|"Hi, my name is Julie and I'm an Alcoholic"|
All I could hear was “swing for the fence Wimmer” and “knock it out of the park”, over and over and over. So I did. This was my mantra in life. Go hard. Go fast. Keep a strong work ethic, stay physically fit and always help others before you help yourself. Do good. Be good. Always. I had no boundaries in life and alcohol was no exception. Drink hard. Drink fast. And for God’s sake, don’t let anyone catch on. After all, I had a solid reputation to uphold. I can’t tell you how many times I have been referred to as strong and fearless. To me, this is called Guilt, Shame, Anxiety and Fear.
Guilt and too many other emotions to list for not being there when my six-week old daughter died from SIDS. Shame when my Dad died at the age of 54 from alcoholism and so much shame and guilt turned inward and pushed to the bottom of my soul when my brother Jeff, passed away in August of 2013. He was instrumental in saving my life back in 2008, why couldn’t I have done the same?! We were literally hours away from intervening when my Mom called and delivered the shocking news. Jeff was gone. I have packed these emotions around on my shoulders for years just waiting for that next traumatic shoe to drop.
Anxiety and Fear can manifest itself in many different ways. I get anxiety and fear when I don’t feel smart enough, pretty enough, young enough. I get it when I’ve agreed to do too much at work or if I don’t push myself to exercise every day. If I am judged, whether negatively or positively. If I have to meet new colleagues or friends of friends. This big dog creeps in and takes over my entire psyche with the blink of an eye.
Like many of you, I suffer with chronic depression and have done so most of my adult life. It’s a cruel punishment. It’s the slow erosion of self. It is essentially a solitary experience; a room in hell with only your name on the door. Somehow, I’ve managed to “cope” or “mask” my chronic depression through exercise and sports despite multiple relapses over the past nine years, but for scores of us, it can be debilitating.