Blacking out when you drink alcohol is one of the most utterly terrifying things you can ever experience – in hindsight. The sickening shuttle of ‘what ifs’ is overwhelming.
Research suggests that consuming large quantities of alcohol, particularly if drunk quickly, can produce a blackout for a period of time. The effects are similar to amnesia, in that you can’t recall events, and that can be for a block of several hours.
An en bloc blackout is when you can’t recall any memories from that period of time, even if a friend is trying to fill in the gaps for you. Terrifyingly, you can be talking to a person having an en bloc blackout and not know it as they carry on conversations, keep moving around and appear normal. It’s believed that negative psychological effects of an alcohol-related blackout are often worse if you suffer from an anxiety disorder.
The scary thing about drinking alcohol is that you have no frames of reference aside from your own and if you’ve always experienced memory loss even if you haven’t consumed much, like me, you can be fooled into thinking that it’s normal. I know now that it’s not normal.
If you blackout, you’re not in a position to protect yourself. You’re easy prey, and believe me, there are plenty of people who don’t have good intentions. There are people whose sex drive will overtake their moral compass - at your expense.
Blackouts were part of my drinking pattern and were at the very core of my alcohol-fuelled, shattered self-belief. I suffered memory loss as soon as I started drinking at 17 and it got worse. Plenty of “drinking buddies” found it funny and I didn’t know any different. Awful things happened to me and I woke up believing that I had brought them on myself. It’s a destructive spiral that pushes your self-confidence to rock bottom. I didn’t hate myself, I felt sorry for what I had become - broken.