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(Editor’s note: Excuse this man’s oddball vernacular; I assume he’s British.)
It was the kind of evening that makes you want to drink yourself comatose with a bottle of whatever’s around: mild weather, not a cloud in the sky. It was my second day at university, and since I had taken a year off to drink my way across Latin America, I had skipped Res and moved in with some second-year friends.
My high-school buddy — let’s call him Jeff — had just moved in that day, and we were planning on getting right fucked up from the get-go. To the dismay of my liver, I proceeded to polish off a fifth of Canadian Club and a bunch of beers, along with whatever else I could get my alcoholic hands on. After kindly inviting my friends to go fuck themselves amidst suggestions that I slow it down, I recalled that I’d only eaten one meal that day. And, as I’m a 6’0″, 165-pound kid, I knew I was in for a real treat of a night.
Of course by the time we get to the bar I’m so blasted I need subtitles and could use a fucking defibrillator, so the bouncer turns me away. No shit, kid. Then I black right out. I wake up somewhere I can’t remember and eventually find myself back at my apartment.
I’ve drunk enough Rockstar Vodka to know what a brutal hangover feels like, but that next day was off the charts. I felt like my brain cells had been beaten out of my head by a small but very hard whiskey cinderblock. I was also terrified of my shower for some reason.
Now, most people would think about taking a night or two off if they blacked out after consuming enough liquor to incapacitate a herd of alcoholic John Cenas, but not me. I had been training for the rigorous deathmatch that is drinking in university by attempting to drink alcoholic Argentines under the table for months straight, so I proceeded to get shittered for the next few nights.
Then I have a panic attack a few days later.
I go home to see my doctor, and she thinks its anxiety. Given that I tend not to give a fuck about anything, I had my doubts. But I took the pills anyway.
For the next few months, I continued to drink like a parched Kenyan because I’m a fucking degenerate, but every hangover was just as bad as the first. In between nights when I’d get slammed, I’d still feel anxious pretty much all the time, couldn’t focus on absolutely anything, and slept like shit having nightmares of prohibition. And I was still scared of my fucking shower. Luckily, I managed to keep it together for the rest of the school year and got average grades despite essentially being an incoherent fuckstick.
Then, eight months later (about a week ago), my new teddy bear of a shrink tells me I’ve been exhibiting all the telltale signs of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since that night. Fuck me, right?
For those of you not familiar with PTSD, here’s a little crash course: if you’ve ever been trailing your friend on the last lap of Peach Beach during a heated game of Beerio Kart with half a tallboy left, you know the human body can withstand a ridiculous amount of stress. But if your body’s stress response doesn’t release after you lose by 3 seconds and proceed to smash your controller on the ground and call your friend a cunt while tackling him, you’re in for a real treat: PTSD. It’s what happens when that stress and danger response don’t fully turn off.
So I basically got so fucking wasted that my body thought I was in mortal danger, and every time I got plastered after that night I was flooding my body with that fear of almost dying. When you have PTSD, your fear manifests itself in weird shit that reminds you of the event: in my case, my goddamn shower, which was where I realized the morning after that night that I had fucked myself up big time.
Given that the treatment for veterans experiencing PTSD has been working for me, that’s definitely the condition I have. Jesus fucking Christ..