Recently I mentioned on Facebook that I rarely drink alcohol having realised that it triggered depressive episodes. As a result, a friend asked how I identify helpful and harmful behaviours.
With alcohol, the realisation happened in November 2015. I went for a job interview, it went brilliantly, I got through to a trial shift. I really, really wanted this job! It was well paid, it was somewhere that I loved, I would get a generous staff discount...it was the perfect job.
The night before the trial shift, I was chatting with some friends and decided to have a glass of wine. They warned me not to drink much because they knew how much I wanted the job and didn't want me to be hungover the following day (this is why sensible friends are important!). So I had a smaller glass than I usually would.
Within about half an hour of drinking this glass of wine, I started to become withdrawn. It got to the point that my friends were noticing, and got worried. I said I was fine, just a little tired, and before long we called it a night and went to bed.
I wasn't fine. The alcohol meant my guard was down, and negativity was creeping up on me at a rapid pace. By the following morning, I was worried about the trial shift, didn't want to be in a shop full of people, and was fighting a panic attack as I walked down the street towards the store.
A week later I was told I hadn't got the job. I hadn't created a "vibrant shop floor atmosphere".
Who'd have thought one glass of wine could potentially cost me a job? Admittedly it took me a long time before I actually stopped drinking a bottle or more of wine every week, but I have, and now my main issue is anxiety. I don't doubt that there were other factors contributing to my depression, but I think the alcohol was a significant one.
Helpful behaviours are a bit more difficult and I'll probably talk about them in another blog post later on.