alcohol once again” moment. Nope. It was a, “moderation is for idiots, I’m going to get totally pissed and I don’t care” attitude.

Don’t panic. I haven’t. I went out and bought plants and shrubs for the garden. I bought paint for the utility walls and white spirit to mop up the paint I will undoubtably spill on the floor. I did not treat myself to a Chablis or a Shiraz. I’m not currently lying on my bed half comatose having fallen spectacularly off the wagon. It is however a sign I’m struggling again. What I can’t work out is what is acceptable and ‘normal’? Is it ok to feel anxious because problems, challenges and change are all happening at once? Is it ok that the anxiety is kickstarting my over thinking and subsequently affecting my ability to accurately read and interpret a situation? Is it ok that sleep has suddenly evaded me after achieving a consistent 8hrs every night for months and months? I suppose the question I really want the answer to is this. Is this the return of generalised anxiety disorder and is it directly linked to my coming off the SSRIs? I honestly can’t face it all again.

How long do you wait to find out? What if I’m basically just a stress head and I need to accept it as part of me, rather than blaming it on a mental health illness? Everyone gets stressed. I’m just not sure when my ‘stressed’ tips over into becoming unwell. Mental health is so complex. The interplay between lack of sleep, stress triggers, meds, personality and, let’s not forget, the lovely peri-menopause, makes it hard to tease out the cause and therefore the best way to manage it. I used a word early on in my sobriety. Tangled. It’s such a descriptive word and is exactly how I feel once more. Tangled.

I didn’t drink. I won’t drink. I know it is not the answer. Quite what is, I really have no idea.

Love Claire x

33 thoughts on “Unanswered questions …”

    1. Thanks Ashley that means a lot. I know, so many factors. Things are never straightforward! I’m thinking wait it out a while and give myself time. Things will go one way or the other. 💕

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    1. I think you are right. Sleep is crucial isn’t it? I feel like everything is muddled in my head because I can’t focus because I’m so tired! Brilliant, thanks Dwight. First thing is more sleep. 😘 xx

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  1. ok..not remembering exactly where you are on your journey i will say this: it is pretty much exactly what happened to me around 6-7 months. I didn’t succumb to the beast but ( in hind sight )the mental exhaustion from arguing with my demons just contributed to the sleep thing. However, we are definitely in a new day and age with all that is going on. I am not sure i would have made it thru my own sobriety journey had this been going on. Since this whole thing started, as i’ve posted, i have been slacking in every area. I experimented a few times with alcohol, and thank God did not spiral down into hell but actually learned my own limits without any doubts..However, i returned to smoking in May and now need to struggle thru the process of quitting again, along with trying to exercise. So, short answer is YES..it’s all ok…it’s expected, everyones journey is different and the stress right now is beyond normal…so relax as best you can …HUGS!!!

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    1. I am just over 7 mths sober so sounds like I am at a similar place. I am persevering with yoga and walking but my running has fallen by the wayside recently. It’s true, the stress at the moment is huge. I’ll try to give myself a break. I’m needing some fun. I think that’s what’s been missing. Hugs to you too Lovie 😘💕❤️

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  2. Sleep first. IMHO
    These times we are in are a first. It is hard to know how to deal with it with no measure. It is stressful. And anxiety provoking. There is no normal.
    I too am struggling with sleep at the moment. I am learning to go with it. It is frustrating lying in bed wanting so much to sleep and nothing happening no matter what you try.
    They say get up and do something mundane if you can’t sleep. For me in winter it’s so warm and cosy I’m staying put.
    Be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself every single day❤️

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    1. You know I had a better sleep last night. I still woke early but I did go off at midnight which is great compared to the last 5 days. I feel a little better. I will be kind to myself today. Thanks LT 💕😘

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  3. The sleep is hard! I take 2 Benadryl every night to sleep. Some nights I sleep a good 6 hours, some nights not but if I don’t have it, my brain just won’t turn off. I was using ambient but got myself off that. But I still need something. Maybe Benadryl is bad advice, but it helps me. I also think peri-menopause plays a roll in a lot of things! I read an article awhile ago that it can make you anxious, depressed, irritable and have trouble sleeping!
    I sure hope you start to feel better soon! ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. It kills me, no sleep. I’m worried it’s because I’ve stopped the meds and my sleep has been disrupted. Then again, right now I’m worried about worrying 🤦‍♀️. I think peri menopause has a lot to do with it though. That’s why I wonder if I should’ve stayed on the antidepressants through menopause but that doesn’t feel like it’s the right way to go. Better sleep last night so onwards and upwards 😘🤗💕

