Submitted Date 02/09/2019

The Cycle of Self Medication and Self Hate

Do you ever see your unhealthy addictions as a positive? Sometimes they can hide so well as such things. After all, aren’t these things called crutches? Crutches are good, no? They keep you standing. Or, like a life vest, it keeps you afloat. Is that so bad?

Depression has ruled my life for years. It consumes me, sometimes, as if it’s the only darkness I can reside in. Happiness and health are something I’ve only dwelled in, only to return to the same comfort and uncomfortableness of my depression. When something is all you’ve ever known for so long, it seems like happiness and just trying is only a seasonal thing.

I’ve done things to try and get “better”. I’ve seen both sides of the medicating, on my own and with a doctor or therapist. Though a lot of it has been work on my own with busy schedules and countless medications that never worked.

It’s funny, too, because an anger within me had grown from the people who tell me to “just breathe” or do some yoga, exercise, find a hobby. Funny enough, yoga was something I’ve always done. I have hobbies I love. So, then what?

I’ve drowned in endless heaps of different superfoods and heaps of protein powders, “uplifting” diets and rows of colorful fruits and veggies in hopes they’d add some color to my chemically imbalanced brain. As someone who has also dealt with an eating disorder, it seems like this kind of approach was the right thing.

You could ask me about maca root powder for hormone balancing and ashwagandha for an uplifted mood and reduction of anxiety. I’ve been addicted to caffeine pills and diet pills and gone cold turkey on this to maca to cold turkey from maca to caffeine. I’ve stopped smoking cigarettes for months or drinking only to return to heavily using both to cope later. It’s a roller coaster of trying and quitting and trying again. Yes I’ve even spent countless amounts of money on CBD oils, I’ve done a lot.

Sometimes my view of self-medicating gets skewed because of addictions.

In December, I quit smoking, drinking, and caffeine. I went back to the maca powder, to the cacao powder antioxidants and things like brazil nuts and dates and these superfood diet fads. Recently, I couldn’t resist the urge for a smoke, and now it’s been something I go to only to exhale and feel the immediate relief and happiness from nicotine. My mind believes that this is the real medication, but that’s only from the surreal number of endorphins I’m flooded with from giving back into an addiction.

Things get muddled up to the point where my “self-medicating” is just self-hate, like believing cigarettes are the only thing that can make me feel ok or happy, only because I am addicted. I guess, is that when a professional comes in play? To help you realign your mind and see the wrong in the connections you’ve made from addictive things = positive helpful things.

I feel like I’ve only ever dabbled in happiness if we put that label on the superfoods and eating well and whatever. I’ve dabbled in the yogi mindset and the health, and it always only lasts a season or a few months. And really, each time I look back at my dedication to prepping smoothies and exercising, getting involved with the world, going on nature walks and inhaling essential oils, but then something always cracks, and I go back to my second group of options: the immense amount of caffeine and cigarettes and drinks out with friends a little too often. Due to this, my friend group also seems to change, too. It’s like I live two different lives and my healthy self comes out to play for a shorter amount of time. And yes, I feel happy and would totally recommend maca powder and yoga. I love my essential oils, etc., etc. But I think I’ve been depressed for so long the only comfort I find is the lifestyle I’ve had there. And it’s not really “comfort”, I think it’s just a magnetic pull to the only thing I’ve ever known for so long. My brain, my subconscious mind, it wants back into the darkness when the sun gets a little too bright.

I’m not sure of a solution, or anything. And I’m sorry if that seemed like I was getting somewhere, anywhere, with this. But I think someone could resonate or be told that it’s ok to find comfort in being sick sometimes, it’s like a forced comfort. It’s like, “I don’t want to be unhappy, I don’t want to be sick, I don’t want to have no motivation, I want to do something to get better”, but I’m scared, and I suppose that every time I’ve switched to a healthier lifestyle or looking for therapy that I feel so much more uncomfortable in just trying to get better than I did when I didn’t have to even try to do anything when I was stuck in a deep depression. I’ve also found this unhealthy comfort in my addictions, I don’t think I’ll ever feel as happy living such a healthy, happy, life, then I do go out for a smoke or something. Like when I go out for walks trying to be healthy, I miss this burning cradle I had in between my fingers.

I think there’s such a stigma towards even going out to get the help that people turn to things they think would be a crutch until they can get help. Until a better time, when their schedule is freer, or something, the drink will do, the smoke will do, something will do. It’s unfortunate. But addiction has made it harder for me to commit.

I’m not saying anyway is a bad way to try and find your happy. I still advocate for superfoods and exercise and yoga and all that jazz! I just am in a flux of trying to find a way to keep on that road, and not fall back of the crutches that always snap.

