Last week I began taking serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor drugs for depression and anxiety disorder. That's an awfully long-winded way of saying that I am on antidepressants... mood-stabilizers... crazy pills.
I haven't told anyone, and I made my husband promise not to tell a soul (so, naturally, I am blabbing about it on the internet...makes perfect sense!)... I have this self-imposed shame and stigma attached to taking medication for my anxiety issues... even referring to it as "my anxiety issues" feels foreign... like something I would not say... should not say.
Part of my brain (the calm, rational part) knows that this should not be a big deal... I tell myself that I'm an asshole for feeling like some sort of freak for needing medication to deal with my "issues"... as this means that I somehow think that other people who need simillar drugs for their own treatment must be freaks, by extension of this line of thinking... and I definately do not think that... Rationally speaking, I know that anxiety and depression are fairly common... pretty normal... and that people should do what they need to do to feel better and be able to function like they need to...
But part of my brain feels like this somehow makes me a "crazy person"... damaged... weak.
I should be stronger than this... I should be able to handle things... I've always been able to handle everything that life threw at me... I roll with the punches... I take care of business... I don't break down... and I certainly do not have anxiety attacks.
Afterall, what have I got to be stressed about? I have a wonderful husband... I have a job... I have a house... pets... friends... love... food in the fridge... fresh air... clean water to drink... I am happy.
I feel like I should not have anything to complain about... that so many people are far worse off than I am... afterall, most of my issues are "first world problems", and I should be thankful for what I have... right?
I have this internal dialogue that runs through my head when I start to feel sorry for myself... it goes something like this:
Crappy, dead-end job... pffft! that's nothing... evil co-worker... let it roll off your back... starting my own business as an escape plan from crappy job... I should be so lucky to have that opportunity... haven't had an actual vacation ever... neither have most working-class people, right? fertility issues? at least I have other options left to explore... issues from a very, um, complicated childhood... not a problem! It's in the past!
And on and on it goes... complaining makes me feel like a whiner... ungrateful.
I have always had that "keep calm and carry on" mentality... and that's my problem. Things don't bother me... I don't get "stressed out".
When the anxiety attacks started, I was convinced it was an asthma attack. The boy ran downstairs to get my ventalin, and I took two puffs... two more... but I couldn't breathe... and the steroids just made my heart race harder... my head was swimming... I was convinced that I was going to die.
I tried to convince the doctors that if it wasn't my lungs, that it must be my heart... I was sent for tests... and an EKG... the doctor tried to teach me some breathing techniques for quieting a panic attack... I was sure it had to be physical... It couldn't be mental... not me... I don't feel "crazy".
So here I am, a week into my new treatment... and I'm feeling a little better... a little calmer. I am supposed to start seeing a counsellor later this month, and aside from the waves of nausea as I get used to the medications, I think I'm feeling pretty good...
I am being forced to do some hard self-examination... exercise some demons... adjust my priorities.
This is a good thing.