To Medicate or Not to Medicate

My brain’s on an adrenaline kick this week. It could be because I’ve just started a new Lyme treatment (my body HATES antibiotics, so we’re trying herbal now), it could be because school is wrapping up and we’re all getting ready to move back home for the summer and we’ll be living in a completely different building next year.

Or, it could be because I have an anxiety disorder and I’m not on any medication right now.

I’ve always been a highly anxious child. I didn’t think I was, I thought everyone obsessively tried to be perfect and was just better at handling the disappointment. I used to have crying fits in class whenever I hadn’t completed my homework, and nothing any of the teachers could do would calm me. It usually ended up in me having to leave the room absolutely mortified to be crying in front of all my peers, and frustrated that I couldn’t stop which only led to more tears. I don’t think I ever told my parents about these incidents because I was so ashamed that I couldn’t handle something that every other child handled with relative ease. I was told that I was “sensitive” a lot.

I was gifted with not just GAD, (generalized anxiety disorder) but also with the obsessive component of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I remember being handed my evaluation sheet from exposure therapy, laughing and telling my mom “I am literally ALL the anxiety in one body!!” Under the category of Anxiety, the therapist had check almost every box there was.

One of my friends told me that out of all the people, I fret the most. I laughed because he literally described my life in one sentence. I’m a fretter. I try not to be offended by the facts, and I’d rather have people know and love me despite them.

I’ve talked a bit about my relationship with food and how obsessive I can be, and lately it’s been spiraling out of control, bleeding into other things, and generally affecting every aspect of my life. So I have a choice: to medicate or not to medicate.

You’d think the choice would be easy. But anxiety exists.

Un-medicated me is not made to handle several things simultaneously. Right now, I’m on a new Lyme treatment (or I’m trying to be) while dealing with increase in anxiety, and also finals are happening. And my brain tells me that if I don’t handle all of these at the same time I am a failure. So do I put off the Lyme treatment and admit to my doctor that I haven’t done anything in the month since he last saw me while I’m trying to navigate my brain imitating a mouse on a wheel?

I will make a choice. Then I will unmake that same choice. I can talk myself into and then back out of an idea faster than Isaac Newton could have done long division. Because that’s what anxiety does. I drive myself in circles and it’s exhausting. So after three months med-free, I’m meeting with my psychiatrist again. Maybe I’ll be back on medication, maybe I won’t. Right now, my mantra is one thing at a time. I don’t have to be the perfect human being who handles everything perfectly all the time. No one does. And I don’t have to live in a hamster wheel of a brain either.

So stay tuned, folks. It’s gonna be a roller coaster of a week.

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