“‘You’re going out drinking again? Why don’t you just stay home tonight?’ was something I heard often last year.
It was a cold January, close to my 25th birthday. I was going through the most intense mental health problems I had ever experienced. I had also just discovered that alcohol took that pain away, for a slight amount of time.
I had drank before, when I was depressed, so I thought this night would be no different. I was wrong.
I spent the day in bed, not showering, not eating, looking for something to live for, when my phone lit up. I sat up, unlocked it, and opened a text that said, ‘Come out tonight! Come drink!’ I set my phone back down, and pondered for a minute. I knew drinking wasn’t super helpful for my depression, but the way it made me feel for the short amount of time was worth it to me. At this time, my husband and I were not together, and he had the kids every weekend. To fill my void of that was also drinking.
I got up, got dressed, and caked on thick makeup to hide the dark circles under my eyes. I brushed my hair for the first time in a few days, trying to untangle the knots. I went and forced myself to eat an apple, even though I always felt sick to my stomach, and I left. I stopped at the liquor store and saw the usual cashier there. I almost felt embarrassed with how much of me she has seen in that store.
Later that night, I sat at the bar, and started drinking. I could feel with each sip, my sadness consuming me. My plan to avoid these dark feelings was backfiring. For the first time, they were growing stronger.
The next thing I remember was me sobbing, saying I didn’t want to live anymore, and my friend calling 911 for me.
I sat on the curb, feeling the pavement dig into my bare legs. I saw the police car coming my way. I hung my head in shame. ‘I’m in my mid twenties. I have two kids. What is wrong with me?’ Immense feelings of shame, guilt, and overwhelming sadness washed over me.
A police man stepped out of his vehicle. I could hear his shoes crunching leaves as he walked over to me. He talked to my friends, who had called, got down to my level and said, ‘Do you need me to take you to the hospital?’ I looked up at him, but I couldn’t find the words to say anything. I nodded yes, and got in the back of his car.
The ride there felt like a nightmare. I had never been in a police car. I had not expected the seats to be so hard. The police man was nice enough. He told me things would get better, and that drinking makes things worse when you have depression. Something I had never really thought about much before.
I arrived at the hospital. I waited, and waited. Finally, a doctor came in. He knew that I had been in the hospital before. He knew I had been in the psych ward before. He asked me why I had been drinking if I’m struggling so bad with depression.
I could barely get any words out of my now dry mouth, but I said, ‘It makes me feel fine for a few hours. That’s all I want. Is to feel normal for even a few hours.’
I started pouring out to him. I told him about how I would put alcohol in my coffee sometimes. About how I couldn’t go a day without having at least one drink. I told him about how out of control I can become when I drink. Things I had been keeping in, and sweeping under the rug as ‘normal drunk girl behavior.’ I had to stay that night, on the hardest, most uncomfortable bed I’ve ever laid on.
I woke up the next morning, to worried calls from my friends and family. I woke up, looked around at the hospital, and realized the mess I was creating. I realized how bad my drinking actually was. And that this wasn’t normal.
It took me a few months to fully up to people about how bad my drinking was, and my reckless behavior.
I had to learn to put the glass down, when I wasn’t feeling my best. Drinking will not help your depression in any way. Learn from me, and my mistakes.
Put the glass down. This is not the way to help or cope with your depression.
I had to learn that the hard way, and honestly, I’m glad I’m still alive to able to tell you this.
Alcohol is not a mask. It will not hide your mental health problems. It’s a cover up, for a much more serious problem.
You’re not alone, people care. I’m so glad I’m still here to be able to watch my kids grow.
There is hope.
Put the glass down.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Caitlin Fladager. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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