I know this or at least should know this by now: that anyone taking psychotropic medication should not drink alcohol. And not just heavily or casually, NOT AT ALL. Yet, I have largely ignored this warning for the past 9 years since my initial diagnosis, claiming I can handle my symptoms. Oh how wrong have I been.
I started to reflect on my life and my health especially about a month ago when I completed my 7 years without a manic episode. It hasn’t been an easy 7 years and one thing that has contributed to my ups and downs during those seven years, besides lack of sleep, has been drinking alcohol. Now, I have not been a heavy drinker, daily drinker, or alcohol abuser in any sense, but I have been known to drink casually, and occasionally get drunk. I admit it. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth. And as someone with a mental health diagnosis and above all, a mental health advocate, I have been a hypocrite.
Yet, last month, I had a rude awakening. After a night of drinking at home, I woke up distressed, anxious, and languishing the entire day. I was a horrible person to be around, and even worse, a horrible mother to my two little girls. That day I took the final decision to never again have an ounce of alcohol in my life. That’s not to say I haven’t been tempted. At the grocery store they sell so many flavorful options, but I am better than their marketing.
In addition, I have decided to wean off all my stimulants such as caffeine. When once I would chug a RedBull in the afternoon, now I opt for a glass of water, and perhaps a nap or some yoga. I feel all the better for it and the results have been slow but apparent. I am actually more energized, have more stable moods, and am a better person all around.
I am amazed at my results, and although I have to persevere to keep my promise to stay away from any and all stimulants, one look at my little girls’ faces and I know I can do it. Ever better, knowing that I am healthier and more energized keeps me motivated to do better.