Monday 10 August 2015

The Glums

I've hit a sudden patch of The Glums.

When I was drinking my emotions were up and down all the time. The biggest impact on how I was feeling at any point was the booze. It went something like this:

Wine o'clock: relief, elation, relaxation
3 hours later: guilt, grumpiness, exhaustion
3am: self loathing, anxiety, restlessness
7am: weariness, edginess, sluggishness


This endless cycle of short term ups and downs drowned out any underlying mood swings.

Now I've got off that endless merry-to-suicidal-go-round and I'm on a much more even keel. My default setting is 'pretty happy', pretty much all of the time. It's a miracle.

Which is why it floors me when suddenly I feel glum. For no reason.

It could be hormonal. It could be PAWS (see my posts on Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). It could just be a non specific bad mood. 

I'm sure that everyone feels down from time to time, it's just that we ex drinkers are unused to dealing with mood swings. Our default reaction to a bad mood was "feel down ergo must have a drink." No attempt to analyse the reason for the mood - just to get rid of it.

Ignoring the longer term 'reasons to be happy' like good health, children, lack of unmanageable debt, etcetera, in the immediate present here is my 'gratitude list':

1. We are on holiday in Cornwall- one of my favourite places in the world
2. #1, #2 and #3 have declared it one of the best holidays ever
3. Mr SM has escaped from the office to join us
4. I have croissants baking in the oven
5. Against all odds, I have found a shop which sells Becks Blue. I think they must have ordered it in error, because when I took a six pack to the till they looked at me as if I were crazy and said "you do realise this is alcohol free?"

But still there's a grumpy voice pointing out the negatives:

1. It's raining, and the forecast for the week is terrible
2. It's a holiday for everyone else, but I still have to prepare at least 2 meals a day (that at least one child won't like), run the washing machine daily and the dishwasher twice a day. It's been more than a decade since I had a holiday with room service.
3. #2 behaved so badly in a local inn yesterday that we had to leave and I may be too embarrassed to ever return
4. I was so busy typing this with one finger on my iPhone that I burned the sodding croissants!
5. After several weeks of steady weight loss the scales are heading in the wrong direction. Maybe it's just as well the croissants are ruined. Every burned pastry has a silver lining...

So, here I am, in a grump, for no particular reason, trying not to let anyone know about the black cloud following me around.

But, on the upside, I know that the mood will pass, just as I know that the rain will, eventually, clear. And I also know that there is no way at all that a drink would help the situation....

(Apart from a Becks Blue, obviously, which does seem capable of curing most ailments ;-))

.....and that really is progress.

Love to you all,



  1. It's never too early to teach the kids to play bridge. Or poker. I'm a simple person, and the kids are not that bright, so we usually go for Uno, which is a lot of fun when it is raining outside.

    1. We're big Uno fans too Ulla! I never learned Bridge - I was always too drunk to follow the rules ;-)

  2. I got the overall point, though. I can't speak for you, but when I'm hit with the glums, I often feel it as regret for all the things large and small that I've neglected, missed out on etc. because of drinking. To me, that regret is really toxic and has driven me back to drinking on a former occation. This time I'm better, though, more in the moment, looking ahead rather than back.

  3. I blame it on the weather! I agree - board games are the way forward. Your children will love it which will make you feel much better. Plus lots of hot chocolate if it's really chilly. We're battling the same here :)

  4. Teach the kids poker!
    Anyway, throw the scale away. It is so liberating, I can't even begin to tell you my joy. Do I need a scale to know if I have gained weight. No. I have clothes for at.

    Glum comes and goes. Bubble baths, chocolate and warm socks help me.

    It's funny how strong glum can feel. But it does pass. And the sun shines again.

  5. Totally relate. I feel sad = wine, I feel stressed = wine, I feel bored= wine, and so on. The other day, I wandered round the house feeling completely flat and bored. I didn't feel like doing anything. Three months ago I would have plugged that gap with a chilled bottle of Kim Crawford. Instead I decluttered for about an hour, and the feeling passed. We have to learn to live with normal feelings now. Sometimes that sucks.

