Truth: I am an anxious person — particularly a socially anxious person, whether that comes in the form of not being able to or not wanting to engage in social situations, or in the form of actually wanting to be a social person but then raking myself over the coals for every single thing I said and did for days afterward because I probably did something wrong and people think I’m bad.
This isn’t just like, parties and get-togethers, it’s things like taking my kid to school and talking to her teacher (or more often, getting phone calls from the teacher about my kid’s behaviour), making work-related phone calls, having to arrange things like health care appointments, going to the post office… if it involves other people and myself interacting, and the potential for judgement (even if it’s all in my head), I’m anxious. And the more anxious I feel the more frequently, the harder it gets.
Truth: I’ve often turned to alcohol to help me numb these feelings. Not always in a binge-y awful way, but a ‘drink a few glasses of wine’ way. I’d noticed in the past year or so that my alcohol consumption was increasing, and I wasn’t feeling good about it. The problem with alcohol as a pseudo-solution to shame and anxiety is that it, at least for me, leads to even more shame and anxiety.
Truth: I’ve, for the most part, put down booze for cannabis. And yet I am still anxious. About what? Well…
If I happen to have a few drinks while using cannabis I end up feeling like I’m not able to control myself and the things I do as well, which is probably one of the biggest anxiety/shame triggers I have. And yet, that nightcap is still kind of an ingrained habit I need to break. I’d much rather use cannabis, honestly.
I said the more anxious I get the more it seems to compound and lately I feel like my skin is on inside out. Being a parent comes with a lot of anxiety for me. I’m used to that and willing to work with it (and I love being a parent!) but over the past month or so the emotional labour scales feel like they’ve tipped into my court more than I’d like, and it’s left me feeling at sea.
I spent probably the last month, or at least the last several weeks, prepping for a medical procedure. Guess what… he has anxiety too, specifically around medical issues and settings. So on my end it was a lot of things like trying to find childcare, trying to ensure our home was ready, trying to support him through his own stress, while everyone was getting sick from various hellish winter/kindergarten illnesses, and basically not taking care of myself at all, physically, emotionally, or mentally.
And now it’s over (aside from the impending doom of the holidays and my usual juggling-everything-in-the-world to-do lists) and I’m still so very anxious, stressed, and not sure where to start in picking myself back up.
(Truth: Writing this out is giving me anxiety! And making me worry about how I will be perceived. As you can see, I am definitely feeling like a wreck.)
What does this have to do with booze? Well, I tried relaxing with a few drinks earlier this week and it didn’t go well. I ended up feeling loopy and sick and like I was making all of the wrong decisions. I didn’t get enough sleep that night, and I was kicking myself for all of it the next day, and beyond. I’m wondering if it’s time to drop the booze altogether — or reserve it for occasions few and far between.
There is so much less stigma around alcohol use, at least for now, and yet it’s alcohol that compounds my anxiety while cannabis seems to relieve it. Going into the holiday season and its usual boozy traditions I’m not sure how to navigate it all yet, but I do know that I want to do everything I can to get myself feeling good again instead of being chased by anxiety monsters into the new year! And I think I would rather just cut booze out completely rather than hurt myself trying to sort it out, at least until I’m feeling more evenly keeled.
If you’re finding a balance between cannabis and alcohol, what does it look like for you?