Throughout my teenage years and early twenties I struggled a lot with loneliness, it was sometimes worrying for me to be on my own because I’d use self-destructive ways to cope with it. I think the loneliness was linked to my depression as that is what mainly convinced me that I was alone, useless, annoying, a burden to everyone and so on but I was always torn between enjoying my own company and hating it as sometimes I’d enjoy being on my own as naturally I’m an ambivert (someone who has both introvert and extrovert qualities) but then it could also be hell on earth as alone time was the perfect opportunity for my depression to really kick in and alcohol was usually there to ‘comfort’ me.
My fear of being left on my own got worse between the ages of 16-21 and any alone time I had would either be spent crying, drinking or sleeping, during this period I was in a relationship with a guy that I was in some ways dependant on, he was like my pick me up. My depression became very active whilst I was in this relationship, I’m not entirely sure whether it was the relationship that caused this or because I was more honest about my depression to him than anyone else but whilst we were in college, there was one evening where he went out to see his mates and I stayed in our room. I’d had a good day, I was content and looking forward to watching a couple of movies and having the bed to myself but not long after he left, my depression kicked in and all of these negative thoughts came into my head then, my PTSD soon followed my depression then I started to feel even more emotional so I hopped into my car and went to the local bargain booze where I bought a bottle of vodka. I headed back to college, walked into the bedroom and broke down into tears. I knew that what I was doing was not going to help me and it wasn’t going to end well but I did not know what else to do. I didn’t have anyone there to pick me up or distract me and I couldn’t contact anyone because then they would know that I wasn’t doing good, so I just poured myself a drink and sat on the bed. I had the TV on as background noise to try and help me feel a little less lonely, but I just kept drinking and drinking till eventually I got a head ache so I took four paracetamols (I’m still not entirely sure why I ended up taking four but it’s a detail that has always stuck in my head) and then not that long after I must have passed out. I was awoken by my boyfriend who had been trying to wake me up for the past few minutes and I instantly burst into hysterical tears in his arms, ever since that night I depended on him to pick me up when I was in a depressive state.
There were the times when I was back home and I had the house to myself for the evening so I’d go to the corner shop and buy two bottles of wine, go home and drink them whilst either listening to music, watching tv or crying. If I finished the second bottle before 9pm I’d go and get a third bottle, drink that and then throw up in the toilet or my bedroom bin if I didn’t think I was going to make it to the toilet. I was known for being a drinker so for people to know I had been drinking the whole night, it wasn’t anything new to them but of course I thought it through. I wouldn’t always say how much I had drank, I would sometimes tell white lies so if someone asked me where I was I would sometimes just say I was at the pub because I knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy and I knew it would make my friends/family concerned which I didn’t want.
Then there were the many times where I was confronted about my drinking. One time my previous partner confronted me about it, poured my vodka down the sink and holy fuck did I cry, then there was another ex-boyfriend who confronted me about my drinking and I told him he had nothing to worry about but I then went to my bedroom, drank vodka and cried. Of course I have had friends who also confronted me about my drinking but it was easier to tell them white lies or convince them that I was fine.
There were just times where I could not cope with being on my own because of the depression. I didn’t want to hear what I thought of myself or what I thought everyone thought of me. I didn’t want to feel what I felt inside but if I was on my own, I would turn to alcohol because it helped me to release everything that I felt but it never benefitted me in any way. It would still cause me pain which was always followed by the terrible mental and physical hangover the next day, but I just always turned to it because it was easier for me to turn to alcohol then it was to turn to my friends/family.
I spoke about alcohol a lot whilst going through therapy and I temporarily stopped drinking for several months whilst I got through therapy and sorted my head out. I think what helped me the most was having someone there who I knew would not judge, could empathise and could guide me in the right direction rather than having someone who would either confront me straight on, judge me or try and force me to sort myself out which just made me feel even worse, resulting in me drinking more alcohol. I was confronted by so many people but because they sometimes made me feel backed into a corner, I retaliated and then because I was pushing them away, my fear of loneliness only got worse which then made my drinking get worse but I didn’t have to worry about any of that whilst talking to my therapist about it.
Alcohol and I have a rough history (I have written more here about my drunken stories and history with alcohol) and although I would never ever drink alcohol again to supress any negative emotions, I do sometimes now drink more to ease my social anxiety but I have made great improvements on this. I now make sure I am drinking for the right reasons, that I drink around the right people and that I don’t go past my limit (I have high limits, but trust me…you’ll know when I’ve gone past them).
If you’re in a similar situation, please feel free to drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading,