A good friend of mine sent me a friendly wave on Facebook Messenger late last night after he read “I’m Sorry.“
“I’m sorry we weren’t here for you, bro.”
The truth is that he was, as were many others.
Everyone – at some point – shook my shoulders to shake some sense into my soggy brain to the reality of my erratic, alcohol fueled behaviour.
I couldn’t hear them.
Or, maybe I didn’t want to.
As far as depression is concerned, I hid it from myself and others by masking it with the binge drinking, drugs and the increasingly problematic level of isolation.
No one could’ve helped me with depression because it was something I’ve never been honest about living with.
But, at some point, every friend who cared about me said something about the wide-path that I staggered on, in regards to substance abuse.
I know it’s hard to believe, but I didn’t have an addiction to anything.
In fact, since the first sip of liquor I ever tasted to the most recent, I have always hated the taste of alcohol.
It makes me gag, which is the reason why binge drinking became such a problem.
It wasn’t enjoyable to me, simply a means to an end; getting blackout drunk so I could be comfortably social.
I could have lived my entire 20’s without a sip of alcohol; the proverbial gateway substance into other drugs.
If only I had been honest with the state of my mental health.
I was trying to strip myself free of the doctor’s labels of bipolar and anxiety by being normal; social and happy.
Which was something I couldn’t handle without being intoxicated because mingling and mindless prattle exacerbated the symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
Stepping into a room full of people – good friends, family or strangers – was the prick of the dagger my depression needed to slice open an artery to begin it’s ritualistic bloodletting and let the thinned plasma pour freely with self-hate and a debilitating lack of self-confidence that left me scrambling for something, anything ! to funnel down my throat to drown the dizzying misery of cross-eyed anxiety.
When it was apparent that the consequences of a blackout only furthered the self-loathing, I simply replaced drinking with introversion.
Or, more appropriately put, isolation.
Isolation became my escape from everything.
Alcohol, drugs, social anxiety and the fear that people might find me out and realize I’m depressed.
But, when I’d wake up one morning feeling the euphoria of a manic state, I’d have the shaky urge and false-confidence to make an attempt at being a normal, socially functioning person, so I’d go out.
As soon as my pinky toe crossed into a room of filled with laughter and loud music, I’d tense up, panic and frantically reach for the destructive, yet familiar, social lubricants that immediately suffocated mania’s electrified psychosis.
I stopped trying, almost entirely, because it seemed less damaging to hide from the world.
Unfortunately – though isolation was less damaging – I was avoiding the underlying causes of my social discomforts.
Bipolar depression and social/general anxiety.
I fooled myself that introversion and isolation was better.
I wasn’t waking up with a suicidal hangover and a headful of hate to fill a journal full of smudgy guilt and regret with.
But, I did love and truly miss my friends, so when depression lifted and mania took over, again, I’d tell myself that “this time I won’t drink.”
A promise that I broke 98% of the time.
As soon as I’d breathe shared air, not a single syllable would trickle out from between my chattered teeth.
My sarcasm would become aggressive, so people wouldn’t want to talk to me.
I couldn’t look people in the eyes.
I would d start pouring sweat.
I’d freeze up.
Possibly a tactic of depression to encourage “shots!” because as long you look like you’re having fun, no one would think to assume you’re unhappy.
Thankfully, I’ve begun thawing.