A few days ago Z came to therapy with me, not to talk about us (we wouldn’t want to cheat on our couples therapist…), but as an extra set of eyes. He shared his thoughts about my increased anxiety and struggles with Buspirone and it ended up being helpful for all three of us. Evidently my crazy takes a village.
The upshot is Buspirone is not my patronus. And as much as I want to get by with just talk therapy it isn’t enough right now. So the search for the real patronus continues. I’m lucy to have help, a therapist committed to finding the right drug/therapy combo, a husband fully invested in helping me, insurance to cover the whole shebang. I’m lucky.
I’m also unable to stop feeling deeply ashamed.
My therapist (Let’s call her D) had such high hopes for this drug, I feel like I let her down by quitting, for not hacking the side effects. Every single time I swallow a chill pill or daily med I feel overwhelming guilt for needing help. The act of taking meds for anxiety makes me even more anxious, which would be kind of funny if it weren’t so infuriating.
As a group we decided to not try anything new until Z returned from Japan in June. Unsurprisingly, I’m anxious about him being gone for a month, although I’ll have tons of help-I’ll be with my folks for the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, I want him to go, I’m excited for him. This is great for his career. And of course I feel guilty because he knows I’m anxious and I don’t want to fucking ruin this trip for him.
We’ve had a lot going on so far this year. C’s illness, Z is very busy at work and traveling heavily this semester, I’m in a demanding class, two toddlers are a lot to handle on the best days. D said to me, “It’s been a very stressful time, so it makes sense to wait until things calm a bit to try another drug.” That made me feel guiltiest of all. The majority of people go though a stressful time and struggle a bit, but they don’t need a therapist and drugs to make it through. I feel like there is something so weak about who I am fundamentally. Why am I such a fucking delicate flower? Why can’t I just snap out of it? Where are those bootstraps I’m supposed to be able to pull myself up by? Why do I let myself be a drain on my family?
I feel guilty, I feel ashamed, I feel pathetic, I feel worthless, I feel ugly, I feel fat, I feel embarrassed, I feel like a failure. I feel like an indulgent, self absorbed ass. Then I feel guilty again and the cycle continues. About twenty years in and I still worry people will think I’m making the anxiety up. Hell, I don’t always believe it is real. I still think I should be able to magically rise about it.
The crap shoot that is psychotropic meds is well covered ground here. Talk therapy has historically been very successful for me, drugs tend to exacerbate my anxiety. But things can’t go on like this. The therapy is not enough anymore, I’m in a very bad place. We are going to have to get creative with the drugs-SSRIs don’t do it for me, Buspirone is out, non-tricyclics like wellbutrin are out, Abilify is out.
The chill pills do work, I’ve used them as rescue meds for seven years. But they are highly addictive. My only addiction thus far in life has been nicotine, and I’ve been quit for more than five years, but I feel like a drug addict just because I have a prescription for lorazepam. I start every therapy session reporting on how many pills I’ve taken since the last visit because I worry D believes I’m a junkie.
Since the lorazepam does actually interrupt my anxiety without increasing it D has suggested I start using it more frequently in order to function over the next few months. She will closely monitor my use. And there are some antiepileptic agents we can fiddle around with in very small doses over the summer. So at least we have a plan.
Listen, yes, I agree that drugs are over prescribed. Yes, I agree that medicating away a little bit of sad is a really bad idea. On the other hand, when mental illness is interfering with a person’s ability to function day to day, well, drug intervention is often appropriate. I know I need help. It just sucks that psychotropics are not always straightforward like blood pressure medicine. Finding what works can be a mighty bitch.
He has decided he is batman.