Related Stories


Please login to post comments on this story

  • David Ross Washington Jr 3 months, 1 week ago

    Things get muddled up to the point where my “self-medicating” is just self-hate, like believing cigarettes are the only thing that can make me feel ok or happy,
    It does. Thanks for sharing your story. I believe that the thing with depression to me is similar with anxiety, and how I dealt with it in college. When I try to force myself into "Getting over it," "not letting it happen," it would happen, and happen more severely. I read up about it, and said that, that's what happens. When you try to tell yourself it won't happen, or it's not good and stop yourself from having it happens, it forces it to happen, and more. You have to accept that it will happen, and it's okay. It's nothing you really need to stop or change because it's part of life. I just deal with the depression or dark place, and then let myself casually come out of it. I accept my feelings, I deal with them, cry, write, listen to music that makes me really think about the events, walk, talk to friends, whatever, and eventually I've consumed myself in darkness so much, that I've let it toxify the air so much, that the wind eventually blows it away, and I've emptied it from my system. I honestly feel depression is a part of life, and we have to accept that, life isn't perfect, and it's okay to not be okay. That's what made it easier for me. I create some of my best work in those dark places, and I become very relatable, being able to help so many people through their struggles through my depression, and am able to see the world in a much broader lens, and truly humble myself to see what life really is about. Sometimes it's perspective. I hope that helps. I think you're a strong, amazing individual. Thanks for being human.

    • Melanie Sue 3 months, 1 week ago

      Thanks David, I think your comment is beautiful. I agree, I think acceptance is an important part in 'dealing', or else it would be a lot more toxic. Perspective is important. Back atcha, you're amazing too, stay strong x

  • David Ross Washington Jr 3 months, 1 week ago

    You're welcome Melanie.

  • Tomas Chough 3 months, 1 week ago

    Hi Melanie! I relate to this on a very personal level. Smoking, drinking and even worse things have been enormous parts of my life. I used to do that stuff everyday for years. I also definitely agree that it gets annoying when people try to tell you what to do and very frustrating when you already know, and still can't pull out of that state. Each person is different and we all have our own demons. I don't mean to tell you what to do or even give advice, but I'd like to share something that helped me. About a year and a half ago I was very depressed and had really lost control over myself. This led to me having a very long and deep conversation with my inner issues. I won't go into the details but one of the main things that helped me start to change bad habits and emotions, was how much I related my identity to them. I had created a life around consuming those things to the point were I was emotionally addicted to the identity/negative emotions more than to the actual substances. Like you said, it was like a comfort zone because after doing that for so long it seems "normal". You almost need that cigarette to feel like yourself. But I decided to do some inner work and detach myself from any beliefs or attitudes that I thought were my own and that seemed to go hand in hand with those habits. I seriously believe that if you make a change in your identity and stop relating to certain things, you start to not even feel the need to consume them or act a certain way. When you start to believe in a new you, you start to move towards those other healthier habits and emotions. It's definitely a battle and I still deal with it everyday. It slowly starts getting better though. When I detached myself from my old identity and hammered down on those new habits, good emotions started becoming my default. Even though I can have a set back, I don't go back to depression anymore as a comfort zone. It's the other way around now. I can feel shitty for a little but then snap back to feeling good again. I hope this wasn't too confusing or weird. It's not normal for me to make comments so long but I felt like you were describing my own life and couldn't help it. Hopefully something I said will help you with your own personal struggles. Thanks for sharing and have faith! It'll get better if you keep trying!

    • Melanie Sue 2 months, 3 weeks ago

      Hi Tomas, your comment blew me away. I completely relate these things to my identity, you're right. I agree, when I finally start letting go of these things and think I'm ok without them, I'm left with a feeling of loss because of how embedded it has been in my life and myself. Thank you for the reassurance and sharing your mindset and the way you personally approached your own struggles and battles. It's funny how much we can relate to one another, and you're so kind for commenting to help out. Hope all is well :)

  • Miranda Fotia 2 months, 3 weeks ago

    And it’s not really “comfort”, I think it’s just a magnetic pull to the only thing I’ve ever known for so long. My brain, my subconscious mind, it wants back into the darkness when the sun gets a little too bright.
    I can totally relate to this. The home I grew up in, though we had happy times, for the most part it was filled with sadness. My mom was a single mom who got cancer when I was 8 and it kept coming back and spreading until about the time I graduated from high school. She did the best she could. She had to keep working through all of the treatments and received almost no support because my alcoholic grandma told everyone in the family it wasn't true that she had cancer. She said she was just lying for attention. There was this constant feeling of sadness, loneliness and fear and it makes sense that I feel most "comfortable" when I am faced with these feelings. I know what to do when I am sad, and that is usually to be alone, drink, smoke, and paint or write. Idk how to respond to those happy moments as well as I know how to respond to the sad moments. Being pregnant at the moment has me so off balance. I can't drink or smoke or paint when I am sad. All I can do is write, and it just doesn't seem as good either. Something about that glass of red wine and a cigarette in my hand makes it so much easier to write something meaningful. Beautiful piece! Thanks for sharing!