Live long enough, and depression will happen. We’ve all had those moments. Whether caused by the environment, an event, or physical condition, depression sucks.
In this blog, I want to cover what I describe as a chemical depression. This depression comes when there is absolutely no reason to feel depressed, but there “it” is sitting in the corner of our soul. I felt this a lot after a night of heavy drinking. I’d wake up, may or may not remember the night before, may or may not know where I was. Yeah, I was a mess. I’d develop this feeling of anxiety and depression, as though I did something wrong or something terrible happened. After talking to people at the party, I’d find out that everything was fine. We all had a good time, and nothing was out of line. So why was I depressed?
First, alcohol is a depressant. I believe most of us already know this. It mellows us out. In small quantities, it helps us relax. However, in overabundant quantities, it produces depression. Anxiety kicks in, and self-doubt has us, well, self-doubting ourselves.
Secondly, waking up and not knowing where we are, how we got there, and what we did the night before is scary. Sober-me doesn’t want to cause trouble for anyone. Drunk-me doesn’t give a who-ha. This conflict of interest is a night-of-regret waiting to happen.
And lastly, the body has to recover from consuming alcohol. This fact is why small quantities have less harmful effects than large amounts. Sounds elementary until drunk-us shows up, and rationality goes out of the window.
Now that I am retired and no longer dealing with the military’s stress, I find myself drinking a lot less. As in, I don’t even think about it. I mow the lawn then go inside to relax in front of the TV. I work on the truck, then go inside and browse social media. These activities always consisted of beer. So how did I kick the habit so quickly? I didn’t realize it at first, but I became a sugarholic. Cookie monster has nothing on me. Two honey buns and a monster is just a start-up in the morning. Can I get a Rick Flair “Woooooo.”?
Last week I decided to reduce my sugar intake. Oh-my-Cookies! The worse decision, EVER! My energy level went down as the daily outside temperature went up. I became crankier than a three year old missing his nap. Then it hit me. I became depressed. Anxiety kicked in, and I was apprehensive about something but didn’t know what. I was not in my happy-zone. It took me a full day to realize this was the same feeling after a heavy drinking night. I was having a chemical depression, also known as a withdraw. Our body is trying to supplement for the lack of a particular substance. It’s a good thing. It sucks, and it means that the body is finding a new normal without the alcohol or sugar, as in my case.
Did I cut sugar out completely? No. I have only reduced it to the recommended daily amount (25-36 grams). Some days are less. I’m hoping that this is the last week for the “blahs.” Because this sucks, but like all good things, if we want to change ourselves for the better, we must start somewhere. Learning the root causes of problems and identifying them in our lives is one of the most significant ways to improve ourselves. No one is perfect, and we all have our vices.
I have found through talking with others who have reduced their alcohol intake, and sugar addiction is usually the next vice. No one says this, nor do they prepare us for it. So here I am telling it like it is. Alcohol can bring on depression. Quitting alcohol and lead to sugar addiction. Stopping sugar consumption can cause depression. This suppression is massive because many of us feel this depression but do not understand where it starts. So we tell our doctors, and they prescribe an anxiety pill. When the truth is, all we needed was to let our bodies finish the healing process. But hang on, I highly doubt that we would mention our dietary change to the doctor and his/her prescription was based on half-information. Make sure you inform doctors of every new routine.
In our quest to find happiness, there are a lot of obstacles. Just as every storm passes, so shall our hurdles. Patience is the key. Take the time to relax and enjoy the moment or some cookies.
Until next time, live life and be happy.