Those “Rougher Waters” I Mentioned…
Anxiety is not fun. Anxiety brought on by medicine or drugs? For me, it was horrific and terrible – far worse than what I had experienced so far.
When I first started coming down with it, it was much like a common cold. It’d creep up every now and then, sometimes at inopportune times, but ultimately was just more of an annoyance that meant I couldn’t go to some places because I felt sick.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to minimize the way that anxiety made me feel initially – it was just so much easier to handle back when it all started. When it got really bad…well, that became the new ruler against all my anxiety was measured and those first several years with it didn’t compare to what came later.
After that incident with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert left me feeling so out of control, I did what any person might do when they feel their body is failing them – I went to my doctor.
Yes, I went to my doctor…..however, I had turned myself into an Anxiety Expert before I walked into his office. So while my doctor gave me his professional medical opinion what did not include a daily SSRI, I had already determined that I wanted to get my body back in shape and under control before even thinking about having kids, so I pushed for one. I mean, I read up everything I could find about anxiety and plus, it was my body, so I clearly should be the authority here. Heck, I even had an idea on which might work best.
And let me tell you something that I learned: Dr. Google MIGHT give you knowledge, but it does NOT give you wisdom.
Knowledge without wisdom is worthless.
I’d love to say that I learned that lesson at that very moment, but sadly it took many more years and I’m still working on living that truth. What I did learn is that pills that mess with your brain are not to be messed with. For me personally, taking the the smallest dosage of Lexapro for two days sent me into a tailspin.
Initially, it was as if the pill shut off all of the pathways in my mind. I’m built a certain way that I’ve learned not many are, which comes with a lot of fun nuances that not everyone might have. One of these fun nuances is always having at least 5-10 thoughts going on my head at once. It’s not as great as it sounds, but we’ll get into that at another time.
For now, just imagine it like being able to see, remember and keep track of all the piles when playing Solitaire. I don’t even have to look because I already know what’s on the table – they’re stored in my head simultaneously.
When I took those pills? I couldn’t see all the piles anymore. I maybe only could see 2 or 3 at the very most. It was disturbing but also, very relaxing to me. This went on from Saturday, when I took the first pill, through Sunday.
Monday Morning Hell
I do not reference the word “hell” lightly here. What I woke up to on Monday at six o’clock in the morning was the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing a place of supreme torment.
I woke up and immediately got sick, multiple times. For someone who has a very strong constitution and has gotten sick maybe ten times in my life (give or take), that’s a big deal. But getting sick wasn’t the worst of it.
My mind was racing with thoughts that were not my own. I was scared that this was going to be the way it always was from that point on – that I’d be living my life out in a straight jacket, in an asylum. I was scared to get in the shower because there was a razor in there. Let that sink in. As someone who has NEVER had a suicidal thought and had a strong Christian upbringing that preached against suicide, I was scared of a razor. That is how out of my own mind I felt.
Suddenly, I no longer trusted myself.
I immediately stopped taking the pills but the effects lasted much longer than I had ever anticipated. I couldn’t resume eating solid food (and I tried) for a week. My mother had to drive down to stay with me for several days as my husband needed to go to work and I did not trust myself and truly was scared to be alone. I was frightened that I wouldn’t be able to eat again….that I’d need to go to the hospital (which I hated)….that I’d always be this broken mess of a person….that I was losing or had lost my mind.
My mind no longer felt like a part of my body, but seemed to have determined that the two were now mortal enemies.
It’s true what they say, that it’s darkest before the dawn. Unfortunately, this incident wasn’t quite twilight but instead just the start of the evening. But this incident helped make me stronger and smarter. While I didn’t realize that at this point, it was still true. And I survived.
I made it through a very, very difficult, medicinally-induced panic attack that lasted for several days. I made it through a time in which I didn’t feel like I was in control of my thoughts or my body. And I survived.
And I was so much stronger than I felt.
And I would need that strength for the time to come.