“Why did you stop drinking?!”
I keep getting this question lately, and it’s both funny and sweet. Funny, since some people actually think I’m a drunk, which is so very far from the truth. Sweet, because it shows that many of you care about the change or lack of content from my end. The point is, readers are asking me why I stopped blogging and why my content has changed lately.
My response to most of them was “thank you”s and lame excuses. But then I realized I was acting out of nature. I love to be helpful. I’m humane. I’m ridiculously opinionated. And I’m very, very honest. So instead of brushing this issue off, I decided to answer it for anyone who cares, mainly because I know how many people went through, or are currently going through, similar issues.
So consider this a literal “another glass of Red”; different content from the very same Red. If you’re not into this, feel free to skip it. But I really hope that I help you in some way if you do choose to read my story. Reach out, ask questions, and share your thoughts. I’d like to help out if I can.
So why did I stop blogging about wine?
I tend to clam up about my problems and shut off from society whenever I’m not OK – that’s me in real life. I think no one needs to know my private matters and everyone has enough on their plates. As a result, I stopped blogging and sharing social content, wine-related or not. Not because I got bored of wine or because of feeling the need to ride the popular “lifestyle blogger” wagon.
A bit of background first…
Many of you are surprised to hear this, but I don’t work in the wine industry. I’m a Civil Engineer. And much as I loved studying it, I hated the work opportunities in the region, pretty much limited to concrete construction.
So despite my whole family’s opposition, despite studying for 5 years and paying for that degree myself, I refused to enter this workforce. I had other dreams, also not so female dominant, still in STEM, and difficult to pursue with no “wasta”, my unrelated degree, my non-existent confidence, and – very honestly – my extremely limited finances.
I wanted to work in technology. Fast forward 3 years, 3 jobs, ridiculous amounts of stress and negativity, more than a few courses and certificates, and one massive student loan later. I found a job that took me closer to the path I wanted. I just had to “settle in” for a while, gather consistent and cohesive experience, and save up money.
But then my new career path was about to get shattered…
In January, things started going south at the company. You’ve obviously realized how much of a career-driven workaholic I am by now. So understand that “feeling stressed” doesn’t begin to describe the fear and threat I felt during this phase. “I can’t lose this job”. In my own mind, this made the last 3 years of torture pointless. Not to mention that I literally can’t afford to be without work. And despite what everyone kept telling me, I thought I had “no qualifications for another job”… other than possibly going back to waiting tables. Maybe you’re starting to understand my mental disposition at the time?
My physical health deteriorated…
I wasn’t feeling OK. My insomnia compounded exponentially. I was experiencing episodes of breathlessness, chest pain, and numbness, during all hours of the day. I would even wake up choking at night for lack of breath. But I couldn’t tell anyone, because “I am stronger than this and have to keep my shit together” (you’ve possibly diagnosed me already…) But I was starting to get very worried.
So in June, I went to the doctor and ran some blood tests. Despite being a healthy weight, eating clean, exercising often, and being only 26, I showed scary levels of cholesterol. I knew it was genetic, but the doctor said that high levels of stress can make a genetic predisposition appear earlier. Oblivious to my issues, he advised me to “stop making myself stress.” He also said heart disease wasn’t the reason behind my symptoms.
… obviously, my mental health took a dive.
My heart doctor and my gynecologist, both made the exact same (obvious to everyone but myself) “diagnosis”. I was hyperventilating and experiencing severe panic attacks. I had anxiety. I’d like to mention that, in my opinion at the time, that diagnosis made no sense. I literally could not think of why I would be having “panic attacks.” I was strong (because, you know, this is relevant…) I was fine. I didn’t feel panicky. What I felt was nothing! Numb, really.
Then they fired us all. But what happened next isn’t what you think…
Six months into 2018, in June, the thriving multinational I worked for and loved closed and threw us all under the bus. They paid us nothing. In fact, they still owe us loads. And all my fears became reality.
Up until that day, I was still blogging. I blogged on and off. I had no strategy in place. I just did it as a stress reliever. I took my WSETs as a desperate attempt at moving forward in life despite the impending doom of my professional career.
Except on the very same day that company shut down… I received another offer; a job offer as a technical consultant at an IT consulting firm.
And that’s when I stopped blogging. Because…
I was excited. I was overwhelmed. And I was extremely tight on time. I needed to complete 4 technical certificates in the span of 6 months. I also needed to take over legacy tasks, manage projects, and travel for work every other week. I had goals, tight deadlines, and so much to achieve before the year was out.
Yet though I had so many stressors, I wasn’t “stressed” anymore. I was driven and motivated. Suddenly, 3 months later, my cholesterol dropped from sky high to almost normal levels. My panic attacks subside, though I still forget to breathe and struggle to sleep well. My anxiety eased up, though I still struggle to remember that I’m fine and everything is OK.
And so for lack of time or material, I simply couldn’t blog about wine or any other topic. My trips were generally to Arab cities where wine tourism is non-existent. I received invites to wine events in Lebanon, but I would either be studying or out of the country to attend them. I still posted on Instagram whenever I remembered to, and my content became more personal – or “lifestyle” related – than wine-specific because that’s what my daily life is now.
That, my friends, is why I disappeared on this blog and stopped talking about wine.
But now I’m learning to manage better, and I’ll be blogging about wine again!
I didn’t write this endless post to bore you, or to vent, or to preach mental health awareness. I wrote this because so many of you have experienced something similar before, or might be experiencing it right now! I wrote it to say that there’s always something good coming your way, even when you’re literally blind to it. This and many other things have happened to me in life that strengthened my faith and made me believe in sweet serendipity.
I hope you took the time to read this post. I hope you feel less alone now. I hope you understand what I went through and what others are going through right this second. And if you haven’t, I hope you’ll enjoy the future wine posts anyway, because I will be blogging again!
Feel free to contact me with your questions – about wine or otherwise – and make sure to follow me on Instagram for more about Red.
See you soon with another glass of red!!!