I’m not usually a hypochondriac or overly worried about my health. Clearly not. I’ve self-administered a drug and ignored the recommended dose FOREVER. But since I gave up alcohol, 4 days ago, my body is rebelling. I’m beyond tired and sleeping during the day (which I never do because I’m too restless). I’m pale and haunted looking and genuinely shocked when I see my reflection in the Ipad, let alone my bathroom magnifying mirror. My tummy is particularly distended and I could seriously model a geriatric pregnancy. I also have a sore throat – cancer?
A medical professional would most likely diagnose me with a ‘virus’, but I’m not so convinced.
I looked up ‘symptoms of alcohol withdrawal‘.
Common symptoms include (see www.verywellmind.com/alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms):
- Feeling anxious or nervous (no more than usual)
- Feeling irritable (definitely)
- Feeling depressed (no actually, more manic- despite my fatigue)
- Feeling wiped out and tired (DEFINITELY)
- Shakiness (check, no, steady hands)
- Mood swings (quick to anger)
- Not being able to think clearly (better than normal)
- Having nightmares (I’ve had some very strange dreams)
- Dilated pupils (no)
- Sweating (not sweating as such. I kinda smell like my pores have been unblocked)
- Headache (no longer)
- Difficulty sleeping (can’t wake up)
- Nausea and/or vomiting (yes, I’ve felt sick but not because I drank too much)
- Appetite loss (healthy appetite)
- Faster heart rate (no)
- Pale skin (yes, translucent)
- Tremor (no not yet. I frequently test this as my mother has Parkinson’s)
To be honest, in my real life, I’m more serious than a joker. So jesting aside, alcohol withdrawal IS very serious and should be managed carefully. And as I’ve read, severe withdrawal effects or delirium tremens may be fatal.
So, please don’t take my glibness as glossing over the reality of alcoholism and that I lack compassion, as I have that in spades. But I find it sad that alcoholism is a serious disease and withdrawal can be dangerous, yet many go it alone. Have I told a soul that I am withdrawing from alcohol? No. Does my loving and supportive husband of 20 years know? No. Do my friends know? No.
If I was a medical professional, I would diagnose this condition as ‘a severe case of shame’. Medication unavailable.