I really love the stuff. I’m not what you’d call a connoisseur or anything. (Although I’m trying to learn more.) But I do so appreciate a nice glass or two of wine. I like the taste, I like the smell (yeah, yeah, bouquet), I like the aesthetics of the glass — ah the pleasure of a good glass, light, with a thin stem — and I like the warm, mild buzz. I love a cold, crisp sauvignon blanc, a luscious pinot or a spicy syrah.
Shall I go on? I shan’t.
Here’s why. My recent bout of depression (which seems to be drawing to a close, hallelujah) was most likely brought on by a number of factors. Primarily, I think, the combination excitement/intensity and sleep disruption (very bad for people with bipolar) of my trip to France. The nuttiness of the holidays, the lack of daylight, and the fact that I was in a very, very busy stretch, work-wise, no doubt also contributed.
But the truth is — as my psychiatrist gently reminded me — the fact that I was drinking more than usual (vacay in France with no kids, holiday revelry, etc.) may also have been a factor.
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar II, back in 2009, I went for six weeks without having a single drop of alcohol. (OK, not true, I had one glass of wine on my birthday.) It was to give myself the best shot at feeling better while I was switching medications, and also to prove to myself that I could. After that, I reintroduced very moderate drinking, keeping to a glass or two on weekends and on social occasions.
But, since it hasn’t been problematic, I’ve let it creep up over time. I got a bit cavalier, and got back the habit of having a glass or two most nights. (And more than that on some occasions.) It’s not dangerous or abusive drinking by any measure. But probably not the greatest thing for someone with mental health issues.
So, here’s me committing — call it a New Year’s resolution — to rein it back in, as much as it pains me. I don’t need to abstain entirely, and don’t plan to. But I need to be more disciplined and mindful. And I need to be particularly careful at times when my regular routine is disrupted, and things are more intense / busy / stimulating / exciting than usual. (Which are, of course, the times when I am more tempted to refill my glass….)
There’s a lot about depression that is beyond my control. But here’s one place — in addition to stuff like exercise, diet, sleep, etc. — where I can help ensure the best possible shot at stability. And it’s my responsibility.
Club soda, anyone?
Photo: Ken Yu