Ask Me Anything: You mentioned you were depressed in your writing. Can you be a little more specific as to the ‘why’ you were depressed? You also said you were slowly killing yourself with the abuses but you didn’t care. Was the slow process possibly a cry for help?
I was depressed for a handful of reasons.
- My parents had stopped supporting me financially, which put me in a situation where I had to work 30-40 hours a week while going to school full-time. I was also working an internship, maintaining a social life defined by mood altering substance abuse, and doing my best to stay involved with campus extracurriculars (To Write Love on Her Arms, acapella). As you can imagine, I wasn’t sleeping much and I was a giant stress panda. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress both contributed to my depression.
- My boyfriend had given up on me and I don’t handle loss and grief well.
- I have Bipolar II Disorder, so a lot of my depression was chemical.
- I was drinking and using marijuana a lot. Alcohol and marijuana are both depressants. I was literally giving my depression the fuel to thrive.
- I didn’t love or care about myself; no matter how much effort people put into trying to affirm my worth or their love for me, I never felt “good enough” or loved.
But I wasn’t drinking or using because I knew it was slowly killing me and I wanted to die, nor was I doing it as a cry for help. I was drinking and using, simply because I loved being intoxicated. I fell head-over-heels for the feelings (and lack thereof) that came with drinking and using. I loved and craved euphoria, disassociation, and the craziness of it all (I still love and crave those things and that’s part of what classifies me as an alcoholic/addict). The fact that I was slowly killing myself was a side effect of my addiction, but death was not my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal was much simpler: get as eff’d up as possible every day to get those feelings back. Of course, I knew that I was damaging my physical and mental health, but like I said, I didn’t love myself. I couldn’t have cared any less about my well-being. But although my love for those feelings is what got me started, I eventually reached a point where I was drinking and using because I couldn’t stop. Even when I was exhausted, depressed beyond belief, and didn’t want to drink or use, I still did. The emotions and physical feelings that came with not drinking or using were impossible for me to sit with and manage. I was powerless over drugs and alcohol. My addiction was out of my control and that’s why I needed to seek treatment.
My addiction had nothing to do with anyone but myself. Sure, it impacted the people around me and yeah, I made decisions that allowed my addiction to flourish and my mental health to decline, but I can’t blame the existence of my addiction on anyone. It simply exists. No one chooses to be an alcoholic or an addict; there are dozens of factors that play into whether someone becomes one or not. So to read between the lines of your question, no, I didn’t choose to drink or use to excess as a way of indirectly crying out for help. However, I definitely cried out for help by being so public about my drinking, life, and emotions on social media. That was my cry for help, but again, the addiction itself and the fact that it was slowly killing me wasn’t.
I’ve learned that it’s my responsibility to take ownership of my choices, actions, and behaviors and do everything I can to ensure that I’m living a joyful life alongside my addiction and mental illness. That, my friend, is what recovery is all about.
I hope that answers your question!