Several months ago I was working on a series of posts about my experience as it relates to the formally recognized symptoms of depression. There are a few still to go.
I’ve seen enough movies to know that alcoholism is associated with depression (Crazy Heart, anyone?) but have not thought much about it except in the abstract. I was surprised when, in the middle of my own depression, I discovered that drinking is an effective anesthetic.
The denomination in which I grew up is historically a tee-totaling crowd. I picked up on that undercurrent and drank little even through college. I became accustomed to social drinking during our years at the seminary. Odd, I think, and problematic, but that’s for another time.
I remember clearly the night I realized I needed to guard against excessive drinking. My family was out to dinner, celebrating a major achievement in my brother’s career, and we shared a couple bottles of particularly yummy wine. It crossed my mind that I would like to stay there and keep drinking and forget the unrelenting sadness of my life.
I told my husband about it that night. I’ve found that telling my secrets takes the power out of them. This one seemed particularly shameful to me. I don’t think I ever told it to anyone else or ever spoke about it again with my husband.
The urge to drink too much came and went throughout my depression, but I think that having spoken about it aloud helped me stay aware of how our unhappiness could have been multiplied by alcohol abuse.
To read all the posts in the depression symptoms series, go here.