I don’t want to be stuck in a cloud. I don’t want to go through the motions of day to day life without actually being in the present moment. I don’t want to need pills to be able to be myself. Getting help feels like a death sentence because you are throwing yourself into the machine we all know as Big Pharma. These are several notions that one may feel when it comes to choosing to get help for anxiety. Yes, there are medicines out there that will turn you into the walking dead but you DO NOT have to submit yourself to something that will kill who you are to be happy.
If you have read my first post or my introduction page, you know that I used to self medicate through alcohol. Keeping a buzz on my days off meant that I could live to fight another day. I had always convinced myself that this was MY battle and I was going to face it in MY own way. In my mind, the doctors only wanted my insurance money and I was not about to be just another statistic you hear about on the news. Several months later, I write this with a clear mind and with hopes that I can help someone who is struggling.
As you may have read, I found myself on the floor of my apartment with a sore throat and swollen eyes from screaming and crying. I begged for my life to end over the thought of finishing math homework. Something so little caused me to go into a rage that I can only imagine one would go into over a life threatening situation. Alcohol wasn’t enough to stop the panic attack from happening. My mind became flooded with questions. What the hell was that? What do I do now? Is this going to happen again? What am I going to tell my wife? Am I going to tell my wife? Should I go to a doctor?
When my wife came home from work that night, I explained to her what happened and tried not to make myself sound like a psycho. We both agreed that this was something that needed to be addressed by a professional so I made an appointment to see my primary care physician. I was armed to defend myself from Big Pharma. Despite my screaming plea, I was not ready to die or be treated like a Daryl Dixon trophy. On the big day, I hung my head and filled out the questionnaires they give asking the severity of your anxiety and depression. The doctor came in and I told her about the attack. I told her of my day to day stress and about my binge drinking. Honestly, if I would have swallowed my pride long ago, I would be a much happier person for it.
She prescribed 10 mgs of Lexapro. It takes several weeks for your brain to use the medicine the way that it is intended but it uses serotonin that you make naturally and puts it to good use. I began to feel better than I ever had on the bottle. I’m not going to lie, initially it was a slight placebo effect because my anxiety was validated but it did leave a lasting effect. I finally understood how it felt to be a normal person without a vice.
As a disclaimer, getting on medicine like this is NOT a cure all. It’s not a happy pill that suddenly makes the world a “Steamboat Willie” cartoon. Because it uses your natural chemicals, it may take awhile to get the proper dosage for you. For example, I am currently on 20 mgs of Lexapro and also 7.5 mgs of Buspirone because I had several instances where I plateaued and needed increases on the dose to help from falling into old habits where I felt I had to find a vice. Yes, I have had panic attacks while on the medicine. Yes, I have missed the bottle as well, but I can leave it behind now without thinking twice. I can also face waking up in the morning and actually making the day great without force. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, I’m not telling you to make an appointment right now to get help but I am saying that there are options out there that won’t force you into an emotional grave. Good luck out there and make it a great day!