To Medicate or Not to Medicate, That is the Question

thinking about taking a xanaxToday I’m thinking about taking a Xanax. It don’t do it often and I’m very glad for that. I used to take extra anxiety medication almost every day- on top of my usual medication, in order to be able to go to work or be out and about. You know all those things that people with anxiety and panic attacks struggle so much with.

The last time I was at work it was horrendous. I had hours and hours of racing thoughts and that freaky free floating anxiety. I couldn’t reign in my thoughts and I kept feeling like I was going to fall over. The feelings subsided after about 4 hours. I felt like a quivering ball of jello.

And I was fully prepared to kick anxiety in the pants with my arsenal of anxiety self help tools:

  • Praying and asking for help today

Even knowing all this and having worked through this so many times in the past, I still hear a little voice telling me:

You know Jill, you can make this all go away with a pill.

I have had 3 full days off since that last killer day at work. It feels like it was 3 years ago. It would be easier to walk in today if I had been working every day. Having days off makes it harder for me to go back in, if that makes any sense.

I have to be gentle with myself. I have to have a little compassion for myself on days like this when I just don’t know if I have the energy to put up my dukes with stupid anxiety.

Some days I am tired. Some days I really want it to be easy.

I do not abuse my Xanax. Far from it in fact. It is an expired prescription from my doctor 3 years ago and there is still about a third of the bottle left. It probably doesn’t even work anymore. Still, since weaning off Klonopin almost 2 years ago, I’m always leery of taking anti anxiety medication (thinking I will go over the edge and become addicted again).

Psychologically speaking, it works like a charm. That’s the weird thing for me about taking something “extra” for anxiety. Because I know that Xanax works for me, I know if I take it I will have relief of my social anxiety symptoms. In fact, I know that as soon as I take a pill I start to immediately calm down.

That immediate calming down is not the medicine. It couldn’t be- especially if I just swallowed the pill.

But the mere fact that I feel my body release the anxiety and panic as soon as I choose to take a pill shows me that my body can calm down.

It is all calmed down and happy while it waits for the pill to dissolve.

Isn’t that proof that I have what it takes? Isn’t that my own body or mind telling me it believes in something? It believes in the power of the stupid pills- showing me unequivocally that my body has what it takes to get better.

It just feels like today it needs a pill…

I decided I don’t have to make a decision about this right now. I’m not going to stress over it. I am going to brew myself a nice cup of my miracle holy basil tea and keep busy instead of brooding about whether or not I will be able to walk upright at work and not fall to pieces with panic attacks and anxiety.

Is today a setback? Maybe so but I don’t want to judge myself too harshly. The road to recovery is like a dance- two baby steps forward, one step back, one step forward, one teeny step forward, and so on….

If the best I can do today is to take a pill, it’s ok. At least I’m not calling in sick. Lord knows that was what I used to do in the past. I don’t have to do that today, thank God. And boy was it hard to go back to work after calling out because of anxiety…

I know one thing. No matter what, I will be fine today – whether I do it all on my own or whether I need to take some of the stress out of the situation and take one measly expired Xanax. The sun will come out tomorrow.

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

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8 Responses to To Medicate or Not to Medicate, That is the Question

  1. Zoe says:

    You are probably at work by now so I’m curious how you handled that stress today. Whether you took a xanax or not, you are still my hero!

  2. maz says:

    You did it any way you had to and that’s a stead in my book

    Be kind to youself

    Maz xxx

  3. maz says:

    Forgot to say that’s the way I work and I am exactly the same if that makes you feel better

    Maz x

    • JillG says:

      Hi Maz,

      It really does help to hear that. Not that I’d ever wish anxiety on you or anyone, but that you can relate. Feels like we are all somehow connected. Anxiety can be very isolating, doing battle with your mind all the time..

      Thank you xx

  4. Ted says:

    Just reading this post, and it reminds me a lot of myself right now… I started having severe anxiety issues about 1 1/2 years ago, and started taking a high dose of klonipin (3 mg/day) to get stabilized while starting the first of what have been many antidepressants. I no longer take klonipin daily, but really struggle with sleep and anxious days still that no antidepressant has seemed to help with; when those days are especially bad, I’ll take some klonipin, but only after a lot of struggle and internal judgement. The other posters are right: we need to be kind to ourselves, be grateful that there are medications available to help us when we most need it, and recognize the progress we’ve made. I know that I have gone from being functional but heavily tranquilized to being fully present in my life even when its a struggle.

    • JillG says:

      Bravo Ted- it sounds like you are doing really good. Yes, it’s that internal judgment that creates so much unnecessary suffering for us. I have to remind myself that I’m doing the best that I can and yes grateful that there are medications to help when needed. Thanks for the reminder!

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