I haven't written on here for a long while, but now I have been feeling well I think it deserves a story. I have been Rapid Cycling Cyclothymic from age 14 I think, diagnosed at 38 after years of ups and downs. Nothing dangerous, just bouts of sadness mainly with the relief of a regular high. I took Fluoxetine for a year, then Lithium and Sertraline ever since. It took a while to find the right mix but I have to say this is the best I have ever felt. I still get the odd bi-annual depression for 3-4 days at a time but thats a welcome change to what it used to be like. I wanted to talk about my previous behaviours and mainly about my reliance on alcohol during that time. Back then I would have defended my position to the hilt but looking back I was blinkered by the relief that it gave me and was always thinking about the next time I could have a drink and be relieved from my unwanted mood.
I recently read an article in the newspaper about High Functioning Alcoholics, people who have a semi-reliance on alcohol yet still manage to function in important jobs. The article pointed to the fact that only about 5% of alcoholics portray the homeless/tramp stereotype while High Functioning Alcoholics make up over half whilst continuing to run a home, hold down a job, manage relationships, etc, etc. This was me. Since age 17 I always liked a drink but whilst my condition was evolving I used to love the way it helped me feel better. By 21 I was on 6 pints a night, every night yet I could still get up in the morning and go to work. My whole life revolved around alcohol, pubs, clubs, friends. If I didn't go out I'd be depressed. Yet because everyone else was doing it I thought it was normal. By 24 I was still drinking, not an increase in volume but consistently the same. By this time I had secured a decent job in the emergency services. Cut a long story short, met a lovely girl got married, house, etc but trying to consume 6 pints a night without appearing to be an alcoholic became a massive stupid challenge. I will share some of my odd behaviours with you, for which I am not proud;
Leave work 10-15 mins early so no-on would notice and use that time to drop into a pub on the way home. It amazing how quickly you could down a pint and still arrive home at normal time.
Having left the pub, I would like to drop into the local shop and pick up a 6 pack of lager. I'd consume 1 there and then and then leave one in the car under the seat. I'd then take 4 into the house with me and put them in the fridge to make it look like I'd only bought 4. I'd then drink 2 that evening in the house and everyone would think I've cut down. I'd then walk the dog and drink the remaining 1 under my car seat.
Sometimes I would be able to sneak a can upstairs to the bedroom before bedtime, using the excuse of having a shower to drink it. I would hide the empty can in my shower towel when I had finished and then drop the empty can out of the window and into the garden. In the morning I would get up and go collect the can and put it in the bottom of the dustbin.
One year we over-bought some small cases of lager at Christmas so it was decided that we would put them in the loft out of the way. Its amazing how silently you can drop the loft ladder and grab some bottles of lager without anyone hearing.
Oddly, I was still thinking about my fitness at this time and had convinced myself that I was in tip top shape. I still used to enter triathlon events and didn't even give a thought to that being a bit odd.
I used to train on my Turbo Trainer with a bicycle attached so that I could do stationary cycle training. I would conveniently carry out my training in the garage and having completed a session I would get off and have a secret beer.
There's many more stories to add but I just wanted to say that after all that I have now found the right medication to make me feel better and rarely have any symptoms of my old self, although I have to be careful and watch diet, etc.
I also haven't had an alcoholic drink now for 7 years and I have never looked back. I think of myself as lucky as I managed to wiggle out of the situation eventually but it took a lot of effort in the initial stages. If I can do it then so can you.