As I write this, at 5:30am, just over 24 hours since my last post, it feels likes weeks already. The pain that has been lifted from my soul, my heart, my shoulders, my brain….it’s immeasurable. While I was typing yesterday, I felt hopeless & scared beyond anything that I have felt in years. I hate that feeling & was falsely under the impression that I had fought & won my battle with anxiety, panic & fear. Why do we do this? What it is that makes feel such shame for having a mental disorder? I have a dying kidney & I’ve never been ashamed of that. I’m just saying.
I have suffered both of these ailments all my life, but the anxiety is humiliating in my mind. I don’t openly share it with people. I actively hide it, in fact. I have so many stories of having anxiety or panic attack in social or public situations throughout my life that I could fill a book. I have left friends at concerts just because I felt if I didn’t I would die. I have hidden in bathrooms, so the people I was with wouldn’t see me freaking out. I’ve collapsed when my legs would give out on me. I used to go directly to the ER from the bar when I was young, for either problem, but as far as my friends were concerned, it was always about the kidney.
You know what just hit me? It seems as though being a drug addict or alcoholic is even more acceptable in our society today than mental issues are. That’s just bullshit! Oh & while I’m on the subject of drugs & addicts…Wait, let me preface this by saying that I have no animosity towards addicts. I love & have loved many….friends who have died, a lover who died, many family members who are either in recovery or still struggling. That being said, there is a phenomenon brewing these days, which on a very serious level, is justified. Benzodiazapines have become, as a recent doctor describes them, the devil. I can see the point, to an extent. While I am very against the over-use of prescribed drugs & even any use of some, I have found that one medication helps me feel more “normal” & capable of being a productive member of society. I have also tried quite a few anti-depressants to see if they can curb my sometimes crippling fright. I have found one of those that works & I am not necessarily ashamed that I take these meds, but I don’t advertise it. It’s because of the stigma attached to these drugs that keep me in silence, for the most part. Those people who are closest to me know of my struggles. Trust me, I tried for 35 years to curb the anxiety & panic without any drugs. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did try using alcohol for several years when I was young, but that just made me act like an idiot, so I gave that up. I tried breathing, meditating, therapy…nothing made it stop, until I was prescribed, against my wishes, Xanax. I am both sorry I ever took that first one, knowing that I may never feel that calm & normal without medication again; and relieved, that there actually is a way to feel like a functioning human being.
What I really need is to find a way to accept my shortcomings. I deal with all my other ones, why is this one so difficult to just accept? Why is mental health such a taboo? Maybe I should look for a support group or something….