There are a thousand different ways to say this, but I don’t feel like being fancy so I’m just going to blurt it out … just like I did yesterday while attending a family barbecue.
I was standing in the middle of the kitchen with my cousin and my aunt, and I said (out of nowhere and completely unrelated to the conversation), “I’M MEDICATED AND IT’S FANTASTIC.”
I’m no stranger to anxiety, but I have noticed an uptick in recent months. I’d mention it to my husband, but he didn’t seem concerned. I was still functioning, still doing everything I’ve always done. He didn’t know that my chest was tight from the moment I woke up in the morning, until long after the kids were in bed. He didn’t know what it was like to be me … because he isn’t me.
And if he was me, I think we all know that he would probably just sit in one spot all day long and hold my/his boobs.
Then, I was surprised with some amazing news — we’re going to New York City next month to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary! I was so excited … until the worrying began. I can pinpoint the moment that it started — we were sitting on the couch, and Robbie showed me a video of the building we’re staying in. As the camera zoooooooooooomed up, panning the structure from bottom to top, I couldn’t breathe. The irrational thoughts were cutting off my air supply.
We haven’t flown together since our honeymoon. What if the plane crashes? What if there is a fire in the building where we are staying? WE HAVE THREE KIDS NOW. What would happen to them? We have nothing to pass on, they don’t have official Godparents. We are fucking terrible at adulting! Fucking terrible! WHO LET US BECOME ADULTS? WE ARE GOING TO CELEBRATE 10 YEARS OF MARRIAGE BY DYING A FIERY DEATH. I NEED A SHOT OF WHISKEY.
I can’t breathe. I can’t look. I think I’ll just double over.
Four days after that, my mother sat me down on that same couch and told me she has cancer.
This was when I realized I had a problem.
Before now, I have never had a need for a “primary care physician,” but I procured one immediately. I needed a pill or a therapist or possibly a tranquilizer dart. I sat quietly as the nurse took my blood pressure and asked me a series of questions:
Nurse: “Are you sexually active?”
Nurse: “Do you use protection?”
Nurse: “Do you drink alcohol?”
Me: (OPEN LAUGHTER)
Nurse: “How much and what kind?”
Me: (STILL LAUGHING)
My new doctor came in and we shook hands. She praised my self-awareness, coping mechanisms, and overall health. She informed me that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and prescribed me a pill that will help me get through this challenging time in my life. Then I mentioned my weight, which is up. She said, “Yeah, your Body Mass Index is high … but you know what? You don’t look fat, SO WHO CARES?!”
This solidified her spot as My Most Favorite Person Ever.
I have now fully embraced my medicated state. I honestly can’t recall the last time I felt this calm and relaxed, while at the same time being sober. I’m not bothered by the little things, so I can focus on the big things with calmness and clarity.
This must be what it feels like to be my husband.
Today, instead of running around in a panic, picking up toys and cleaning already-clean surfaces, I cuddled and played with my kids.
I don’t know what the future will bring, but between now and then, I’m going to take my medication.
I also plan to make a lot of memes like this one, because I have priorities.