Wine With A Side Of Crippling Anxiety: A Deep Dive Into The Dark Side Of Vino Blanco

What is it about white wine that makes us EXTRA un-hinged the following day?

Last Friday I woke up with severe heart palpitations. Severe. I felt sweaty too, sort of like I was tossing and turning my way through a harrowing fever dream. I haphazardly tossed the blanket over my ever-spinning head and pressed my (very un-manicured) hand up against my ever-vibrating chest.

It’s just an anxiety attack. Look at the state of the world! Of course, you’re waking up with crippling anxiety! If you weren’t you’d be a bonafide sociopath. Chill out, bitch. 

I thought this to myself as I trembled into the bathroom and splashed ice-cold onto my puffy face. Why is my face so puffy? Why do I look like I just pounded sixteen jugs of salt-laden peanuts or just emerged from a cross-continental flight? 

That’s when it hit me: The cold sweats. The crippling anxiety. The feeling of impending doom. Yes, my sweeping bouts of panic were in part due to everything happening in this tragic, unjust world. But this sticky, grippy, heart-pounding sensation? It was more than emotional distress. It was chemical. And I always get this physical, visceral, nauseous, soul-crushing anxiety the morning after slugging back my favorite drink of all drinks, the liquid gold elixir, the unofficial prescription medication of the under-sexed Upper East Side moms of Manhattan, the cool yellow velvet-adorned babe who always makes you feel welcome at the bar: White. Wine.

It’s not that white wine makes me drunk. It’s not that I don’t know when to pour her pretty contents down the drain. It’s her aftermath. I could have a mere two civilized glasses of white wine and still wake up quivering with acute anxiety.

And for so many years I’ve chosen to ignore the glaring fact that white wine makes me particularly mentally ill the next day, more so than other alcoholic beverages. I’ve chosen to skip down the glittery path of DENIAL because I love white wine. White wine tastes like a warm hug. White wine feels like a hazy, lazy Sunday afternoon made up of lounging by the pool without a worry in the world. White wine doesn’t taste vile or aggressive or “in your face,” like *other* drinks (I’m not going to name names because I’m a class act.) If white wine was a woman, her flirting style would be subdued, non-desperate; the quietly sexy bombshell flickering like a candle in the corner.

In short: She would be totally my type.


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Current Mood.

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But the next morning? The next morning (for my body chemistry, that is) she’s a snarky, screechy, type-A bitch who takes your nervous energy, tosses it into a baby rattle, and shakes it right into your eardrum. And you know what? I’ve gotten sick of ignoring her vicious wrath. I decided it was high time to do what is wildly, wildly unnatural to me: Confront reality.

For those of you who don’t spend your free time deep-diving into the nuances of mental illness, allow me to inform you that alcohol *is* a very real depressant. See, when you knock back the booze, your serotonin levels are temporarily increased, yet depleted the next day. This is why hangovers can make a girl like yours truly — a girl who already suffers from clinical depression and anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder — weepy as well as deeply dehydrated and nauseous.

But what is it about white wine that makes me extra un-hinged the following day?

According to a UK-based alcohol abuse prevention charity called “Drinkware,” white wine can be extra nasty the next day for a few reasons. One is that we tend to “overserve” ourselves the liquid gold, especially when at home. I can personally attest that my two glasses of quarantine wine are definitely (much) larger than a restaurant’s two glasses.

But it’s deeper than that, honey (isn’t it always?).

White wine, in particular, is loaded with sulfites (sulfites are sulfur compounds that occur naturally in grapes but are added to wine in the fermentation process). And guess what? A lot of people have a sulfite sensitivity or even allergy. And if your body doesn’t take kindly to sulfites, you can expect to have horrible side-effects: digestion problems, depression, sadness, and anxiety! It does make perfect sense, as there is so much new research that suggests that food allergies dramatically affect your mental health.

Another reason I’m teeming with relentless panic after a night of wine? Sugar. S-U-G-A-R. Sugar is known to give you a wild, unabashed feeling of being high, followed by a dark, dramatic crash that sends you spiraling into the dark depths of hell. And white wine, that sweet, innocent little bitch? She usually has more sugar than her dangerous daddy red wine. Who the f*ck knew that? I didn’t. Though it’s usually the prettiest things that cause the most harm, amirite?

So what’s a shameless white wine slut to do? After much contemplation, I’ve come up with three options.

The first option is to start drinking sulfate-free wine. What the fitness influencers call “biodynamic” wine or “natural” wine. My friend Arielle did introduce me to Dry Farms Winery, which is a subscription service that provides you with a monthly box of sugar-free, additive-free wines. And I did dip into the organic rosè tucked beneath her arm a few months ago and I must say, I had zero hangover the next morning. And there are a ton of “natural” wine companies popping up all the internet every day, babe. It’s a movement.

The second option is to stick to tequila. My body loves tequila. We never get too sad or emo or weepy on tequila. I don’t feel pregnant with a wine baby the day after tequila either (anyone else find themselves inflamed post-wine-binge?). I don’t particularly love the taste, but you can’t have it all, can you?

The third option would be to stop filling the empty voids with booze, embark on the beautiful, fulfilling journey of learning to truly love myself, and stop relying on self-medicating vices like white wine. (Also putting down the bottle really helps the abs POP.)

But I think I’ll wait to do that until after the quarantine is over. I plan on doing a lot of things after the quarantine is over.


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