I’ve always said I wouldn’t take any sort of medicine to regulate emotions or brain chemicals. I’m of the opinion that this is my brain and I am the boss of it. I should just take control and make it do what I want. And most of the time this works. If I am feeling depressed I force myself, sometimes in tears, to do tasks. If I am feeling anxiety I try to hide it. If I am frightened I tell myself to deal with it.
However, over the last few years the anxiety has been getting worse and worse. I don’t have a job now, because I just can’t deal with being away from my home every day. I’m afraid to finish my novel. I’m afraid to send in the several short stories I have ready for submission, because I can’t deal with the rejection. I went from having a large social network to feeling alienated from almost everyone. I tried to join a new social group recently; people I should have fit in with perfectly, mostly geeks, gamers, hippies and music people, but had to give up after a few months when I realized it just wasn’t working.
It is so bad that my garden is suffering because I sometimes have too much anxiety to even go into the yard.
Several months ago a friend gave me a few Xanax and for the first time in years the anxiety stopped, if only for a few hours. It was pretty amazing. I used them from time to tim, for social events to make it easier, but then I ran out. At this point I decided to go to a psychiatrist, mostly just to get more Xanax.
I’m not sure why Xanax did not seem to break my rule. I guess there are a lot of reasons. First of all it was given to me by a friend, not forced on me by a doctor so it felt different, like how some people have a beer after work to unwind. Almost recreational, like my brain was taking a nice relaxing bubble bath. Also it was not every day, not even every week. It was only when I needed it so I didn’t feel chained to it. It made me feel better, but nothing bad happened if I didn’t have it.
Yesterday was my first appointment with the psychiatrist. We talked about the anxiety and what might be causing it, touching on childhood head injuries, abuse, and family history. She feels that I could get addicted to Xanax, and to be honest I agree. Almost everyone in my family has a chemical dependency problem; I’m amazed I have gotten this far without developing one. The doctor wants me to start taking Zoloft, she says it should help decrease my over all anxiety making everything easier. She also gave me some Xanax to take only for social situations.
Here is a neat catch 22. I told her the idea of taking the Zoloft freaked me out and she said of course it does – anyone with my type of anxiety would be freaked out by taking a new medication. This is something I have thought about before, how much of what I do is caused by my anxiety or other issues. How about my feelings about my issues? I have had to be rather strong and develop all sorts of tricks and skills to deal with being the person I am, useful skills that I am glad I have. But this is too much to get into now, maybe a later blog post about it.
Long story short, I took the first dose last night of Zoloft last night. I am feeling very conflicted and confused about this decision. By taking it does that mean I have given up control of myself? Have I decided that I am not good enough the way I am? Am I going to change, and in what way? Is this going to impact my writing and other creative pursuits negatively?
I know this medication takes weeks before it does anything, but for the sake of good record keeping I am going to try to keep track of my mood. Today my anxiety is higher than normal. I have low self-confidence but I seem to be highly motivated, having already completed several tasks. I am also a little more emotional in general. I kind of want to get back in bed and cry for a bit.