It was my senior year in college, and I was not on track to graduate “on time” (many people, including myself at the time, believe that you must finish college in four years). With my inconsistent performance in class freshman year and withdrawing from school my second year because of my hospitalization, this goal was almost impossible. Despite it all, I overloaded each semester after being reinstated to school and was on course to graduate once I completed summer school. Unlike my first year of college when my ego helped me ignore the signs of my mental illness, it helped me be persistent in completing my undergraduate degree.
Unfortunately, my ego also played another role in this process as I decided to not follow the treatment plan designed to handle my symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, and substituted the medication with alcohol.
I woke up drinking. I was drinking while in class. I was drinking while during homework. I was drinking to sleep at night. I constantly consumed alcohol. I would finish a fifth of Tequila in a matter of 24-36 hours.
Ironically, people that were around me did not see it as a problem (or they never addressed it as a problem with me) and would say “that's just Shaun”. It was such a known fact that I was considered "most likely to be drunk" during our senior class superlatives.
Drinking alcohol while experiencing symptoms such as hallucinations, or mood swings was not always a wise decision. The goal was not to drink to get drunk but drink to not feel like I was going insane. Sometimes I would experience the euphoria that one may feel when they are socially drinking with their friends and everyone is having a great time while other times or I could be a person filled with rage and fear.
The feeling when you don’t know what to do, who to call, or who to go to. The feeling when tears roll down your cheek and you really cannot explain why. The feeling when a simple yell or scream will just not cut it. The feeling when you get so frustrated because you cannot find a solution to this problem. The ultimate fear and anger that is undeniably now a controlling factor.
That feeling that dying would be a lot easier than putting up with the million things that are constantly going on in your mind.
All of those feelings amplified with the help of alcohol…but I continued to depend on it.