Recently I have been thinking a lot about mental health.
I have been lucky enough to not have to struggle with any major mental health issues in my family, but I have seen first hand how difficult these issues can be. Everyone gets depressed once in a while, right?
When life gets stressful, it’s common to reward a job well done, or take a night off and have a few beverages. These “reward” nights come at a cost.
You wake up the next day with a headache, stomach ache, unmotivated and depressed. After panicking to locate your phone and your wallet, you wrap yourself in a burrito blanket and you think about how everything in your life sucks. You stuff your face with junk food, and then feel bad about that later. If you don’t get a hold of yourself, this could become a very self-destructive cycle.
Drinking causes your feel-good chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) to go into overdrive. The part of your brain that deals with inhibition starts to depress. This is why alcohol is called a depressant. Your heavy baggage falls away and you feel fantastic. When you drink you begin to feel that joyous buzz. The next morning the levels of those chemicals drop and leave you feeling blue. Those who are prone to depression and anxiety are more likely to be problem drinkers, according to Drinkaware.co.uk.
Another thing to watch out for is memory loss. Not only blacking out one night and trying to figure out where you are in the morning, but reoccurring heavy booze sessions will likely damage your brain and have long-term effects. (Psychology Today)
You can fight the booze blues. The easiest way is to talk to a friend. The best way is to exercise. Call up your gal pal and ask to go for a walk. Don’t mask your feelings with more booze.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) I don’t have the time to tie one on every second night like I did when I was a young buck. I have learned how to drink responsibly with age — most of the time — and I have a general rule to never drink when I am upset. I have also invested in a lot of amazing books that stress the importance of taking care of yourself. Recently I finished Rising Strong by Brené Brown. Admittedly, it is a little embarrassing to look at books in the self-help section of Chapters. The battle with my ego is real. I am now learning to view that as the most wonderful section. What could be better than working to improve yourself and be a strong and supportive person for you, and those around you?
“First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be. We should watch our own gossiping and anger. We should model the kindness we want to see.”
~ Brené Brown
If you have concerns about addiction with someone you care about, here is a link to the Adult Addiction Services in Manitoba: http://www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving/addictions/adult.html