Sunday, 3 July 2011

My issues, part one (Or; Things you probably don't need to know about me)

Trigger warnings for discussion of mental health, and doubting of reality.

On Saturday I went to a party with friends. Mostly, it was a lot of fun, although there were some moments that really weren’t so good. Being told by a somewhat tipsy friend I “Wasn’t really asexual” was one of them, as was having to make sure another was breathing correctly. Other than that, it was an awesome time, and I really enjoyed myself.

However, that’s not what I’m going to write about tonight. I’m going to write about the reasons I don’t currently drink, don’t take drugs, and don’t intend to do much of either.
I have issues. I have many of them, but the ones which influence my decision to stay sober are mostly to do with my near phobia of not being in total control of my mind. If I’m not in control, then I can’t do what I consider ‘reality checks’, things which  reassure me that I’m (most probably) experiencing reality as it is experienced by most people in my vicinity. (e.g., If I’m in a room with a cat and two other people, the two other people can also see the cat*.)

I am aware that this is not necessarily a good thing that I feel the need to do reality checks, but oh well. I do them, and they don’t (haven’t) caused any major problems in my life so far. When it does, I’ll see someone about them, until then I’ll continue to use the coping mechanisms I’ve come up with and which have worked for me thus far.

Before I continue, I feel the need to point out that I don’t do reality checks very often. Mostly, they are used when I’ve been awake for a long period of time. For a while a few years ago, I did them up to several times an hour. Now, I usually don’t do them more than once every few months, and even then it’s mostly “FOR SCIENCE!”.

The last time I was very sick, I knew I was hallucinating because my reality checks failed abysmally. (I ended up spending several days in bed, watching the tree shadows dance. Very much not fun.) The time before that, my reality checks failed because I was hallucinating because of tiredness. (Again, not fun. Not recommended, either.)

However, I’m dubious about how my reality checks will hold up under the influence, and so I’m choosing not to put myself in that situation. Because I know I freak out a bit when my checks fail, even if it’s a false failing.

There’s also the fact that my family has a history of various mental problems, most of which were exacerbated by various drugs. Again, no thanks.

This all leads into a few different things for me. It means that when my friends get very very drunk, I’m slightly uncomfortable because I can’t use them for reality checks. It means that I don’t deal so well when multiple people are hallucinating the same thing (again, reality checks). It means that when multiple people doubt what I’ve experienced, I get wary.

It doesn’t mean that I want all of my friends, or indeed everyone in the whole world, not to ingest mind altering substances. Mostly, I find drunks hilarious to watch, as long as they’re safe. I just prefer it when I’ve got a ‘sober buddy’ or a semi-sober buddy with me or a way to contact someone sober (thank god for mobiles and friends who don’t sleep at normal times).

*but far more complex than that. Occasionally, I will actually just ask people if what I'm seeing/feeling/thinking is real/likely etc.