Tag Archives: panic

Being here, and now

23 Jun

10:37 pm

Just a quick post tonight to say, be here, now.

DDG, try to stay in the moment and, be here, in the now.

After a great workout this morning–where I thought of nothing but how nervous my job is making me and that I have GOT to get some Xanax or something to bring along with me to the next team meeting if I’m EVER going to get through the presentation that I’ve been tasked with giving–and a nice evening on the beach; I realized just how hard it has become for me to stay in the moment these days.  If I’m not obsessively checking my work email and making my work to-do lists, I’m checking personal email or scrolling through Facebook and LinkedIn.  I am always thinking about something, or thinking I should be thinking about something; I am forever making plans, or making contingency plans.  It’s starting to feel a bit obsessive.

When I was getting sober, I didn’t feel so wound up.  When I was working at my last job, I didn’t feel so controlling.  I feel like there is a lot riding on me staying focused these days, especially at my new job.  I do have a lot to get done–thing is, I don’t have to do it all perfectly, and I probably could get away with not getting it all done!  I keep telling myself I have nothing to prove, yet, around every corner, I am doing things that scream, Love me!

Lately, I’ve been feeling like if I let one thing go, the entire sweater will come undone, the house will collapse, everyone will find out that I’m really an imposter.  And let’s face it, these days, I’d rather not be writing most of what I have to write as a science writer, sitting on a beach in a meditative state.  I’d MUCH RATHER not be pretending to care about chasing after the rewards of the rat race.  Island life taught me that it’s OK to reject these ideas and it’s even more OK to choose to live a life that does not glorify them.  Yet, I’m in this new life out of choice, so…I had better learn to live in it without having panic attacks!

There MUST be some value in literally refusing to let one’s mind wander.  You know, down that road of distraction via social media, or negative thinking by way of obsessing over events yet to happen.  I’ve been guilty of both of those lately, and I have to believe that forcing myself to think positively–differently, at least, than I have been doing lately–will have some sort of impact on moving my thoughts to a different place and/or new level, to staying in the here and now.

I MISS that me, that girl who somehow, after all her time chasing and competing on the mainland, was able to finally unwind and unplug and learn how to just sit, and breathe, and embrace the rich nothingness of the moment.  These days, I am preoccupied and miss the richness of a lot of my moments.  My goal in the next few weeks is to focus on learning to stay here, now, while also getting my work done; to breathing through my anxiety and thinking beyond it; to remaining at least somewhat of a willing participant in the life I have chosen.

I know it won’t be forever, and I’ll come around to finding a new here and now.  But for now?  Stay in the moment, DDG.  Be here, and now.

What’s it like to be that hung over, you might wonder?

21 Sep

4:44 pm

Well, let me tell you.

When it’s 4 pm and you just got out of the shower, that’s what it’s like. Or, writing is such a Herculean task that you’re afraid you might have permanently damaged your brain. Which thought makes you take a deep breath in order to calm your nerves — you are definitely still drunk and wondering if your body will do its thing and actually get you sober this time. You are not out of panic-attack zone yet, so eating makes you feel like you might slip into one, and walking on the street feels so surreal that it takes most of your focus not to totally crumble into one right there, in traffic.

Your hands are shaking and sweating as you try your best to write something for that deadline you missed, and your panic rises again when you realize that you really can’t find the words. That’s what it’s like.

You try to drink caffeine, but that only makes it worse. And, it’s a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime day outside and you totally missed it. Again.

You’re sad, depressed, and glum. You have no idea why, but the thought of dying keeps coming into your mind and you gulp down the panic that rises again, sharply, like a swift vacuum being applied to your intestines. You’re still drunk, still dizzy, and it’s 4:40 pm now. You wonder if you’ll ever, EVER get sober and if not, what then? You wonder if you’ll ever be able to find the words, if your brain is, actually, permanently fucked and this time, THIS time, you’ve really done yourself in.

That’s what it’s like.

(As a note to self, this post, the next time I try to drink “normally.” It’s over; it has to be. I don’t think I can handle this hangover, let alone another one. EVER again.)

Falling off the wagon..so YOU DON’T HAVE TO

21 Sep

2:31 pm

For real. The only good that can come of falling off (where art thou, sparkle-toothed unicorn?) the wagon A THIRD TIME is so that you, my dear readers and friends, don’t have to.

