Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Anxiety enjoys masquerading as normal in my life. I am afraid of everything. Heights, bridges, germs, enclosed spaces, open spaces, clowns, coughing toddlers, Golden Corral, and the population of planet Earth in general. I know it’s sad, but please don’t pity me. I like to live by the words of one of the great philosophers of our time, Homer Simpson, who said, “Just because you’re stuck in a hole doesn’t mean you can’t live a rich and full life.”
Excessive anxiety has its benefits. I use it as a weight management tool in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. I’m convinced that my fidgeting and jittery-ness burns calories. I know for sure that worry causes loss of appetite, which, in turn, keeps me bikini ready. People ask me all time how I keep my girlish figure. “Simple”, I say, “Worry and Fret, The Wonder Twins”.
About 4 years ago, I decided to see how the other half lives. You know, the half that isn’t teetering on the brink of psychosis. I put on my big girl panties and went to my doctor. I told her I’d like to wake up each day and not feel like I was on a roller coaster, not strapped in, and her response is now one of my favorite sayings ever.
“There’s a pill for that.”
So, I’m off to the pharmacy, prescription in hand. I can’t wait to feel calm, serene even – like you, right? I purchase the “Normal in a Bottle” she prescribed and rush home. She told me it could take up to 2 weeks to feel the full effects, but that’s a drop in the bucket considering that I’ve been holding on by a straw for so many years.
And then it happened, just as predicted. I woke up to a brave, new world. The Pill encouraged me to do things I would never have imagined. But that isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Looking back on that time, there are things that I did that I wish I could expunge from my permanent record.
I cut off my hair. I cut if off Halle-Berry-in-the-late-90’s style. Oh yeah, that little, round miracle of modern medicine made me look into my mirror and believe that I was a beautiful, sexy black woman with porcelain skin and a personal stylist. I whacked it off, and it’s never been the same. I have neither the patience nor inclination to grow it back. I am sentenced to Practical Mommy Hair for the rest of my days.
I signed up to sell cosmetics. That’s right, skin care. Now, it wasn’t Avon or Mary Kay, a little higher end, but what does that matter? Me, the person who hates to talk to people, getting out there and hosting skin care parties. Me, the person who would, without hesitation or remorse, slap a bubbly, motivational speaker in the back of the head, giving presentations on how this business would make you “grow” as a person. I had my upline telling me to “get out of my comfort zone". What they didn’t realize was that my comfort zone was as deep as the Grand Canyon, and I was sitting at the very bottom of the gorge on a lazy mule. Sorry, but there is no getting out of my comfort zone. This foray into direct marketing lasted as long as my prescription.
I adopted 3 dogs and a cat. I swore in front of God and everyone that I would NEVER have pets in my house. I meant it, until The Pill invaded my brain and started wreaking havoc with my rational, sensible side. This is a side effect that will take about 10-12 years to wear off (according to my vet). I signed the contract and agreed to love and care for these animals. They are the bane of my existence, but there is no “out” on this one. They get to stay.
After a year or so, I looked around at the carnage that was my life and decided The Pill just wasn’t for me. I quit cold turkey, which isn’t recommended, but drastic times call for drastic measures.
Another side effect of this miracle, anxiety-reducing drug that they conveniently forget to tell you, is that you just don’t laugh as much as you did before. Sure, this pill takes away the worry and fret, but those two emotions are also deeply connected to laughter and happiness. You see, it all goes together in some kind of human fuse box. If you cut the power to this one emotion, you’re cutting the power to others. I had grown tired of living a life in monotones.
I simply decided that I’d be glad to suffer through the pain and anxiety, because it would give me a gauge in which to measure the good times. How do you know how precious your life is without the ability to look in your rear view mirror at the trials and tribulations you’ve successfully endured? This was a no-brainer for me. I decided that I’d rather have the roller coaster…