I’ve been mulling this post over for a while now. How do I sing the praises of Zoloft without sounding like a nut?
But to be really honest, those little blue pills are rocking my world. Maybe even saving my life.
It started off slow when I started the medication. The anxiety dissipated after a few weeks and I was grateful. I didn’t feel much different, but the stomach-clenching, hypervigilant, jumpy feeling had subsided. This had so completely become my normal, I just assumed it was me– wound up, neurotic, overwhelmed.
I didn’t know there was any other way. Last year though, I remember wondering often: Is this just life? Is this how everyone feels?
I started interviewing my friends – Do you feel overwhelmed all the time? Does it feel like there are too many people in the world? Do crowded grocery stores or trips to Ikea make you run for the hills?
Some would say yes. Others would nod slowly, looking at me suspiciously, like, Are you okay?
I assumed I was flawed.
That it was somehow my fault. That I was too sensitive. That the overwhelm was an issue of not being organized enough, or calm enough. I felt humorless. It was almost impossible to get me to laugh. I longed to be lighthearted.
I need to do more yoga. I need to start meditating. I need to do those breathing exercises everyone seems to talk about.
And those things would help, enough. And I would go on and muscle through. Buck up and deal. Soldier on with a curious kind of resignation —
- Life is just hard.
- This is what having small children looks like.
- I just have to find whatever bits of beauty I can as the days unfold.
- I’ll try to take better care of myself so I don’t yell so much.
I quit sugar. I hiked in the woods almost every day. I took my vitamins and supplements. I went back to yoga. I did therapy. I ate kale. I wrote, made things with my hands, took photographs and saw friends.
And it wasn’t enough.
I’m grateful for the panic attacks.
Without them, I would have continued on like this indefinitely. I wouldn’t have gotten desperate for relief.
They say it takes 6-8 weeks for the medicine to fully take effect. I didn’t notice a big change by this time and was a little disappointed, but grateful the panic and anxiety had calmed down. It was enough for me to feel grateful and happy about my choice.
Around week eleven, something happened. A friend called and asked me how I was. I’m doing great! I found myself saying. I didn’t recognize my own voice! I don’t think I have said those words (and meant them) in years. This was miraculous to me.
I’ve been watching myself over the past few weeks and marveling at my new-found hope. I love my life. I love my kids. I love my husband. I am hugging everybody longer. I am saying I love you. I am able to cope without getting whipped up into a froth. When someone asks me how I am doing, my voice doesn’t go up several octaves anymore with an oh fine…
I feel genuinely happy.
WTF? Pills are not supposed to do this! My new-age heart shouts. Yoga and meditation are supposed to do this. Hard work is supposed to do this. Copious amounts of therapy is supposed to do this. My mind is utterly blown.
I am funny again.
I am loving.
I bust out spontaneous dance moves to make my husband laugh.
I cry when I read a good book.
I don’t fantasize about death as a way to find relief.
I feel grateful for my life in a way I didn’t have access to before.
I am humbled, once again, by going down the road I didn’t want to go down. By opening the door I was afraid to open.