Monday, December 10, 2007

Government Health Warnings

Does anyone remember in the early eighties, around the time of the Falklands war, there was a government pamphlet distributed on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack? I had it all figured out. In the case of an emergency I knew if I turned the dining room table over, painted the windows white and had a store of tinned food I may survive. My parents had to keep a keen eye on me over the months in fear that I would create my own bomb shelter in the lounge, paint and all!

The eighties seemed to have a string of government health warnings from AIDS awareness to the danger of toppling prams by hanging bags on handles. In today’s media the advertisements use shock tactics to highlight the dangers of crossing the road and keeping to the speed limit. The most common health warning seems to be aimed at young adults and the consequences of drinking too much. Regardless of the adverts, I knew I drank too much so I thought I’d research the effects of alcohol and see what the government advice is. Within minutes I find out I am a binge drinking alcoholic!

Following a sharp intake of breath I investigated the basic facts; the Government recommended weekly alcohol intake for a woman is fourteen units, twenty-one for a man. Is it only a surprise to me or does everyone know that one bottle of wine is ten units and a pint of lager is approximately three? Without a calculator I realise it is not uncommon during a week to not only drink my recommended alcohol intake but my housemates, the neighbours and Cousin Angela’s as well.

How and when did I become an alcoholic? A couple of large glasses of wine on return from work; do that for three nights totalling fifteen units. The weekend arrives and a few friends come over for a double vodka and Mojito extravaganza, at three units each drink. Let’s not do the maths I’ll get depressed and want a glass of wine! The good news is a large glass of Sherry is only one unit! I do not think I am drowning my sorrows or cracking under the pressure of work, excessive drinking just crept up on me.

After discovering these frightening facts I made a conscious effort to not drink and I was enjoying sobriety. I felt better, my head less foggy and my restructuring plan was working. There is a theory, I believe initiated by Freud, that the mind is in a state of war between two opposing emotions; the self harmony against the self destruction. So in true Freudian fashion the week was going too well and I needed to self-destruct, using Facebook as my weapon of choice.

When I decided to do a search for my ex girlfriend I had no idea how I would react. I was genuinely shocked to see her photo and within seconds I saw visions of myself sitting under a table with white-washed windows as a bomb exploded in my head. Following the hyperventilating and an overwhelming urge to throw up, there was only on thing left to do, cry.

What happened? Why was I so shocked and why did my mind implode? When my relationship ended we have had no contact. The person I once loved is no longer about but she selfishly still has a life without me! She will of course have new relationships, nights out and an internet social network. I just do not want to know about it because all the hurt, guilt and pain surfaces and suffocates.

We have had government health warnings for nuclear attacks, farmyard accidents and the consequences of binge drinking, but none for Facebook and the dangers of internet stalking. How do we prepare for that first punch in the stomach from the ex? The following day my self destruction disguised itself as curiosity and I looked again. There were no surprises when I had the same reaction. How did I deal with the surge of negative emotions, I had a drink!

So I have banned myself from Facebook, blocked her from finding me and am staying away from alcohol. Alternatively I could paint the windows white, become a recluse and live my life internet stalking. At least I can binge drink on sherry two or three times a week and stay within the limit!


sarah said...

I have been debating with myself for some weeks now whether to disable myself on Facebook. Originally thought it a great idea. Suddenly found I have 54 friends!!! Some of which I have not seen or spoken to for over 10 years...surely they cannot be my friend if they don't know I have children, that I love Mojitos, that I have put on 3 stone in the last 2 years and am seriously concerned about my weight, that I was on the verge of a breakdown whilst living with a tenant from hell..and so on. The last straw was logging on recently to discover that one of MY Friends had posted MY holiday photos on there for all to see. I have hidden those away in the dark corners of my drawers..I don't want people seeing those. My own mother does not know about this holiday! Its a potential health hazard and should come with serious warning signs!!!!

Female therapy said...

Hi Sarah,
Why do we do it to ourselves? You would think it is compulsory to be on FaceBook. Last week I had a request from a school mate, I say mate, I have no idea who on earth she is. Sat dredging through my memory, to no avail, so I declined her request. That’s one problem with the internet; once you put yourself out there, there is not a lot you can do to keep private. Especially if you write blogs :) But your holiday photo’s,.. I would get them removed and make sure your drawer stays permanently locked :) x

Anonymous said...

Oh My God! I remember those Government adverts! They were so useful, I'm still scraping the white paint off my windows now and my dining room table is still knocked over but that's because I knocked into it last night after I downed my weekly alcohol units in a few hours...

Stay away from Facebook, it's like opening Pandora's Box. You're right, we leave people in our past for a reason. I comitted Facebook suicide recently and felt a whole weight lifting off my shoulders. Plus all that time spent internet stalking could be used so much more drinking! Can't say I'm with you on the Sherry front though. Port is so much better. Try mixing it with a blue WKD - Heaven! Oh my God, I've just realised I'm a Chav!

Love your blog, keep it coming.


Female therapy said...

Port and blue WKD, oh my god! Who thought to mix those 2 drinks, but then again who first mixed white cider and green castaway to make a ‘Blastaway’. Oh yeah student unions!

In the papers yesterday it said London was the largest network using Facebook with nearly 2 million people beating New York who had 600,000. To live in London and not be socially outcast I think it is compulsory to join! As a rebellion and true to 80’s student demonstrations; let’s grab a placard, drink some ‘Blastaway’ and march through the streets of London protesting against Facebook and reclaim myspace as the chosen internet social group!

Kelly Brook said...

I've built my placard. What should I write on it? If you bring the white cider, I'll dig out some Castaway. Can you still get it anywhere?

Loving your work, FT.

Female therapy said...

Hi Kelly,
Ideas for placards 'pick up the phone' .... 'meet me in the pub'.... 'blastaway facebook' .... and now my mind goes blank, too much white cider drinking :) And no I do not think you can buy Castaway, which is probably a good thing x

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