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      1. I’m glad to hear you got a better nights sleep last night. It’s so hard to know what to do but it’s really cool to think that likely if you didn’t stop drinking, maybe you wouldn’t be making all these changes which I believe are for the positive. Even if it’s hard right now. It’s hard too with this pandemic and social distancing. We can’t easily connect with friends and such as a happy outlet for that boost we need. Take care dear, you’re a very strong person! ❤️❤️❤️

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  4. Hang in there, Claire. I agree with everyone on the important role sleep plays in every aspect of our health. It’s your foundation for wellbeing and if you are deprived, it affects everything. I hope you are able to rest soon. Also, those drinking thoughts from out of nowhere happen to all of us from time to time, so you’re not alone and you have it exactly right: it reinforces how dangerous complacency is… Never turn your back on the ocean.
    Sleep, sweet friend. 😘😴💕

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    1. I know, sleep is so vital and the knock on effect of minimal sleep is far reaching. I’m just hoping that I can get into better sleep patterns even without my meds. I think my sugar intake is too high also, particularly in the evening. I’m in the habit of munching on chocolate far too late at night. It all impacts doesn’t it? The drink craving scared me. It came out of the blue. A reminder of how easy it would be to fall off the edge of that cliff! Thanks Collette. Soothing words as always 💕🤗😘

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  5. Good job not drinking! Everyone has already said the thing I would say. Sleep! Even if you have to take some sleeping pills, get some sleep and then see what is up. And I’m so sorry to hear about your family friend. And everything else does sound pretty anxiety provoking for anyone. I hope you are resting now, and feel better in the morning! Take care of yourself. Gigantic hugs! 🤗❤️

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    1. Thanks for the gigantic hugs. I needed those! I wish I could stop with the negative thoughts and unhelpful overthinking. I’m trying yoga and meditation. Yoga is great but I haven’t cracked the meditation thing .. I do it but I don’t get the relief from it others seem to find. I’m glad I didn’t drink. It only ever made my sleep even worse. I had more sleep last night. Hopefully today will be positive xxx

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  6. Firstly a massive well done for not having that drink. We have all been there I think; that temptation to just give in a find that old solace, that dreamy slightly pissed state, but we know where it leads so well done. Secondly you mention all the factors weighing on you but I do believe this pandemic is affecting all of us more than we realise. It’s created an undercurrent of anxiety, fear, loss, anger, frustration that sits there bubbling away and probably amplifies any “down” feelings that may come along. I’m seeing that in people I know and professionally and it’s understandable. We are all anxious, we have all lost things, there is huge uncertainty. We have no individual control over events but we can control what we do and how we respond. You have shown that control already- you didn’t drink. Make yourself number 1 priority- sleep, exercise, keep contact with that friend- do things that make you feel good, eat well. These are things I have to remind myself to do too. Things will get better, things change, they always do. Jim x

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    1. I think the undercurrent of anxiety is so true. I just want it all to end, the unknown and the what ifs, but I know we are a long way off from that at the moment. I’m trying to do all those things you suggest. I’ll keep trying. I’ll also keep hoping that it will get better and things will change. I find I struggle to believe that right now. I miss people a lot. Not all people, just very special people. It feels tough at the moment. Claire x

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  7. Ditto Jim. Can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said. Wonderful support! And yes- take the victory of not succumbing to a bottle. Or two! Sending hugs, love and prayers.❤️

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  8. “Is it ok to feel anxious because problems, challenges and change are all happening at once?” YES YES YES YES ! It is! Like the others, I recommend making sleep your top priority, then once things are a bit more bearable, you’ll be in a much better place to assess the general mental health situation and what to do medication-wise. It’s really hard, but you can do this ! xxxx Hang in there ! Sending big hugs ❤ Anne

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    1. Thanks Anne. How have you been getting on? I was thinking about you yesterday as I headed into meltdown! I’m going to focus on sleep. You know what I hate the most when I feel like this? It’s that edgy, ansty feeling. As though anything could break me. Vulnerable I guess. Bloody brain. 💋 😘🤗

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    1. What a lovely thing to say Emma. Thank you. I don’t, obviously 😂😂 I’m very tired of things right now but I’ll keep on keeping on! Hope you are ok? XX 🤗

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