Mental health is The Topic in the media right now, thanks to the young royals - William, Kate and Harry, who have launched the Heads Together campaign to combine the weight of mental health charities and bring mental health issues out of the shadows.
Hurrah for that, and about time too.
Something that still isn't talked about, however, is the undeniable link between alcohol (ab)use and mental health.
Which is why I'm hugely grateful to one of my readers, K, for sending me an article in The Guardian titled: I know how alcohol can ruin your mental health. So why is it so rarely discussed? by a chap called Matthew Todd.
(For the full article, click here).
Todd's story is very much like mine and, I'm sure, yours. He says, for example: I never drank in the morning or in parks, just in a British way, bingeing along with, well, everybody else. I didn’t question it because no one else seemed concerned.
However, Todd found that he was becoming increasingly anxious and self-destructive. Then he uses these words, which describe my situation, back in the day, better than I could myself:
(I was) swinging between thinking I was the most important and the most worthless person on the planet.
The more I drank to medicate my low self-esteem, the worse my anxiety got and the more I drank to dull it. Years passed and I couldn’t see I was stuck right in the classic “cycle of addiction”.
Does that ring bells with you too?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Matthew's main discovery once he quit totally echoed my experience too. he says:
Since finally giving up alcohol, I’ve learned many things. First, that addiction is everywhere. That it is not about the drinking (or whatever the substance is), but the feelings underneath.
And ain't that the truth?
Matthew's article ends with the words: The British drink too much. Alcohol must be next on the mental health agenda. Hear, hear, and so say all of us.
So thank you K, and thank you Matthew.
Another e-mail I received this week was much less helpful.
An inauspicious start, and displaying total lack of research, given that my pseudonym is SoberMummy.
But it gets worse...
Our company is interested in the wine you produced.
If you have intention to cooperate, please contact us ASAP to have a better discussion of our cooperation.
Funnily enough, for many years one of my secret ambitions was to buy a vineyard. Needless to say, I spent too much time (and money) drinking to actually get around to doing so.
Just as well, hey?
Love to you all,
SoberMummy (also known as Sir) x