These well known ‘sober’ months are usually run by charities to raise money for various causes. For as much as I take part to help such charities, I also use these months too break away from drinking and remind myself how much alcohol affects my mood and mental state.
It is common knowledge that tablets and alcohol are not a good mix. Especially tablets which are trying to keep me on a constant happy level. But like many others, having a casual drink, or a cider in the sun doesn’t do too much damage.
‘Alcohol may seem to improve your mood in the short term, but its overall effect increases symptoms of depression and anxiety.’
Why do I keep drinking knowing its adding depression and anxiety, to my already existing depression and anxiety?
By no means am I dependant on alcohol or feel the need to drink on a daily basis. But some nights I go out, and get too carried away, have more gins that I should.
But, I always find that the day after that, I am that low I can’t pick myself up. This is happens several times now and I know there is a strong correlation between the amount of alcohol consumed and how depressed I feel.
The days after I feel my overthinking gets worse, I start to question if I want to be here anymore and just overall feel groggy. I have irrational thoughts and strong hurtful feelings once I’ve been on a hard night out.
But it’s not even the day after when alcohol affects me. I definitely fall into the category of being a ‘crying drunk’. I have had countless nights out where I’ve ended in tears, being the one that needs to be taken home. Drinking heightens my emotions, makes me more paranoid and makes me over think.
I was at uni for 4 years and I don’t even want to think about the amount of alcohol that has gone through my body and every time I ended up being wrapped around the toilet, throwing up screaming the words ‘I’m never drinking again’.
Now I’m out of that uni ‘drinking till you throw up’ phase, the heavy nights have become very far and few between. And I do feel much much better.
I do these sober months to see if actually I do feel better. I have noticed other benefits such as better sleep, better skin and a better bank balance!
Being a backpacker, where the hostel scene is very much like university; it is hard to be sober. When I say hard, I mean it’s difficult to not drink and still seem like you want to have fun. That is society for you, and I don’t think that is ever going to change.
What I did notice is that actually, nobody notices what you are drinking, (you’ll be drinking out of mugs at most hostels anyway). I have noticed that most people do not want to drink every night, and are only doing it to seem like the ‘cool’ ones.
I guess it is all down to control. You can control how much you drink, and as much as I sound like a mother, you can still have fun without alcohol. If you know that drinking affects you, and makes you feel down and low for the next few days, you’ve got places to see, things to do. Do not let a night out ruin your travelling!
When I was travelling with somebody I trusted, and they knew I was on antidepressants, they fully understood when I said I wasn’t up for drinking that night, and they would suggest doing something else. I can only hope that there is somebody like that out there for everyone.
Tip: In hostels, I used to drink Gin, mixed with squash (cordial, juice) and water, so that the alcohol was diluted and I could get to a nice level of tipsy, without being sick the next day! Stick to ciders, beers more-so than spirits. Also on nights out, every drink you order, also ask for a glass of water.
Being alcohol free (even if its just for the month) can do wonders for your body, and your mind. The more I have more sober months, the less I want to turn to alcohol when I am having a bad day!
I would love to hear of other peoples thoughts on alcohol and antidepressants, or own experiences of going sober!
For more information on antidepressant and alcohol; visit the NHS website: Can I drink alcohol if I’m taking antidepressants?