#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