Saturday, 13 May 2017

Dropping the Facade

My last post (read here) was born from confusion and desperation - an attempt to explain and understand my struggles of late. Yesterday morning, I cried, vented and listened my way through my appointment with a very caring and professional psychiatrist at Christchurch PsychMed. My greatest fear was that she would say I was fine and send me on my way. She told me I ticked every single box for clinical depression, and talked me through the medication I will likely be taking for the next 6 - 12 months.

We talked about how I felt giving up alcohol had made it harder to squash my feelings down and regardless of whether it precipitated tipping me into this depression I didn't regret it for a second. I will say again: ALCOHOL WILL NEVER HELP WITH ANYTHING EVER. She agreed with me, but added that for people with anxiety it does work in the short term - as the alcohol gives immediate relief - but never in the long term. Alcohol is a "toxin", she told me (as I nodded in complete agreement).

The sleeping pills she prescribed sent me into the deepest sleep I've had for weeks. I needed it. Even after I woke up I lay in bed with a blank mind for the first time in forever. But now the facade has dropped. It was such hard work keeping how I was feeling hidden, and I no longer have the energy or will to keep the veil up (which is a little scary). This morning I struggled to make my toast and pour my coffee and just sat alone at the kitchen table with tears streaming down my cheeks, for no reason and every reason - my kids laughing and playing in the other room.

Yesterday I stepped down from my role of responsibility on the board of my daughter's Preschool. These people have become like another family. I felt torn between feelings of letting them down, and knowing I needed to take pressure off myself and look after me. I met with the head teacher who I had confided in earlier in the week, and she was amazing. I confided in a couple of friends late yesterday and they have been incredible, one sharing her own experience. The more you talk about these things the more you find common experience. I know I am far from alone. I'm lucky to have so many people around me who care and understand.

While my world is grey at the moment, my beautiful kids, my incredible wife, and my friends are providing me some light. I picture their faces and it provides me some relief.

It's funny how in the early days of my sobriety I poured out blog after blog of how I was feeling, several a week. Lately I've been lucky to have the inspiration to write one a month, but now I feel the need to rush to the keyboard and rationalise everything I am feeling in print. It seems to activate a part of my brain and helps calm me and ground me in a more productive reality.

I told my psychiatrist I was never going to drink "ever again" , especially now and her reply was a simple: "Good!"

Even though for a few fleeting seconds you think it will be the answer to all your problems, it isn't.

Right. I literally have 3 minutes till I need to take the kids off to swimming, and despite how I feel, life must roll on.


  1. Lots of love and emotionally healing thoughts coming your way Sober Man. Thank you for speaking your truth and for trusting us xoxo

  2. I have four workmates who have all been on coincidentally the same anti-depressant for many years. All of them have tried to wean off of the meds but have gone back to taking them within weeks.One particular chap, only 29 years old who I've been working with for 7 years has had amazing results from his medication. He has gone from major panic atrack, mild paranoia and general depression to a very productive worker, traveller and all round respectful,funny guy. He is the only male amongst us women so I think we have helped him along too. We talk about depression a lot at work (I also talk to some of our students about this topic. I'm an over thinker and really nosey lol) They must think I'm fairly out there hehe) The thing is,my workmate still drinks way too much and was recently instructed by doc to retake some liver tests as some damage has been detected. So bloody young for this to be the case and it guts me. I have been really active in sharing my sober progress and thoughts with him too. Yesterday he joked around with me about having to glue labels on our wine bottles,for a function. He knows he needs to stop and has successfully managed a couple of 12 day sober stints in the last year so I hope these test results will spur him along rather than activate the panic atracks and self desteuctive thoughts which I think will make him drink more. He is such a classic result of how drinking can mask depression. I think he was depressed long before the drinking began. His brother is now showing the same symptoms which are beginning around the same age..Our mental health is so important whether a drinker or not and there is definately not enough access to it here in NZ, thats for sure..I think our lifestyles have contributed to a lot of the depression we see today and we really need to address that. Thanks for shaing your feelings with us. I have been really interested in our mental health lately and I have only noticed now how mentally unwell I have been since I was 11. I even remember that exact moment when I lay on my bed and said to myself..omg is this it? Is this how I'm supposed to feel at this age. No one told me I was depressed so I never kbew. I was trying to learn at school.cripes. We need to teach our kids how to identify their own depression really early. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us and sorry if my reply became a little off topic lol.

    1. Sorry I lost some of my paragraph about trying to learn and absorb knowledge at school with depression lol

    2. Sorry I lost some of my paragraph about trying to learn and absorb knowledge at school with depression lol

  3. I just fear tearful reading this. I never suspected this was coming but it just goes to show me (yet again) how you have no idea what is going on for someone else. I am so happy for you that there is no more pretending and you are living your truth as shitty and uncomfortable as it is. Also so happy that you have good people around you. Hugs x

  4. Thank you all. I appreciate all your support and thoughts. xo

  5. Long time reader here, wishing you all the best. I don't have any words of wisdom for you but you are obviously surrounded by good people who love you. Take care and use all the supports you have around you. Hugs.