  6. Some of my best memories of childhood have being rained in or snowed in as a backdrop. Hot chocolate, Monopoly, pudding, socks warming on the heater.

    I think we probably did permanent damage to ourselves by allowing ourselves to drown our "glums" in alcohol most of our lives, now it's like there an implanted chip in our brain that chirps, "There is a fast and easy way to feel happy." incessantly.
    We just have to drown it out with hot chocolate and pudding.

  7. Oh, yes, one of my best memories from my childhood was a rainy day when my mom said - uncharacteristically lightheartedly - 'let's go swim' and I said 'but it's raining' and she said 'so what? We are going to get wet anyway'. It was great fun to swim in the pouring rain, and it taught me a valuable lessen about thinking outside the box. It really made an impression.

  8. Am totally with you SM. Have been miserable for last few days and no idea why. Am hoping it's hormonal but since hitting 40 never know what hormones are doing. Hence am 46 and have a 3 year old!!! We are 6 weeks into summer holidays with 1 week to go and, much as I love my kids,I am now counting down to school going back. I am exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. I do feel sorry for them ( a tiny bit) going back after 7 weeks off but am craving time to myself. Even food shopping by myself will be a joy. It's hard trying to create happy fun memories of summer for them while being run off your feet and not even being able to drown your sorrows at the end of the day. I would love to disappear into a bottle of wine or gin tonight but won't. I know where it'll end up. Maybe not tonight but over the next few weeks. I agree with anne - chuck the scales away and use your clothes. It's soul destroying when you think you've lost weight and haven't! So chin up (or keep your pecker up as we say here!), put it down to PAWS and have a becks blue. Sending a big hug xxx

  9. I was quite glum last week, it was horrible. Something happened but my emotional reaction was severe (even for me in terms of how down i felt) i actually think you feel it more intense when you alcohol free and you know it is not due to alcohol hangover so it was hard. but i think as you said everyone gets down from time to time. i just sat with it and it passed thankfully. it will for you too I'm sure
    is there much difference between becks blue and becks alcohol free, can only see the latter here. Going to a family BBQ on sat so wants afew AF bottles. On day 31 here. its awesome! U should be proud, you and some other bloggers inspire so many people xx

  10. Becks blue is the same as alcohol free becks x

  11. Thanks to all of you for cheering me up! Rain has cleared a bit, so we all put wetsuits on and went out for an evening swim. We looked like a pack of seals ;-) xxx

  12. You know, they should really put road signs up to warn you about a "patch of the glums"- Like, "Glums Ahead! Beware!"
    I feel for you gals with young kids on vacation, mine are teens who can feed themselves and do their own dishes (and drive to get get take out!)
    Do you know that's alcohol free?? hahahah! They've probably had that six-pack there for years, did you blow the dust off of it? Shop is probably RELIEVED. Speaking of which, I encountered a similar issue to your bottle cap removal incident upon arrival- couldn't find an opener in my vaca house, fortunately the spouse found one before I had to bust it open.

  13. I am glummmy too!
    And it's sunny here!
    You do need a vacation from your vacation that's for sure!

  14. I know how being awake at 3am feels. Too much wine for me last night :(

    1. Step away from the booze, KB! You can do it! You'll never regret it xxx

  15. Cornwall is lovely the best place ever. we have just returned from a week in Looe. Still being on holiday with children is always hard work and you're away from your usual routines and sober supports . Allow yourself to be glum for a few hours because you know it will pass. I can also recommend giving yourself a Demelza moment. Stand on a cliff in a brisk wind, gaze out to see and murmur " oh. Ross, oh Ross". A small smile is almost guaranteed. Flossie x

    1. Lol! Love Looe - I had a wonderful weekend at the Lugger in the pre-children days! Xx

  16. Day 24 for me and definitely feeling glum, for the first time since I've stopped drinking. I know it's hormonal but unlike in the past when I would use that as an excuse to down a bottle, I'm in bed in a mood but dealing with it!! Hopefully feel better tomorrow xx