Does Alcohol Make You Crazier?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have suffered from anxiety, depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from the time I can remember. For better or worse, it’s part of who I am. I wasn’t always comfortable admitting I had all these “issues,” but, eventually, you just have to accept it and do your best with what God gave you. Over the years, I have learned various ways to “deal” with my mental health issues – mainly counseling, medication and getting sober (that was a big one).

However, that wasn’t always the case. Drinking was the main way I used to cope – with everything. If I was feeling anxious, I would drink; if I was feeling depressed, I would drink; if I was feeling obsessive, I would drink. And, on and on. It was a nasty little cycle I had going on. Of course, I always thought that drinking would make it better; that a few drinks would make it all go away. I would FINALLY feel relaxed! Ha!

The thing is, I never even realized that those drinks could actually be making my mental health issues worse. So, you can imagine my surprise when I came across the new health guide created by treatment center, Yellowbrick, that states the “Ten Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink Alcohol.”

It was like the first time I took one of those “are you an alcoholic?” quizzes. As I read down the list, I mentally made a check note by each one: interrupts normal sleep patterns (check), leads to rebound anxiety (check), contributes to increased impulsivity (check, check), interferes with prescribed medication (is that why my Prozac wasn’t working like it should’ve?).

Yellowbrick

I’m by no means telling “normal” people not to drink alcohol in moderation, but the reality is a huge percentage of our population suffers from anxiety and depression. If those people were more aware of the real effects drinking had on their mental health issues would that change their drinking patterns? Would they think twice about having that second, third or fourth drink? Maybe.

I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power and if we arm ourselves with the facts, we might be able to make different decisions in the future. Decisions that could potentially change the future of our health for the better.

This post was sponsored by Yellowbrick.

God Heard Me Today

Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

I haven’t felt very creative or crafty lately. I’ve been having a hard time. My OCD has been acting up and it’s put me in a type of paralysis. It’s strange because I find it more difficult to talk about my OCD than my alcoholism. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid people are going to think I am truly crazy – because that’s how it makes me feel.

Before I had kids, my OCD got really bad. I mean REALLY bad. Fortunately, with the help of my amazing and supportive husband, a good therapist and some medication I was able to get it under control. There are a lot of types of OCD. Mine is the more organizational, must have everything perfect type. Luckily, having kids helped because I didn’t have the time or the energy to spend on obsessing over whether or not the blinds were lined up perfectly (I’m not kidding). Once in a while I will have flare ups depending on my stress level, but nothing catastrophic.

So what happened? Well, we got a new car on Friday. It wasn’t about wanting a new one, we actually needed a new one. My husband’s car had really high miles and we needed something that I could drive around that would get better gas mileage. He took my Jeep and I got the sporty, shiny new black car. ALERT, ALERT. Now, we’ve had new cars before and it’s pretty typical of me to obsess over them for the first few days. However, this time it was worse. Before I go any further, I need you to know that this is real. OCD is a real illness that can be devastating. With some trepidation, I’m giving you a glimpse into this illness. Am I worried of what you’ll think? Yes. I’m scared you’ll think I’m crazy, which, I suppose you could argue that at times I am. Well, here goes.

The second day we had the car, I noticed there was a spot on the sun visor. I tried to get it off, but realized it was a small scrape – it wasn’t coming off. Even though the garage door opener would go directly over this spot, I could NOT get it out of my mind. I cleaned it a half-dozen times, hoping it would magically disappear. Well, of course it wasn’t going to go anywhere, but that’s OCD. I knew I was obsessing and I knew it was ridiculous because it was hardly noticeable. All I could think about was THAT spot. I went to bed thinking about it and I woke up thinking about it. I looked for a pen that might match the color of the visor, but no luck. I thought about replacing the visor. Too expensive and my husband would not go for that. Maybe I had some paint that would match it – nope. Yes, this is the craziness that goes through my mind. Of course, during all of this, I’m trying to put on a happy face for my kids and do all of the normal things I usually do. But, it’s hard. It’s really hard because all I can think about is the spot. I tell myself, I’m done. I’m not going to look at it again, but then I find myself looking at it in desperation.

The thing is, when I’m feeling like this I have no desire to drink. And, when I was drinking, I had less of a desire to obsess about things. Obviously, my happy place is when I’m not drinking and not obsessing, but just enjoying life. This is a fine line for me.

This morning, I was still spinning. I knew I had to do something. I was feeling desperate. I wasn’t going to drink and I wasn’t going to go trade the car in. Can you imagine the look on the sales guy face? Ha! As I was getting ready, I decided to do the only thing I knew I could. I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed to God that He would take away the obsession, take away the anxiety. I needed His help – I couldn’t do this alone. I got up and went back to doing my hair. As I stood there, a thought came out of nowhere. Put a sticker over it. Cover it up with something that will inspire you. And, I knew God had heard me. What a great idea! Why hadn’t I thought of that? I immediately called my husband and told him the answer. For the first time in three days, I felt my body let go of the anxiety it had been holding onto. I felt peace. Thank you, God. A simple answer, but just what I needed to calm the craziness.

I knew I had some inspirational stickers in the office left over from card making. I found them and began going through them. I had no idea what I was looking for – and then I found it. In simple black and white, there was a sticker that simply said “happiness.” That was it. I took it out to the car and covered up the spot with “happiness.”

From here on out, I will look at that sticker every day to remind myself of God’s love for me and that, over all else, I choose happiness.