I’ve just spent the better part of an afternoon doing two things: first, crying inside because I have a migraine and my office is THE LOUDEST PLACE ON THE GODDAMNED EARTH and second, reading articles by Penelope Trunk and Cat Marnell and Rolling Stone about pharmaceuticals, both prescribed and abused.
Yesterday I lost my temper in the office. I let someone get under my skin something fierce and I literally had to remove myself from the situation and walk out. I had that fiery red face, the hot flash, the bright sparks of light flashing in front of this person’s face and I just LOST IT. I had shaky hands and sweaty palms until bedtime last night. It was the most rattled I’ve been in, well, I don’t know how long. But actually for the last two months, I’ve felt the panic start to rise again. I have never been happier teaching my class, work is fine and home is fine, but still I feel the anxiety simmering right under the surface. When people talk to me their voices are extra loud. When I have phone conversations my mind wanders and I have to force myself to focus, lest I forget who I’m talking to. I fidget in meetings, poking people’s backs or kicking them from my chair, just to feel myself doing something. This sensation of detachment could have a lot to do with allergies, believe it or not. It could be the very early change in seasons, or the down time I have at work right now. Who knows?
The drugs I take are, I believe, absolutely essential to my daily function. Perhaps this is psychosomatic, but I think I can feel the edge of panic more if I take my medication off schedule, like if I take it at dinner instead of breakfast. I guess this means they are working correctly, but I don’t really know. I don’t have another appointment with my doctor until April, so I suppose I’ll ask her then.
About a year ago I got the stomach flu and I didn’t take my drugs for a few days. I freaked the fuck out one day when Brian wasn’t at home with me, and that was the moment I realized that I can’t live my life in a normal, manageable way unless I’m on these things. If you can do it right and do it like you’re told, the right prescription can mean a world of difference.
Not everyone can do that, though. I know addicts. Like, know them know them. I know that for some people, drugs are just joints that float to the top on a Saturday night at a neighborhood party. For other people they are prescription pills that feel just a little too good to stop asking the doctor for them. For still others, they are shot glasses or fifths of bourbon or three bottles of wine. Addicts don’t have to use needles or lighters under tin foil. “Bad” drugs aren’t always illegal. I’m not saying anything here that you don’t already know.
My Nancy Reagan moment is here and I’M OWNING IT, BITCHES.
This stuff is slippery, y’all. There’s a fine, almost indistinguishable line between fixing a chemical imbalance and just a fix.
Some people judge me for writing all of this here, and to you I say WELCOME TO THE CRAZY. I am not nearly as crazy as probably 97% of the population, so probably you should step out into the world and meet some more folks. Diversify a little. For those that aren’t so judge-y but look at me as if I were an ostrich with six wings, who gives a shit? Really. And for those that read this and understand what I mean, HONEY, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You take those prescribed medications just like your doctor told you to. You pick up that bag at the pharmacy with pride, because you were brave enough to get what you need to be who you need to be.
And finally, to those of you reading this who think pharmaceuticals are something to enjoy, something to take the edge off, something to make it through the rest of today and maybe tomorrow morning, get some help now. Drugs – in whatever form they come – are dangerous little fire pokers. They’re useful, they cause pain and relieve pain, and before you know it they will burn a hole in you so deep it will take years to heal.
Take it if you need it. But remember this: you’re not always the one who knows what you need.