DON’T GO THERE. DRINKING SOLVES NOTHING. IT IS A TRICK OF THE MIND. IT IS A WASTE OF TIME. YOU DON’T NEED IT AND IT TASTES LIKE MOUTHWASH.

I think I just felt overwhelmed by my cravings, the voice in my head, and the resisting. I felt tired of resisting. So, I hurriedly uncorked a bottle and drank it. All of it. I was barely remembering things (didn’t take much, which is scary — what is wrong with my brain if it only takes three (huge) glasses of red wine to black me out?) when I ran (literally, I’m guessing) to the corner store to buy another. I did not finish that one, mainly because I must have passed out. I don’t remember.

Ahh. LOVELY hangover. Yes, I remember this feeling. Oh, yes. Drinking two Diet Cokes and weeping about my upcoming death. I remember this feeling. Stumbling around, finding a demolished pair of (expensive) glasses on the floor, checking my wallet to make sure that nothing’s missing, seeing wine stains on my floor and table. Yes, I remember this! Crawling to the bathroom only to heave myself back to bed. Yes. Ringing bells? Oh, yes. Crouching over my stove as I make ramen, forcing it down because I know I need something in there but nothing fills the hole and nothing will the entire day. Check. Crying some more and whining and wailing on the phone to my boyfriend who, thankfully, thinks nothing less of me and even thinks I deserve better. Yup. MISSING my fucking deadline because I can barely think, let alone write what I need to write. Done and done.

Do you remember that feeling? Is it coming back? Oh, yes.

I don’t even care about the fact that I missed my second 5 weeks (would have been 35 days today) again. What bothers me most is that my brain is simply depressed — not even sad, just void of feeling or thoughts. And, all I want is for the day — and hangover — to be over with. Waiting it out is all and will be all I’ll be doing today.

Wow, drinking really fucks up my mental landscape. What was a lovely painting with serene (pink) clouds has now become a grey wash of confusion, suicidal ideation, and nonsense. ? WTF, drinking?

(And, why do I have a memory of the corner store owner standing next to me, helping me pick out my wine? Was I standing there, in my druken stupor, unable to do it myself? Or, was he just being friendly and helpful? NO IDEA.)

Key points of this latest round?

I realize now that I don’t need to go it alone, that I DO NEED HELP, and that I need to ask for it.

I realize now that I shouldn’t isolate myself to the point of mental breakdown.

I realize now that what I wanted last night was escape — from the obsession to drink, I think, more than the overwhelming thoughts and feelings about life and people, in general.

I realize now that I USE WINE to escape and that one, I need new coping mechanisms, two, wine is my vehicle/tool, and three, there really shouldn’t be anything to “escape from,” if I’m doing it right.

I need help. But first, I need to get through this hangover.

Readers, if you’re thinking of falling off, just come here and read this. I have done it for you so that you don’t have to! It’s like riding a bike — no, it’s like falling off. It hurts every time and the feeling is never different! FUCK THAT BIKE! STAY ON THE WAGON.

Feel like…drinkin’

6 Aug

1:23 am

Yup, that about sums it up. And, man, after the past few days of feeling frustrated and glum, it’s really hard not to say, Aww, come on, now, just one little glass of wine. You DESERVE it…

Sigh. I wish it were that simple, but it’s not. And that’s the most frustrating part. I want the quick fix. Bad feelings be gone! Dark moods/thoughts exit my brain! Please, just let me be. Instead, it’s constant, a permanent buzz. Last night, my brain took a nosedive into dark terre — this place that feels VERY bleak, empty, and motionless. It’s like my brain is being held under water in a dark pool, like every part has been switched off except the brainstem. I feel so lethargic, and depressed. There is nothing to do and no reason or rationale to do it. Life is pointless, and even if there is a fucking point, I won’t be told what it is or I am incapable of knowing. Sure, I could assume that I know — meditation, yoga — but really, isn’t that just a way to manipulate your mind and body into a state of calm embrace of the mystery instead of this screaming, abject horror at the absurdity?

Yeah, it’s DEFINITELY one of the reasons I drank, episodes like this. Lately, in the past many years, I’d turn to wine to deal. This time, I finally forced myself to wait it out. After, oh, about an hour, the worst of it had passed. I felt like I could breathe on my own again, and my mind started to open up, my pupils dilating enough to let in some light.

