Reflections Part 1
Life through the filter of social media. I wrote about this once before, when my mom was battling cancer. My life on social media looked “Picture Perfect”, while behind the curtain I was a mess of raging emotions. Sound familiar for anyone else?
For the next few Sundays (not sure how many parts this will end up being), I will be sharing my life over the past 9ish months. A change that has occurred that has left me… confused and learning myself. While the overall health benefits of this change are tremendous, the mental ones, eh…
As I sit here and type the words, I’m hesitating. I’m not even hitting post, just getting the words out. That’s how engrained, “always put your best foot forward” mentality is in me. Also, my thoughts are jumbled and I’m trying to figure out how to explain…
So here goes… Last Sept. hubby had a health scare and had to quit drinking alcohol. I, in turn, quit with him. I just didn’t realize how “dependent” I had become to alcohol. Not in the addiction sense, because we both just quit, but in the emotional/mental aspect of it.
This is a story of how I was self-medicating with alcohol and all the effects it had on me. And when the “medication” was taken away, how my life has changed and I’m still trying to balance it out.
I’m an introvert. And a shy one at that. Large groups of people I have to interact with make my heart race. Concerts and large events are fine. I’m with my friends and I'm there for a purpose. These big events are also a fun way for me to people watch. I'm talking get togethers, parties, & work. If you've seen any of the funny memes about introverts having to recharge after being around people, it's 100% TRUE.
So this is change #1. Alcohol was my liquid courage. I was/am more extroverted while imbibing in a cocktail. I could relax, mingle, and enjoy myself much more. Alcohol livened me up. I didn't get exhausted, instead had fun and my "recharge days" weren't as necessary. Of course, as an introvert, I needed them but not as often. I was able to get by with going, going, going, and then "hermit" for a weekend and start all over again.
Now, the anxiety I feel having to leave the house sometimes is crazy. I don't even want to do things I want to do. Does that even make sense? For example, I'm on a "let's organize and refresh the house" kick. But I don't even want to leave the house to go shopping and browse for things. I would be happiest if it would magically appear before me. Crazy? I know! The day job sucks the life out of me most days. Hundreds of kids, teachers, admins & parents all needing things from me. I'm happiest on days I can hole up in my office and do paperwork. No people interactions at all.
If you're wondering if I was drinking during the day, NO, I wasn't. But I was drinking several nights a week and all weekend, just to hit that Nice, Feel Good Buzz. Maybe I was people exhausted, but I knew I was going to get home or hit happy hour and that wonderful feeling was ahead of me.
This is something I have slowly learned over the past few months. I didn't acknowledge it at first. I started out as a kind of a grump/hermit. I still prefer my hermit weekends, but now I'm aware of it and am working on moving past these feelings. Pushing myself to get out, not "hide away".
Do I still drink? Yes, on occasion with my friends or on the cheer travels. It doesn't bother hubby and we have found some really tasty non-alcoholic beers for him. Why non-alcoholic beers? We quickly discovered the socialization norm that our society places on drinking. It's crazy the responses hubby has received when he says he doesn't drink anymore. It's like you just grew a second head. Some are uncomfortable and joke. Others say, 'I could never'. But yes, most are supportive.
In case you were wondering, hubby's an extrovert. Yup, he adopted the lonely introvert! LOL.
Stay tuned next Sunday for the next change.