#thepersonalside: The Serenity Pill

I am appropriating my second post of the month to the hashtag, #thepersonalside. I checked Twitter to see if the hashtag has been used at all. Curiously, it has not, even without ‘the’ at the beginning.

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image by Michael Nutt https://www.flickr.com/photos/nutt/
image by Michael Nutt
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nutt/

The Serenity Pill

General Anxiety Disorder [GAD] is a permanent sideshow in my life, brought on by the stroke I had and intensified by the change of life that growing older brings. Do not get me wrong. I do not mind growing old. The GAD is just a hurdle for me to contend with is all.

My grandparents gave me an affirmative attitude about the later years of life by example. They were grateful for all they had and made light of the disappointments, aggravations, and pain they endured. In addition, none of them seem to be afraid of death. They looked at all of their existences as being part of life.

Anxiety can impoverish that forward-looking attitude to the point where one can only worry about what is coming next, what can befall him/her, the unknown, and even aspects that are trivial. It can do it without the person being aware, causing dreadful tension, atrocious headaches, and sometimes nausea. That is General Anxiety Disorder.

Some people have trouble functioning at all when this disorder hits. I am sure my husband might have liked it better, although not by much if I had reacted by hiding out in the bedroom not participating in life. With me, irritation, oversensitivity, and provocation set into my head. I was not a happy person and I was making my husband’s life wretched. Why did he stay with me? I cannot figure out why. He told me he knew something was wrong and we just had to find a way to deal with it. My opinion is he is a soul who is always duty-bound and I am grateful for this.

The doctor prescribed one antidepressant after another when I finally decided I needed more that just dairy products to keep me calm. I had gotten to the point where I did not like the taste of milk anymore. The thought of having the same reaction to ice cream was appalling to me. Whenever I feel the need for an attitude pick-me-up or want to give myself a special treat, I head over to Dairy Queen for a small Blizzard. There was not any way I wanted to give that up.

Eventually, the doctor found the medication that I, now, call my Serenity Pill. Lexapro is in the category of antidepressants but is used more for anxiety than most of the other ones. It acts on the brain chemicals serotonin and norephinephrine[1] to balance what is out of whack. It allows me to feel sad, anger, annoyance, and even minor depression but without that feeling of forebodingness that cause my mood to be so desperate.

Lexapro is not a cure-all. I still worry about those things I don’t have control over but it is in perspective now. These things are not haunting me daily anymore. Only when I read something, see something, or hear something pertaining to these matters, I will worry. I adjust my thinking using cognitive techniques[2] to put myself in that calm frame of mind again.

Brain injuries, such as the stroke, can play havoc with emotions. I can only be thankful that I live in a time when there are medications to help me deal with this adversity.

[1] Treating Generalized Anxiety

[2] Stress Management – Ways to Relieve Stress

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“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ― Anaïs Nin

 

That Contrite Decision

That Constrite Decision
Image provided by Karim Moukalled
https://www.flickr.com/photos/karimmoukalled/

Have you ever been in that state of mind where you’re certain you can make the situation better with just a few tweaks? Nothing major, mind you. They’re the types of adjustments that show little on the surface, if at all, but you’re positive the changes will greatly improve your life in so way. After the choices are set in place, you may feel a little relief, giving you a sense of feigned tranquility. Of course, you don’t realize the calmness as being fake at the time.

I did such tweaking a few weeks ago. My hopes soared envisioning better organization. A diverse system of how I’d receive and send email depending on the reason for the transmission sounded ingenious to me. Individual compartments for different functions in total isolation from one another struck me as the way to go to help with the cognitive muddle that sometimes fogs my brain.

I set up a second email account at Gmail to handle all correspondence from WordPress.Com. The account I already had with Google, I designated for personal conversations. I set up my Outlook email account to receive and send from Twitter and blogs not affiliated with WordPress.

I felt a little off doing this adjustment though. There was a  personal paradoxical element to the matter. I’m not a fan of Google. Despite having an account at Google+ that I intend to keep and having that first email account with Gmail, I despise how the company tries to control the whole damn internet, making site owners jump through hoops of regulations and analysis tactics. Who decided their search engine had precedence over any of the others? But this is a whole other topic and I only bring up this much to explain the irony of my actions.

Five days ago I noticed how Google sites were sticking if more that one Google site was open in my browser. When a person has more than one Google account, the person has to open one in one of the next tabs while the one first opened is still in use. The person needs to click on his/her icon to do this. Just opening up another tab doesn’t work. You’ll end up back at that first account. Yes, ludicrous. The second tab of Gmail was sticking, forcing me to close my browser. True, I’m not using the Chrome browser. Windows doesn’t play well with Chrome anymore. My assumption is Google is trying to force me into buying a Mac or a Chrome book. Sorry fellas, but I’m poor. Besides, I hate Google trying to force me into doing anything at all. I refuse to let them become a monopoly. I deviated again. Sorry.

I finally had enough of the syrupy gooey mess associated with Gmail a couple of days ago. I changed my WordPress emails back to Outlook and forwarded all correspondence from the original Gmail account over to Outlook. The second Gmail account won’t be used. I’m just waiting for all the stragglers that may show up in that inbox so I can deal with them and delete that account.

Outlook isn’t fantastic by any means. It doesn’t always catch the junk before it dumps into the inbox. The options of design are minimal at best. Still, I like the setup there, which is, or in my opinion is the most important when choosing an email carrier site. I have two accounts with them although I just use the one. If I was ever to require the use of that second account, it could be done without ever opening another tab or window each time I’d want to use it. A much more efficient setup than at Google.

The idea of unrestricted separation to assist my mental shortcomings was a flop. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried doing something like this and I can’t expect it to be the last. I get in these moods of wanting to change something in the hopes of making everything better. It’s a complete emotional reaction to something that should be rational. Where it comes from is a mystery to me, except to say most thoughts of any kind that I have must go through the right side of my brain before hitting the left. I can’t even figure out when I get these zany ideas. Do they pop up when I’m trying to get out of a funk? Possibly, but I don’t know how that could be. Do they appear when I’m feeling exceptionally brave? I don’t think so but then again… Do these notions creep in what my brain needs a break from my WiP? Another possibility, although I can find better ways to spend my time.

I should pay more attention to this phenomena and maybe write about it.

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What do you think?

I have made decisions that turned out to be wrong, and went back and did it another way, and still took less time than many who procrastinated over the original decision. Your brain is capable of handling 140, 000 million bits of information in one second, and if you take hours or days or weeks to reach a vital decision, you are short-circuiting your most valuable property. – Jerry Gillies