When the Fog Shifts - Lisa Walsh
The Dog Days Are Over
The reason I have decided to write this now and not last year or next year, is because I feel strong emotionally and mentally now – and I credit this to being sober.
Post natal depression followed along with trying 4 to 5 different types of antidepressants to see which “worked” best, I decided in the fog of being a new-antidepressant-taking-mom with racing hormones, that it might be an even better idea if I drink alcohol to self-medicate.
I mean, I was in an unloving relationship, had a dysfunctional family relationship and had this tiny human that I had to keep alive while operating on minimal sleep, what better way to take the edge off than to add alcohol, fuel to a very unstable fire. How I live to regret introducing the devils juice into my home and thinking it was my best (if not only) friend. Inevitably, what followed was the breakup of the relationship and about two stone weight gain, but this didn’t slow me down. This only intensified my self-pitying and self-loathing, sure I DESERVED a drink god love me… (eye roll).
I started looking at other Moms in the baby groups trying to figure out in my head why they were parenting better than me and how come they seemed happy and I was miserable? I immediately stopped going to baby groups. The same week, a famous Irish model did an article on how new moms shouldn’t let themselves go, it was exactly the crock of shit I really didn’t need to read. Same went for couples in parks and play zones, how are they happy? Why wasn’t my relationship a happy one like theirs seemed to be? You see, if you tell yourself enough times all of the above, and prowl social media obsessing over all the ideal lives portrayed online, you believe it as gospel and start to feel hard done by – enter another new friend… BITTERNESS.
By the end of 2017, I had this brand new circle of friends. Their names were Loneliness, Functional Alcoholic, Bitterness, Self-pity, Anxiety, Depression and Self-Loathing. Who needs enemies when you have friends like these? I drank nearly every night at home alone. The volume of alcohol I was in taking was increasing each week. I woke every morning sometimes covered in my own urine, with brain fog, even more deep rooted anxiety, not wanting to see anyone or socially interact. I just couldn’t dig myself out of this miserable hole. I thought my behaviour matched up to my worth, really.
See, before all of the shit show, and pre-baby, I was relatively hot, had my own apartment, worked full-time and played sport. Now don’t get me wrong, I was always slightly cracked but in a good, manageable, “ah, she’s stone mad”, kind of way.
This being sober journey is still new to me. I’m learning to sit with feelings and emotions that I’ve grown used to numbing with alcohol. There is one feeling though that I have welcomed with open arms and that’s the feeling of freedom…
Free from the grip that alcohol had on my mental health. Free from the control it had over my thoughts, feelings and actions. I’m starting to like myself again. I find myself appreciating the really small and simple things in life. I realise now that my mental health is something I will always have to manage along with my self-medicating alcohol issue , but I am accepting that this is me , and for the first time in a very long time I’m starting to believe I have something good to offer this world.
If you need help please talk to firends, family a GP, therapist or one of the free confidential helpline services. For a full list of national mental health services see yourmentalhealth.ie
- Samaritans on their free confidential 24/7 helpline on 116-123, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pieta House National Suicide Helpline 1800 247 247 or email email@example.com – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement) or text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply)
- Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
If living in Ireland you can find accredited therapists in your area here: