Recovering From Summer

So I know it’s been a hot sec since I wrote a post, but what can I say? I was out there living my best life…. JK I was out there living my typical unbalanced life. Which isn’t to say it was all bad. Parts of my summer were incredible, but more on that later.

I know its not technically Fall yet, but at least it’s not 90 degrees anymore so it felt appropriate to discuss this.  Summer is a fricken whirlwind.  I guess there is something about warm weather that causes me (and many others Im sure) to throw caution to the wayside. All of sudden you go from having a somewhat predictable routine to going to BBQ’s every other day, the beach and on vacation.

It’s a crap load of fun, don’t get me wrong… but for me it is also very dangerous and full of temptations. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you know that I had stopped drinking for quite some period of time. You may even think I was still following that trajectory, but *spoiler alert* I haven’t. It was a great time of self reflection for me, but it was also very hard and admittedly I got tired of it.

I slowly started drinking again here and there at gatherings during the Spring, but it was still a sort of take it or leave type thing. Once Summer hit however, it was all bets off and I became unhinged. I could probably make a lot of excuses… I was stressed at work, my anxiety medication wasn’t work as well as it used to (or I would forget to take it or take too much),  I was going to too many events, whatever the case may be…Summer is over and its time to jump back into good habits.

Sometimes I feel like such a transparent person. Whenever I am going through a rough time it is painfully obvious, not just to me but to EVERYONE around me. That can become extremely daunting and in turn I usually become even more destructive/anxious/depressed.

Now that Fall is here I feel like I can finally take a step back and look at everything with clearer vision, take a breath and get my shit together.

Will I stop drinking again? Will I finally seek out a therapist? Will I get a second opinion about my medication? To be continued…. but it is looking more likely than it did before.

What about Summer throws you off your routine??? Comment below, I’d love for you to share!

 

❤ Sweeney

 

From being THAT girl @ the bar to becoming THAT girl that DOESN’T DRINK (@ the bar).

So I’ve been told when you’re trying to cut out drinking from your life that it is a good idea to also cut ties with the friends you drink with. Theoretically, I completely understand this, but I’m sorry but…hell no. Do you know how long it fricken takes me to find a group of people that I can be completely comfortable around? Sure it has been tough, but I am willing to put myself in that difficult position to maintain important friendships. Not to mention, I also have a major FOMO complex. There are, however, definitely acquaintances of mine that I only feel comfortable around if I am drinking/drunk…. they can go. To be honest, acquaintances are the vain of my existence anyway​. So if I’ve hung out with you at a bar or party in the past month, congratulations….I must really like you!

It has been a strange experience going from binge drinker to non-drinker. Some of the changes have been really enjoyable, for instance helllllo no hangovers! And not gonna lie, it is pretty cool to remember your whole evening. When I go out now I put much more emphasis as to why I’m leaving the comfort of my couch and Netflix​. Whether it is to watch your band play or celebrate your birthday, I am actually going out to support and be there for you. Before any excuse to drink was a reason to go out and the occasion always played second fiddle. I was a very selfish drinker and I really didn’t care about anything other than when I was going to get my next drink. It feels good to actually be present. It is also reallllllly funny to watch my boyfriend get wasted which, after over 10 years of dating, I have rarely seen because he’d always have to be in charge of taking care of my drunk ass.

Now for the downside… it’s really hard. Imagine wanting nothing more than relaxing with a nice cold beer, preferably a microbrew​ (because I’m pretentious like that) but not being able to have one AND THEN subjecting yourself to several hours of being surrounded by said micro-brew. Ugh, honestly it is the literal worst. It is a craving like none other. I have found that my anxiety lessons a bit once I put any form of beverage in my hand. If I am at a brunch type of event, chamomile tea helps to calm my nerves and relax me. If I am going out at night I will usually stick to water or if I want to get really wild a diet coke/ sugar-free​ energy drink. Also… lots and lots of kudzu​ (and occasionally kava)root. I’m actually going to make a post soon about supplements and which ones I take for a more natural mood support, so stay tuned!

Another pitfall? Having to explain (over & over) why you aren’t drinking. Sometimes people do not even ask but I feel compelled to tell them just because I assume they are wondering (even if they probably aren’t). If my anxiety makes me feel like I stick out like a sore thumb than not drinking at a bar makes me feel like I am naked and painted hot pink. My friends are completely fine with it though and very supportive. If you are going through something similar and your “friends” make you feel weird about it, that’s when I fully support the idea of cutting ties.

