Medicated and Mighty

12647337_10205898464556288_514598743923290892_nHi. How are you? Well, I hope.

I know I’m posting Capture Your Grief stuff every day, and there will be a post later today for that, too. (Double post day!  Yay? Hopefully not too spammy?) But I wanted to pop by to share something important. So important.

Apparently this was a viral thing last fall and I missed it (in my defense, I was losing a baby and mega-grieving right when this thing hit), so I am very late jumping on this train, but I am jumping on it so hard.

See that gal up there? The one holding the pill bottle?  That’s me. That’s little ‘ol me, and my Alprazolam, better known as Xanax. That’s the medication that I currently use to manage my anxiety disorder. It works for me and I am not ashamed. I am not going to make excuses. I take Xanax on an as-needed basis because it is what works for me when anxiety takes control. It is one tool in my toolbox. It is one part of my treatment and recovery plan. I will not apologize for that.

For a long time I was very hesitant to take medication for anxiety. I brushed it aside whenever my therapist would bring it up. I had heard horror stories about certain medications intensifying symptoms. Or people becoming addicted to them. Medication didn’t seem to fit in with my lifestyle, which trends towards the very natural. I wanted to heal myself “naturally”. You know, like you do when you have appendicitis. Or an infection. Or cancer. Oh… right.

Mood disorders and other mental illness affect the brain, which just so happens to be an organ. Meaning it is a part of your physical body. In other words, mood disorders are a physical illness, like appendicitis, like an infection, like cancer. That last one may sound shocking or sensational but it is not a stretch. Mental illness kills people, just like cancer. It is not always that bad, but it can be. Yes, many people do choose to to treat illness and disease naturally, and I do not mean any disrespect. However, I believe that modern medicine has a place in modern life, even a natural, mostly organic one. It took this realization, plus a trip to the ER during a panic attack that was so bad that I didn’t know it was a panic attack, for me to see that maybe, just maybe, medication had a place in my life. The way that anxiety manifests in my life right now, means that Xanax is a good choice for me. I don’t believe that I will be on it long term. It is not an ideal long term medication after all, and so if I need to stay on something for a longer period of time, my doctors and I will explore some other options. I am lucky to have these informed doctors and therapists who have my best interests at heart.

My medication allows me to remain present for my family, when anxiety tries to rip me away from them. My medication (plus a side of mediTation) quiets my mind when it becomes filled with horrific thoughts of bad things happening to my children (yes, this is an anxiety symptom, and it is as awful as it sounds). Medication is but one of many tools that I use to manage my anxiety disorder. My medication represents my courage, because I had to be strong enough to recognize when I needed help, and then brave enough to ask for it. My medication represents the love I bear for my family, and for myself, because I work hard every day, using this tool and others, to be stronger and healthier for them, and for me.

I am Medicated and Mighty.

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