I am no doctor, and I have been known to make up certain things about human biology (See: Ebola), but I am a firm believer that slight dehydration causes mental illness in me. I know that real mental illness is not actually caused by dehydration and I'm not advocating that everyone throw out their Prozac and enjoy a glass of water. I am only speaking of my own acute craziness.

I never seem to notice that I'm having a dehydration meltdown as it's happening, I don't even feel thirsty. But later I wonder: Was I hungry? Tired? Stressed? Were people really being mean?

The trend seems to always point to my level of hydration.

Liz Marsh
Liz Marsh

There was the Pikes Peak meltdown of '09. The clouds were rolling in and my friends and I were pretty far from the top. I made the call to keep hiking, even though I was scared we were going to get struck by lightning and die. But I was confused and that led to me sitting on a rock dry-sobbing. I'm generally a take-charge person and that reaction was out of character.

This past weekend our group made our annual trek to Vail's Oktoberfest. We spent the first night in our condo drinking lots of wine. Then at the Oktoberfest celebration, we drank beer all day. By the time we got back to the condo, I was done. So I went to bed while everyone else hung out.

Naturally, I woke up with cottonmouth. So thirsty. Need water.


I listened to the laughter upstairs, and I got sad that I wasn't hanging out with them. They probably didn't even care about me anymore. They probably wished I wasn't even there.

Then I got sadder. I thought about how getting into my bunk bed really hurt my ankle. I thought about how sad it was that I was broken. I thought about how sad it was that I had to have the lonely top bunk in the first place.

I sent bestie a text: "Can you bring me water? And seltzer? And Gatorade? I'll give you one million dollars"

She didn't answer. I got sadder. Fine, I thought, as I sad-sniffled. I'll just go back to sleep, thirsty. That'll show them all. They'll feel so bad!

They didn't.

At 3 a.m. when I finally got myself water, seltzer and Gatorade, I also got my second wind. Why is everyone asleep? Wake up! Let's party!

They didn't.

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