The only other challenge I’ve come across so far is answering the question “So how long are you doing this for?”. Word of advice, do not ask somebody who’s​ struggling with drinking that because ​IDK hopefully forever? In my head that is like trying to calculate how long it is going to take me to fail. Could I learn how to drink in moderation and start partaking again? Maybe….but probably not. Will I ever just say f*ck it and start drinking again? I honestly can’t answer that. For now, ​it’s safe to say the “Sween Machine” is in a coma. It’s possible she’ll stay asleep indefinitely. It is also (hopefully significantly less) equally possible she’ll wake up. Instead of worrying about when that may or may not happen, I am just going to continue to enjoy my new found clarity.

❤ Sweeney

New Year, Old Me

So despite leading up to the New Year with guns blazing, once 2018 actually did roll around I fell short…and by “fell short” I mean I think I literally fell down at some point after the ball dropped and incidentally dropped my own metaphorical New Year’s ball (ba dum chh). All puns aside though, 2018 has pretty much sucked for me so far.

The month prior to January I had spent an insurmountable amount of time self reflecting, making improvements and basically just working on trying to get my shit together. And not to pat myself on my own back, but I was doing a pretty good job. I actually believed the notion of that cliche’d “New Year, New Me” thing would apply to me this year. Its not like I thought I’d become a whole different person, but I was confident in my efforts to become a least a better one.

Nothing particularly major happened to make me this way. My biggest set back was that I ended up drinking on New Years, something I had been adamantly avoiding. I had made it through Christmas and several parties and outings without even craving alcohol. I was so proud of myself and I could see my mindset changing. I was OK being the only one in the room not partaking, hell I would even say it felt comfortable not to! I didn’t even drink until after Midnight. I don’t know what flipped the switch inside my brain, but I figured I had deserved to indulge just a little bit.

Of course, there is no such thing as a “little bit” with me and I ended up waking up at 3pm with a wicked hangover. While the hangover served as a great reminder to myself that I hate drinking, I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment. To make matter worse, this new low energy I had adopted in 2018 followed me throughout the next week.

Although I did not work New Years day, I felt sluggish and not myself the subsequent days at work. My anxiety was back with a vengeance and I had trouble organizing my thoughts and getting through tasks. In case you don’t already know, Anxiety is a raging bitch. I started getting all these crazy thoughts in my head and coming up with wild conclusions in my head over what my co-workers thought of my obvious low energy. Reality tells you: They probably thought you could use a good Starbucks run and maybe a nap. Anxiety on the other hand attacks you with ….. OMG EVERYONE THINKS YOU ARE CRAZY. Why do you suck at your job so much…. WhAt iS wRoNg WiTh YoU?!?! Other than anxiety making you think it is acceptable to toggle your type in a blog post, it is completely illogical.

So THAT my friends has been my 2018 so far. Not so fun. All stemming from 1 night of drinking too…which is kinda insane if you think about it. On a positive note though, my efforts in December in the self improvement department were not fruitless. Because of the work I put in, I have been able to pull my big girl pants back on and myself out of this slump (It might of taken almost like a full week, but hey I still deserve some credit!). So tonight I am going to go home after a productive day at work, eat some Pizza and maybe jot down ideas on how to embody a New Year, New Me mantra for myself.

❤  Sweeney

Nicknames & Their Connotations

So in my last post, I briefly touched upon the idea of trying to live up to this image of being a “hot mess”. I know it seems like an odd trait to pursue as your identity, but in a strange way doing so made me feel safe. As long I self-identified as being a mess other people’s perception of me (in theory) would carry less weight. To help perpetuate this idea I had a nickname, The Sween Machine.

This nickname actually started pretty innocently enough. I had just moved to New Jersey for grad school, during the height of The Jersey Shore’s popularity and it was just sort of my “Jersey” name. Soon, ​however, the name morphed into an outlet for me to become this completely different person. When you have anxiety, the thought of being a different person is comforting. The Sween Machine was carefree, wild and did things without thinking. She could act in all the ways my anxiety inhibited me from doing. Besides the obvious, one of the HUGE problems that came with this was that in order to become my alter-ego I had to drink… A LOT.

I had some fun times being the Machine, but overall it was super detrimental to my well being and completely not worth it. For those fleeting hours of drunken escape, ​I made my anxiety much worse. Now not only did I feel anxious, but I had to navigate through dealing with my drunken actions, many of which I did not even remember. I also could not handle being in social situations without drinking and when I did drink I would always binge. I started becoming a liability not only to myself​ ​ but other people. No matter how bad it got, however, I couldn’t seem to let go of the Machine. It took a lot of time for me to even begin thinking of shedding this image. I now try to work on it everyday. I am attempting to completely cut out alcohol from my life and try different natural supplements instead of medications to deal with my anxiety. I am slowly learning that being in control of your life is much better for your mood than allowing it to be a huge mess (go figure!). I am finally allowing myself to be myself. No more Machine Wreck.

 ❤ Sweeney