I’ve been reading lots of blogs about sobriety, which have so far all been written by women. It strikes me that a similar theme is referred to often: over-analysing. This is most definitely an issue for me. My inner voice is a total nightmare. It makes me spend stupid amounts of time thinking about the most insane things, breaking them apart and looking at them from all angles, and it only ends if I manage to catch myself and realise how futile and pointless it is (this doesn’t happen often). Also, you may think that this ability to analyse might come in useful when faced with a complex decision to make, but you would be wrong! My brain ends up being so jumbled that its impossible to pick out the significant points, and I will inevitably focus in on some small issue, and obsessively think it to death, therefore rendering myself unable to make a logical decision.
Alcohol does not help in the decision process. It makes me feel super excited and motivated about something, for about 5 minutes, then in the cold light of day, its the worst thing ever. Even if the decision or idea was actually good, the fact that I know I made it while drunk, and that i’m now thinking about it hungover, takes what was a shiny colourful thought, and turns it murky grey. And I’ll then spend the next week, or month, rolling it around my head until the next crazy thought process takes over.
This obsessive thought process ties in with the voice in my head that constantly tells me I’m ugly, fat, stupid, a looser, a failure…If I’m not obsessively worrying about something, this little voice pops into my head. And the only way to shut it up is to drink lots and lots of wine. But of course the voice is right there in my head again, louder than ever, at 4am the next morning, which is the time I usually wake up after drinking heavily. I then lie there, until about 9 (that’s a good 5 hours of self loathing!), listening to the voice tell me what a useless piece of poop I am. I’ve recently found that if I hear about some tragedy where children have been left orphaned, or if some notable person dies who did great things, I feel guilty, it should be me, I don’t contribute anything, take me, I’m worthless!
A year or so ago I had a couple of sessions with a cognitive behaviour therapist, to help me understand the abusive relationship I recently left and how to cope with the aftermath. After one session I felt a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Basically the therapist got me to see that what the voice in my head says is not true – it is the accumulation of my internalising what I think other people think of me, and this is not always true either. For example, the root of my negative thoughts about myself comes from the way I was brought up; (to always see the negative, the down side, the worst case scenario etc etc), and school, where I got bullied to the point I was so anxious that I developed chronic IBS. The combination of already being quite introverted, and then the bullying, had a massive impact on me in high school, and it manifest itself in the IBS. My parents ended up having to build a second bathroom because I would spend all morning on the toilet. I went to the doctors about it and all they did was give me Imodium, they made no attempt to treat the underlying cause of the symptoms, which was my acute anxiety.
After high school I took a year out travelling to clear my head, and it was the best year of my life. I came back happy and confident, and had put the anxiety behind me. Unfortunately, I then went to Uni, and I can see now that’s where the old anxiety started creeping in. Not only was I now in an environment which was much like school socially, I now had the added pressure of studying. I ended up doing quite well academically, but socially it was a disaster. I didn’t make any friends, not a single one, in 4 years. And it was my own fault, I was a complete drunken mess. I found the whole situation totally overwhelming, but this time, instead of internalising my anxiety to the point of IBS, I had alcohol!
I can see that I’ve been battling this negative internal dialogue most of my life, and have been using alcohol to numb it. And over the last couple of years, what with the bad relationship and the feelings of loneliness, isolation and growing self hatred, its getting worse due to the drinking, and the drinking is getting worse due to the feelings of loneliness, isolation and growing self hatred.
At my therapy session I was recommended to read ‘The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters‘ which essentially helps you train that inner voice. I started reading, and it made so much sense, but my inner voice stopped me going any further because it said ‘it won’t work for you,’ and as always, I’m worried the voice might be right.
However, its a new year, and this year I am going to get sober, get healthy, get productive, and shut this voice the F**K up once and for all!
**Thanks for reading my ramblings!**