I’m glad I made it through that. However, I’m getting tired of it. Tired of having to simply fight the mind, day in and day out. It’s why I drank, and I’m not sure if it’s normal to feel this way, on varying levels, all day every day. But, I’ve had much worse depression/depressive episodes in my life, so I’d say it’s one, life in general, two, sobriety, or three, the daily grind of dealing quietly with my mood swings that is simply Getting To Me. I’d LOVE to take my brain out of my head and dunk it in a vat of red wine! Don’t even need or want to feel drunk, just want this anguish, I guess, to go away. At least for a little while. 😦

Distractions are the best part about being sober, says Drunky Drunk Girl

6 Jul

2:59 pm

And distract myself, I DO do well!

I just found that the Met is open late tonight; there is nothing like wandering around galleries of old Greek busts and glass-encased Egyptian ceramics to make me feel like I’m…somewhere else.  Plus, it’s gotta be better than enduring what I think is some 95-degree heat.  (Although, I’m disappointed with my irritation by what I usually adore:  hot and humid weather.  Ugh.  If I was drinking, I KNOW I’d feel more excited by this heat…and I’m not sure how this is in any way a rational conclusion, but it feels right to me!)

I know I will still want to drink when I get home.  Right now, however, I’m grateful to be moving forward, mentally.  I’m not sure if it’s like this for others, but the type of panicky thoughts I was just having come out of a messy brain, an ill-focused one.  I can almost feel my brain shuffling around, flapping in the breeze.  If I drink — I know from experience — it’s just going to dissolve whatever remaining order there is up there, turn it into a mass of burning jello.  If I don’t, I have some hope of actually THINKING my way out of the darkness, out of the disorder, into a calmer, more focused, less…willy nilly/loose state of mind.  Hard to explain, but maybe better said as:  Drinking will make me feel more helpless, more anxious, more depressed.  Drinking will make it worse.  Sigh.  This, unfortunately, is the new reality, the new truth.  Truth evolves, just like us.  Hmm.  Deep thought of the day, kids.

Off to the Met.  And maybe Central Park.  Where it would be SO nice to have a glass of chilled red wine in…  Sigh.

There’s always tomorrow…for cravings, that is

27 Jun

2:04 am

Well, I made it.  Through the day, that is, which means I officially made it two weeks!  Which is the longest I’ve gone without drinking since last September, when I went for 13 days (yes, I caved the night/morning of the 14th day!).  The longest before that was definitely years prior, like, spring or early summer, 2008.  (In the meantime, I kept a pretty demanding job as a reporter, moved many times, made (and lost) friends, had a few boyfriends, had many blacked-out flings, and in general, sweated it out, day after day.  Yup, you’re looking at the world’s best, and most secretive, functioning alcoholic!  Or, at the very least, in the top 5 percent of ’em!  More on this in another post.)

Which brings me to the point of this post:  there IS always tomorrow, and unless the laws of physics turn on us, waiting for the gong to strike midnight is as predictable as it gets.  And that’s a GOOD THING.  Dealing with my cravings, living through them, is like practicing a sport or an instrument.  The more you do it, the more rote it becomes.  You learn to pass the time in a similar fashion, to make doing certain things or thinking (or not thinking) about other things mechanical.  You create new habits, at least in your mind.  The cravings feel the same every day, they last for about the same amount of time, and the down — the disappointment — never changes.  BUT, it passes.  Again.  And you sleep and forget about it.  Again.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

I’ve also noticed that, against Eckhart Tolle’s best advice, taking myself OUT OF THE NOW and putting myself into the future helps me resist the urge to binge drink.  I should clarify:  there is an URGE and then there is the URGE TO BINGE.  The latter usually strikes hard and fast, and reacting to it is fatal.  It’s like an anxiety attack in the sense that you have to slow your mind down, take a few breaths, and focus on NOT REACTING.  Reacting would have me down four drinks in 10 minutes.  Which would one, not be fun at that moment OR later, and two, straight up ruin this sobriety thing altogether…in 10 short minutes!  So, realizing this and fast-forwarding myself 10 minutes into the future — do I really want to have ruined it so fast, and will it have been worth that 10 minutes of binging — helps me hold the cravings at bay, too.

Off to bed before I crack open that bottle of red (yup, THAT bad boy that’s been staring me in the eye for the past few nights)!

Drunky drunk girl asks, To drink or not to drink?

