Being medicated is the best and the absolute worst.
I take a cocktail of anti-anxiety and anti-depressive drugs on a daily basis to help me deal with the symptoms that come with my PTSD. Most of the time, I'm grateful for them: They've helped to numb me, just enough so that I can use the techniques I've learned in therapy to help ground myself during a flashback or panic attack. Now that I'm medicated – I refused treatment for years – I'm able to maintain a healthy relationship.
The rage and detachment I've experienced these past 20 years have been tamped down far enough that I can empathize, fully, with my wife, friends and colleagues. It's hard work, sometimes! But I feel healthier than I have in years. A lot of the time, I'm even able to sleep through the night. The paranoia I deal with and the thoughts that refuse to stop tumbling around in my head give way to slumber, most evenings. It's still a frequent thing for me to wake up, sweat-drenched and alert in the dead of night, but it feels manageable. Before, it was just exhausting and sad.
But then, on occasion, a doctor decides that maybe I should be on something new; something different. This happened two days ago. I'm not digging it.
I was warned: when starting on these new pills (no, I'm not going to tell you what they are) I'd experience more anxiety for the next few weeks as the old drugs leave my system and my new pharmaceutical hotness takes hold. He wasn't kidding. The first morning I took the new pills, I felt great. I had tons of energy. Shit was getting done.
For about three hours.
My enthusiasm for everything I turned my hand to quickly grew dark. I'm currently living in the woods near the Canadian Rockies. It's an isolated location. The sway of the trees felt like a veiled threat to me yesterday. No birds have sang here in weeks. But this week, their silent bullshit feels ominous. I laid in bed last night, sleepless, thinking on topics that I have no control over, pondering backup plans for when my life, inevitably, implodes. Today, sitting down to write, I've told myself, repeatedly, that this is just a phase. Things will get better with the dope I'm currently on. I'll level out. I'll be sound again.
Such thoughts breed their own problems: will I always be at the mercy of chemicals and memories that I'd sooner not have? Is the control I've felt in my life these past few years nothing more than an illusion? The dogs in my head are kept on a short leash when my meds work. Nothing these past few days has kept them from roaming free. It's been hard to write today. Despite the energy that I have, it was hard to get out of bed.
For those of you self-medicating or prescribed uppers, downers, and everything else in between, do you look at your meds as a blessing or a curse? What makes you keep taking them every day? As for you folks who don't partake – how do you see your friends or family members who do?
Let's talk it out.
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