Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Alcohol, depression, death

My friend Stan used to call me when he was drunk. We shared the diagnosis of depression, and that's what he called to talk about. Perhaps he was only comfortable talking about his sadness once the alcohol softened his resolve. Perhaps the depressant effect of alcohol deepened his depression to the point where he needed to speak. I don't know. I'll never know. Stan died last night.

Stan's death, indirectly the result of alcoholism, leaves me sad and reminiscent. Like Stan, I often used alcohol as my primary depression medication. It worked. Every time I put it in, I knew the effect it would have. Unlike pills, which required weeks to take effect, ingesting alcohol provided almost instant distraction, alteration, and relief. The irony of using a depressant chemical to medicate my depression wasn't lost on me, but it worked when nothing else would.

Of course, like Stan, I didn't drink just a little bit. I drank like an alcoholic. In medicating my depression, I became an alcoholic. No matter what I planned, one drink was never enough, two were always too few, and oblivion never came too soon. Stan's tearful phone calls, and now his death, remind me I am only one drink away from losing my sobriety, possibly forever. I am only one drink away from literal oblivion. Of this, I can never be reminded too much.

There but for the grace of God go I... While remembering my friend, I will remember this, too. Grateful for the reminder, Stan. Now rest...

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