16 Jun

9:05 pm

To my utter surprise, I’ve had practically no cravings today.  And I’m going on the end of day four.  Maybe it’s because I had so much to do and simply didn’t have the time.  I’m grateful, is all I can say.

The only craving I had today was on my walk home from my run.  Thankfully it was light and lasted only about 15 minutes and concluded with me resigning myself to the fact that no, I can’t get buzzed and yes, I have to be sad.  Done.  Over.  Kaput.  There is no changing this fact and there is nothing I can do about it, so just accept being sad for tonight.  Now, however, I feel good, distanced from this feeling that physically resembles being unable to breathe and simultaneously wanting to literally inhale wine; I feel an itch, a flutter at the base of my pelvis that circles up like flames, touching my stomach, sending plumes through my chest cavity all the way to the back of my throat.  Today, I feel like I actually accomplished not only getting through the urge, but also a bunch of stuff on my to-do list.

I’m a to-do lister at heart.  And, really, at this point, after putting getting drunk first and everything else second for the past 8 years, give and/or take all the times I was “functioning,” it’s the little things that I can check off my to-do list that SHOULD, I think, make me happy.  Or, rather, scratch my itch?  In fact, I think sometimes I’d prefer getting shit done to having a real life, a real relationship, a real craft.  But, I do have a real craft, don’t I?  Ugh.  It’s these types of thoughts that make me crave the acidic blend of stimulation and sedation that wine always seems to provide, at least for the first few glasses:  that burning sensation going down, the immediately sour stomach, a precise lightness to my blood, the adrenaline, that surge of LOVE, of “at-ease-ness” in the world; the excitement over the mundane, and the idea that it all really DOES matter, it’s all part of some overarching plan, some spectacular journey — this is how wine makes me feel.  For the first two or three glasses.  Then all goes to hell, I can’t stop, and I end up downing two bottles and feeling like absolute ass the next day, effectively ruining the entire buzz (not to mention, ruining the night in some way, shape, or form).  Anyway, I’m hoping that my ability to listen to the voice of reason (my good angel) is part of an improved discipline to abstain and not simply the effect of having gotten shit done today.

So, what did I do that made me so happy?  Well, I got up early.  At 8.  Lately I’ve been barely able to peel my eyes open and force myself to fall out of bed before noon, taking into account the fact of having gone to bed at 3 am and needing a full nine hours sleep.  Maybe I’m finally getting over the flu?  In any case, it all added up to me feeling GOOD about myself.  I went to the PO and mailed some shit.  I came home and actually WORKED.  Yes!  I sent some emails and did some networking, reaching out to a handful of people I know to inquire if they need any freelance writing/editing help.  I went for a jog, which happened to be about five miles.  (An important fact to note is that I’ve been unable to jog for years due to minor injuries all over my legs and feet, which in turn made me think I’d never be able to run again, which in turn made me feel sad and frustrated and want to drink, which I did.  Over and over.)  I shaved.  I exfoliated.  I hard-boiled some eggs.  See?  The little things.

Moreover, I think it’s the feeling of actually maybe possibly making progress on my dream — the goal of which is to line up enough freelance clients, both technical and journalistic, such that I can work from home/ANYWHERE.  (I know, sounds fab, and who wouldn’t want to oh, I dunno, write from an island?)  To put these plans into motion, to ACT on them, to prove to myself that yes, I can do it, I am good enough (or at least as good as my colleagues) — it makes me feel like I got shit done today.

Which brings me to the question:  After such a good day, and so little craving to drink, should I risk it and go out tonight to a bar with my friend?  Ugh.  I haven’t tried going out and not drinking for a long time, it seems; when I have, I’ve recently ALWAYS caved.  It’s so easy to say, Oh, just one.  Then, when you’re not feeling the one, Oh, just one more.  And when two hits — cuz you’ve downed both in about 15 minutes — you can’t stop yourself from ordering number three and by that time, all you want to do is drink to blackout (at least that’s how it goes for me) as soon as humanly possible.  And, let me tell you, my blackouts are consistently ALL BAD, ALL THE TIME.  We’ll get to those in another post.

(Btw, I’m going to start time-stamping these on my own.  Apparently, this design template doesn’t do that and it seems relevant to the concept of a drinking journal, since you always want to drink and you feel different about that fact as every minute passes, it seems.)

Wake up!

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