I Swear I’m Not An Alcoholic or Anything

I got to work yesterday and opened up my bag to discover an empty beer can. Well shit, that isn’t supposed to be there. I got my day planner out and closed my bag, shoving it under the desk, thankful no one had noticed. Because starting off a sentence with, “I swear I’m not an alcoholic or anything” is never fun. Starting the day off that way wouldn’t have been any fun either come to think of it. And I’m not an alcoholic or anything, I swear. Let me explain.

You see, at the end of the day I sometimes have a beer during my train ride home. It is, in fact, one of the few benefits of the train. My social anxiety might be cranked up a few notches because I am crammed onto a crowded train with a hundred other people, but at least I can laugh at those people sitting comfortably in their own cars because I have a beer. Anyway, the train doesn’t have recycling, so naturally I put the empty can in my bag to recycle when I get home. The problem came when I forgot the crucial step of removing the can and placing it in recycling.

It probably wouldn’t have been a huge deal if someone had seen it. After all, it would have been an easy enough explanation. “Oh, I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just trying to save the Earth.” Frankly I’d rather be known as an alcoholic than someone who doesn’t recycle anyway.

Honestly, the most normal part about the whole thing for me was having something to hide, something I feel I’d be embarrassed about, because I’ve been doing that with my mental health issues for years. Yet just as I shouldn’t be too embarrassed to explain that I forgot to take out the recycling, I shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit my struggles with mental health. Because it isn’t like it was my choice to have this condition. It is a part of who I am and anyone who wants to truly know me should know that.

And so, this whole experience has reinforced the need for me to be open about my mental health struggles. And maybe to be better about remembering to take out the recycling. And also that I should have another beer on the way home because hiding empty beer cans from your boss is stressful and fucking exhausting, almost as exhausting as hiding mental health issues in fact. Which is why you should do neither.

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