High Anxiety

Remember that funny Mel Brooks movie?

Not so funny. My anxiety level is incredibly high and I will admit, freely, to wanting to numb it, to lessen it. A drink sounds great, but sadly I know that won’t work. So often that is what keeps me from picking up….just the knowing that it had stopped working. And even IF it might work again, the chance that it might not, that the soul-crushing feeling of desperation and pain would come back…no thank you. Not gonna attempt it.

But xanax…..

I use to have horrible anxity attacks. Went to the ER 3 times thinking I was having a heart attack. They started at a time in my life when I did have a major problem, an aneurysm like entanglement of veins in my brain called an AVM. There was either going to be brain surgery or a procedure called gamma-knife, which basically was radiation directly on the spot and then follow up MRI’s until it was gone. My son was 6 and life was great and I was scared shitless. So I was given a RX for xanax, (the lowest possible dose, I am not a druggie… a real lightweight considering how much I could drink!), and when I felt an attack, or particularly stressed, i would take one. Thank god for xanax; at the time it was incredibly helpful. (And I was a good candidate for the radiation; lucky indeed).

Ever since then I have always “owned” xanax. Meaning, I always have a xanax in my purse, in my house,  because I never want   to not have one if I have a debilitating anxiety attack again. They are truly frightening and awful, if you’ve had one you know what I mean. Every couple of years I get a new RX. I have no qualms about it, over the years just the knowing it was there has helped me. I am better at meditating now, and breathing through an anxious moment can really help, but I KNOW I have the xanax, just in case.

Because sometimes breathing  doesn’t help, or  it takes too damn long, which is what is happening lately. The stress of selling a house, of moving, is likened to that of death and divorce….right up there on the major life changing biggies list. Add to that the emotional aspect of my situation (I know, everyone has an emotional aspect..but I’m unique, right?) and it’s a perfect storm. I had been crying at the drop of a hat, and that has actually been good, at least I feel that way now. Because  now I am not crying, I am hyperventilating, I am having chest pains, I am feeling naseous and can’t catch my breath. Classic anxiety.  I try and distract myself, and breathe and meditate and it’s been working, so far. But it is not comfortable and it is happening more and more. It didn’t happen at all on my little trip away, not surprisingly. I was very distracted and when I got antsy I was at the ocean…relief right there. the reminder that there is something bigger than me at work….but I’m home now and back in it and it is tough. And I know that the xanax is there, which, so far, has seemed to be enough.

I am not against drugs, used as prescribed by a doctor. Any kind of drug. I have seen how they work in people’s lives, how beneficial they can be. But I have also seen how devastating misuse is and don’t want to fall into anything like that.

For now I breathe. For now I cry. For now I meditate and practice some yoga moves. For right now, at almost 2 am, I write and eat chocolate (which, I know, will not help me sleep, which would be good for me)

Earlier I rewrote my homage to my friend Bill. They are having a memorial service for him on the 16th and putting together a book of memories. It felt good to rework that into a publishable piece. I also wrote a list of al the improvements made to this property over the years. There has been a lot. I admit to getting lost in the things that WE had planned to do, and that never got done. But then, if we were still WE I wouldn’t be selling the house and, and……

Anyway. I think I am writing this more for myself, accountability to me, but then accountability to others is always a good thing too. If I do take a xanax I will report it to my sponsor. That feels like good accountability too.

Damn, though,  I do admit to wishing I could just have a glass of wine to take the edge off, like in the old days when 1 glass of wine would be enough to do exactly that. Those days are gone. My days in this house are numbered and I have no real idea of what the next step might be. I have earned this anxiety, but I will not be a slave to it.

Yes, once again I quote Anne Lamott’s “right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe..” because that is EXCELLENT advice. One day at a time, one step at a time, forward. That forward motion will hopefully propel me past the anxiety and fear into my next big adventure, whatever the fuck that is!

High anxiety indeed



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  1. runningonsober June 6, 2013 — 2:51 pm

    It sounds like you are using and have used the Xanax exactly as it’s intended. I too had horrible anxiety attacks (did I medicate with wine in attempt to keep then away, I wonder), and after Paxil turned me into a sleepwalker, I stopped and started carrying the little bottle of Xanax with me. My mom did the same thing. (She would shake the bottle like a baby rattle or a maraca and that sound would calm her.) It’s like a little security blanket. And that’s okay.

    I get into some gray area with sleeping and medications to help there, but then I remind myself that insomnia is very much a real beast that is calmed with medication. As is anxiety.

    Talk and write out your feelings and fears, talk to your sponsor, but don’t feel bad about taking medication for that beast of anxiety that has reared its head at you lately. And yes, breathe…. just breathe….

    • Exactly, a security blanket.
      But one I need to be honest and accountable about, like everything else, right?

      I’m so excited for your training and the new music coming! I don’t run, but you have certainly given me a lot of great “dancing around the house” music!


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