I want to give a shout-out to all my friends out there who need or have ever needed a little something extra to get them through the day.
Sorry, alcoholics, I didn’t actually mean you. I mean people who for whatever reason rely on prescription medication–and let me be clear again, the kind prescribed by your doctor. Adderol poppers and vodka swillers, you might want to look into whether or not you’re self-medicating for a problem that could be taken care of more effectively some other way.
I’ve been having a tough week. It’s no one’s fault, just my own delicious blend of worries, fears, and uncertainties triggered for the second time in two years until it overflows into my nervous system and the physical symptoms of anxiety overwhelm my (still rational) thinking mind. It sucks, but it’s been worse. I haven’t had a full-fledged, painful panic attack, and last year I had about one a day for a couple of weeks. I’m lucky to have behind me the (completely terrible) experience of being utterly incapacitated by the chemistry of fear–I know now that this is temporary, that it’s been worse and it’s sure as hell going to get better. But it still sucks while it’s going on.
It doesn’t help that I’d been proud of going off my medication. Of course I know that there’s nothing wrong with needing help balancing your neurotransmitters. Fully one half of my family has trouble keeping its serotonin levels straight, and with a little pharmacological help, they do fine. But I’ve always been a careful, confident, capable person able to think and plan my way through things. When I had a therapist for my panic attacks, she told me that I was her best client at self-therapizing, which WordPress denies is a word but which I’m keeping, dammit. And my worries aren’t irrational–they’re very rational, very real, very scary things like debt and money management and the law. I would love to be able to just figure out the best course of action to deal with them, write down a list, and get some sleep. Most of the time I can do that. Sometimes, it turns out, I can’t. And you know what? It’s not my fault.
If my body can make the mistake of thinking that cat and dog dander could be dangerous to my health, if it wants to send all its troops into action when I pet a puppy, and I can’t think my way to “curing” that allergy, then I shouldn’t beat myself up about a little predisposition to occasional high levels of stress hormones. When I’m sneezing because I’m over at a friend’s place trying to avoid their Persian, I don’t rag on myself for it–I take a Claritin and propose we go out somewhere else. There’s really no difference between that and taking a little medication to make sure that I’m on top of my game during a period of increased stress that’s going to hit my panic buttons.
So here’s to you, friends who know that sometimes you just can’t work your way out of that funk with some cheerful thinking. Here’s to you, coworkers who know what it’s like to feel like you could take care of everything if you just had a little interior solid ground to stand on. Here’s to you, family members who need help focusing or keeping off depression. I’m here with you, I’ll be here for you, and I appreciate more than I can say that you’re here for me.