Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What if they weren't alcoholics...

Ok.  Im having a low moment.
Not sure what the trigger is but I have been quite happy for a few weeks so the karma of bipolar was due. Ooh look pictures. Merry Xmas btw. 

If you're looking for a more cheerful blog visit Lee Hall today

Perhaps I have been watching too much House (an American TV series starring Hugh Laurie and not a place of residence) but ive re-examined my patient history. My mother and likely her father both have / had a history of alcohol addiction. Both were heavy smokers. Sticking with my mother as I have personal memories to go by, I've always assumed she drank to deal with the pain of ruining a marriage through multiple affairs including the first bf I met who hit her at least once. Fucking your life up like that would drive you to drink, especially as two close friends died around the same time and your boss gets wasted in his office on miniatures - I can see where the inspiration for the coping mechanism came from.

But what if it wasn't just a coping mechanism but also a symptom. A symptom of a mental health issue.

We've all understood for a while that alcohol and perhaps addictive personality traits could be genetic - we all know of a family of drunks or druggies and whilst some of it is nuture I think alot more is nature. Or to be more precise I agree with some physiologists who suggest that our brain nature is altered by nuture - for example major events especially in childhood and teenage years when the brain is forming.

What if my brain nature was already predisposed to mental health issues and the nature of my childhood -  drunks and death - simply exacerbated the issue.

If this is the case then the alcoholism was a coping mechanism for their lives which they couldn't handle due to their genetic preposition for mental health issues.

What makes me think that alcoholism is a symptom and not the virus?
I am not an alcoholic. I can go weeks without drinking  and then only have one pint or if it's a night out get very drunk and then take a week to recover. But I do have mental health issues. Perhaps my genetic preposition is the same but my coping mechanism is not.

I'm not sure what are my mechanisms: creativity through youtube and acting or burying myself in community work so I forget how alone I am or the occasional anti-depressant.

All of them seem better than becoming addicted to any substance just to ease the pain. But I guess if that was the measure then we would all recommended people cut themselves (cutting releases endorphins and the brain focuses on that and the new pain signal).

Ive thought I was wired differently for a long time -  especially recently when I wrote a blog post explaining how I took comfort in knowing how I will kill myself (not planning to do it in the next few years, I want to see marriages and babies first).

Still:
What if my brain nature was already predisposed to mental health issues and the nature of my childhood -  drunks and death - simply exacerbated the issue?

Is there anyway to change my nature?

Or are you going to tell me that I have to try harder?
Because some days, I just can't anymore.

If you are wondering what you can do to support mental health please look  at making a pledge with Time To Change (and organisation trying to end the stigma surrounding mental health) and why not join me and become a member of the charity MIND.

In more cheerful youtube news I am opening a Doctor Who Advent calendar each day this month and I have two new recent videos: in one I eat a peanut butter Twix and then my sister says "I will cut you because you can sing" (sic) in the other. Go now to www.youtube.com/MattStreuli and like and stuff.