Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick Fix

If anxiety was a fruit I would squeeze it dry. I have had anxiety for as long as I can recall. I can't exactly remember when it began but it wasn't something that would plague me all day every day. Usually there was an instigation. For example, my brother building a ramp and telling me to ride my bike as fast as I could over it. Or, that same brother telling me to swing from a vine which ultimately ended in me breaking my arm.  Of course those were anxiety producing events.  In college I would freak out over exams, or laundry or whatever.  As an adult most of my anxiety is caused by worrying about things that haven't happened, but could. My anxiety was getting so vivid that I wasn't sleeping well.  I took it upon myself to contact a psychiatrist.  I chose him by his 5 star rating on line. Also, he had his M.D. not Ph.D. Which = drugs.  I sat in the office. The same brother that caused my childhood anxiety had sent me a text telling me to read a David Sedaris book. I had brought that along to read while waiting. I didn't know anything about David Sedaris other than my friend Greg liked him too.  I had no idea he was so freaking funny.  I'm sitting with other patients, laughing hysterically and trying not to, then getting church giggles all while waiting to see a psychiatrist.  I'm sure the others thought I had a screw loose, so I was in good company. I was still laughing as he escorted me back to his office.  Bla bla bla, worry, bla bla bla. He said I  tend to make everything into catastrophes. bla bla bla. Here is an rx.  He came to this conclusion after 10 min. What if I was full of crap? What if I was an addict?  I asked him if this was temporary and he told me it was something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. So I left. Prescription in hand with a life sentence as a recovering anxiety ridden catastrophizing freak. Poor me.  I took the meds for about a week and decided the side effects were causing me more anxiety than anything.  Against the advice from family, friends, the average joe and the dog,  I stopped taking it.   It seems to me that if anyone in todays society is feeling a twinge of discomfort, there is a pill for that.  Maybe the nucleus of the Earth is feeling sad too and is pulling all the serotonin out of us to make us feel blue.  Or maybe we are just used to getting a quick fix. Headache?  Tylonal. Can't sleep? Ambian.  Can't get it up? Viagra. Sad? Prozac.  Can't concentrate? Adderal. Too Hot? Air conditioning.   Don't like your body? You can get a quick fix for that too.
* I will never understand the justification that a women uses to get implants. " I did it for me" Really?  Having foreign objects in your body in a particular area makes you smarter, sexier, able to have the confidence to get that job promotion? Doubtful. Well, I guess it depends on the job. Trust me. I know. I had perfectly awesome boobs from the early age of 14 - 25. After each child they shrunk, and I'm completely ok with that. Plus, most of the best things in my life occured after 25. 
I too have fallen into that mindset. I got to thinking, if I had taken one of my sons into a doctor and they suggested putting them on a drug with in 10 minutes of meeting them,  I would want to know every little detail about it and if it was possible how to prevent it.  But when it comes to myself, I opt for a quick fix.  I find it interesting that we are continually taking meds to cope. Cope with life. Is our life really that bad? Think of when the settlers came to this country. It took them months if not years to travel from one side of the country to the other.  People died. They had to find and make their own food. It was hot. It was cold. They were in a covered wagon. I'm sure it smelled.  I have a sneaking suspicion that some of them may have even felt.....depressed!  And with good reason. They didn't know where they were going, what they would find or if they would even get there. We don't have nearly the amount of stress as they did, yet we need drugs just to get through a day. Can you imagine if one of those women told her husband, "I don't think my boobs are big enough and if they were, I would be much happier, I'm going to sell the wagon and get an augmentation."  She would have been left behind at the next wagonstop.  Trust me. I know about chemical imbalance and I truly believe that if you need these drugs, by all means,  take them. But for the people that diagnose themselves on line, I challenge them to try to figure out what is at the root of their problem before they turn to medications. Chances are that same root will still be there just masked by a dose of the pharmaceutical de jour.  Maybe you just need them for a little while. Agreed.  I have been there and I credit medication in getting me through a really rough time. But just like I took off training wheels when my son turned 5, I learned to deal, slowly but just like my son I feel a sense of control when I am left to balance myself.
When I was in LA I took an acting class with a fantastic method actor named Eric Morris. He did an exercise called Vesuvius. You stood on stage, in front of 20 or 25 people and just started spewing your thoughts to get an authentic feeling. Sometimes it needed a little prompting to get an authentic reaction. Like when he said, "how does it make you feel that the guy you are dating (who was sitting in the audience) is married? WHAT?  That really happened. I had no idea, but it certainly got an authentic reaction. His point was, to allow those feelings to come and remember what they felt like in order to recreate them through a script.  Allowing those feelings to surface and explode ( hence the name) was not only freeing, it was therapeutic.
I have found ways to deal with my anxiety. I work out, I try not to drink (a lot) and I talk, mostly to Don.  Most of the time, once I have said my worry out loud like, " what if Oscar silently gets out of his crib while we are sleeping and makes his way out of the house and we wake up and he isn't there"
it isn't as much of a worry.  I also laugh. I surround myself with people who make me laugh and I watch funny stuff. I hide people on facebook who complain all the time. I emotionally eat.
Maybe I'm in denial. Is there a drug for that?  Maybe in a week or so I will write from a psychiatric ward that my husband, coworkers and doctor have committed me to.  Who knows, but for the time being I'm going to be a renegade and try to get over myself.  Perhaps it is a personality trait that makes up what is known as me. If I take something every time I feel sad, then how can I possibly appreciate when I feel happy?  What will become of us if we because a society that doesn't experience raw uninhibited feelings?

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