I’m not the coolest chick on the block. Big shocker I know. I am not “in the know” about many things. I never have been. I’m not the most quick witted responder to posts on facebook or twitter or more importantly at a party – but make no mistake – I do have my moments. I am shy and awkward and not the extrovert that many seem to think I am from my online persona. It’s certainly better today than it was when I was a drunk and THOUGHT I was so funny and relevant in every conversation when really I was a complete embarrassment. It’s better today than it was the first several years of sobriety when I was terrified of everything and everyone.
What most people don’t know about me is that I used to have crippling Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). When I first heard that and even now to certain extent it seems like bullshit and quite convenient as we like to make a disorder out of every little quirk we have, but I believe it to be a real thing today. I still do have social anxiety – who doesn’t in some way – but I wouldn’t call it AS crippling anymore.
It started when I was very very young when my parents would have my YOUNGER brother help me make friends as I couldn’t summon the courage to do it on my own. I was so shy and so nervous that I had bladder control problems way later than I should have and that only furthered my anxiety.
The truth is I’ve struggled my whole life with anxiety. I probably always will. I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety before I quit drinking. I was put on anti-anxiety meds for a while before I quit drinking. Guess what? They don’t work when you’re drinking a quart of vodka a day. Drinking made anxiety a lot easier to swallow (!) as anything would when it obliterates all your judgement, right? I thought I had found my solution and it worked. Until it didn’t.
Katy (slurring my words): “WHY AM I SO ANXIOUS AND HALLUCINATING DOC? I’M TAKING THESE DRUGS LIKE YOU SAID!”
Doc: “How much are you drinking these days?”
Katy: “Oh the usual like a couple small drinks a day. I don’t understand why these drugs aren’t working should we up my dosage?”
Doc: “Sure. Let’s do that.”
The docs didn’t really have a handle on my alcoholism which was the main problem at hand back then. I lied my ass off, so how could they possibly know the truth. After I went to my 4th rehab and was diagnosed by THOSE doctors as Bi-Polar, which I’m totally not, I was completely over drugged and mishandled. That happens a lot in rehabs. I’m not saying drunks don’t need to be diagnosed with other things, they do in some cases, I just think the doctors are way too quick to diagnose and drug before the haze of booze or drugs even wears off. Only after the haze wears off can you re-assess and see what you’re really dealing with when clean for a while.
My withdrawals from booze were a bitch. My withdrawals from anxiety meds a few years ago were a different kind of bitch. I’ve written about this before back when I was in the shit. Since then, it’s gotten a ton better. I don’t have the zaps anymore of course and I feel like most of the time I have a pretty good handle on myself. Except when I don’t. And then I do what I need to do to get right in my head. If I feel like it’s too much, I always have the option of going back on the drugs, but for today I choose not to.
Social Anxiety can bite me. And oftentimes it does. I will never be comfortable in a crowd or even one on one with people. There is always a part of me that wants to run and hide. Always. That’s just the way it is.
This trying to be healthy in mind, body and spirit shit is hard. I am far from doing it right, but I’m doing it the best way for me and finally feel like I have some control over my own emotions and mental state. It may not always feel like this, but even when it’s a bit chaotic in my head, I know myself well enough to know it will pass. It’s scary to be completely sober, no lie. There are times I would give anything to not feel all the shit that goes on in my head, but I keep going knowing that I can get through it. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It ain’t pretty that’s for sure. It’s cry-ey and slobbery and hysterical sometimes, but that’s part of living a sober life. I can’t mask this shit anymore. I’ve got tools today. I just need to be wise enough to use them.
And once again I say, ABSOLUTELY people need drugs and they help in incredible ways with the proper diagnosis and prescription. In no way am saying this is what I do so this is what you should do, I’m just sharing my deal. Carry on.
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