Hola Sober April 2024

University years Throughout university, I used alcohol to deal with my feelings. I was the one with stupid ideas, the one who drank too much, the one always in trouble when I drank. I had many friends and had two close friends - we did everything together but I still felt like I was the outsider. I felt like it was them and me instead of us. I always felt so different and not in a good way. I also struggled with essay writing and revision at university. My favourite subject was Modern Political Thought. My tutor and I would discuss philosophy and modern thinking. He was disappointed when he saw my average exam results and assignments. I knew my stuff, but I couldn’t revise it or articulate it on paper. I still could only do anything under pressure, which meant nothing was of the standard it should have been. From a young age, I craved time alone and wanted to escape. Nothing was different at university. I had recently lost my mother, adding to my turmoil. Alcohol took away the pain, but the escape was never long enough to make anything better. Motherhood Fast forward to my twenties and thirties, now a mum and married. I found staying at home with the children difficult. I loved and adored them, but sometimes it was crushingly boring, and I felt like a useless mum. I preferred practical activities like painting, cooking, or playdates. I was also impulsive. For example, after seeing an advert with baby alpacas, I booked us on an alpaca walk. Not the craziest thing in the world but definitely unexpected. The kids loved it.

This is when my drinking ramped up. I drank to overcome boredom and the overwhelming feeling of panic and overwhelm. Wine was my 'solution' to feeling better. Diagnosis My ADHD symptoms worsened in recent years. My concentration was worse than ever, and I was frequently overwhelmed. I became peri- menopausal, which exacerbated my ADHD symptoms. I was sober when I received my diagnosis. Interestingly, one of the first questions from the psychiatrist was about substance misuse. People with ADHD may be at higher risk for several reasons: with ADHD might use substances to cope with their symptoms. For example, they might use stimulants to help focus or alcohol to calm hyperactivity. My brain never shuts up. There are songs, conversations, thoughts ·Self-medication: Individuals memories, worries - you name it, it’s happening. For a very short while alcohol would quieten this. It was back bigger and better though at 3am, but now I felt ill as well as overwhelmed. ·Impulsivity: ADHD is characterised by symptoms like impulsivity and risk- taking behaviour, which can lead to experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Co-occurring disorders: ADHD often coexists with other mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, which can increase the risk of substance abuse.


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