Let’s gun it to 88 mph. Tonight, I would like to get in my time machine and slap the shit out of my old self. Once upon a time when I was 23 or 24 years old, I was having trouble dealing with the death of a loved one. I sought professional help. The professionals had every answer I needed in one little blue pill. Actually since I was a poor struggling college student, I could get almost 400 little blue pills at once through the discounted poor people pill program. No person should ever have 400 Xanax available to them at any point in time. But I did.
The diagnosis was severe anxiety. Three little blue pills would make me comfortable living day to day life. Three pills a day turned into 7, then 15, and at some point the highest number I reached in a night was somewhere over 30, I lost count after twenty something. I lived three years in a fog induced not caring world. Didn’t feel any feelings. No caring about being liked or loved. There wasn’t any cares in my world. Well, besides food. Take a Xanax and eat. I would awaken from a dead sleep and cook meals. And eat, and eat, and eat away any feelings left. I got huge.
And I became more anxious now due to the fact I hated my body. I was fat, uncomfortable, and lived every day masking self loathing through a drug. Going to counseling and seeing a psychiatrist, they would prescribe more and more pills. By the time when I decided to not live in a delightful drug induced coma, I was taking at least eight medications. These were only the prescriptions for my psychiatric disorders. Since I was 13, I have always been on medication for blood pressure due to having one kidney. Each night, I was supposed to take somewhere between 11 and 13 pills a day. Ridiculous.
Now I only swallow three blood pressure medications, Prilosec, probiotics, and biotin a day. Nothing for anxiety. Nothing for the bipolar disorder they said I had at 17. Nothing for the depression that accompanied the anxiety. I will never deny any of these conditions. I have anxiety. Severe anxiety. Public places can make me feel like I am drowning; public places like the zoo. I always feel inadequate, no matter where I am. I feel this way in my own home. Like a bad mother, a shitty wife, a horrible writer, and the list could grow with each passing thought. As I look back, I want to ask my old drug addicted self one question.
“What in the hell did you have to feel anxious about?!”
Now anxiety is different. It goes directly toward keeping a tiny human alive. It is expressed in these statements:
“Oh my God, that is cat shit! Don’t EAT THAT!”
“Let’s brush our teeth so we can get the shaving cream taste out of your mouth.” My inside thoughts ask if this is the time we finally call poison control.
“You have to go in the car seat. It’s a law. You gotta do it.” Car seat battles can last up to ten minutes. I have learned to enter what I call meditation mode. I will wait him out till he climbs up into the damn seat. If I do not have the opportunity to wait him out, I will try to lasso him with the car seat buckles in the same manner a cowboy lassos a wild horse. This causes me a lot of frustration and anxiety. I am usually a nervous wreck for an hour after having to do this.
“Why the hell won’t you eat?” By eat, I mean his actual meals. He will pick up anything off the street and eat it. You cook real food, he won’t touch it.
“He pooped” or “His diaper leaked” or “I’m gonna have to change. His poop is on my shirt. We are going to be late.”
“I don’t know what you want. I’m sorry. Use your words.” He will try to use his words and I still have no bloody idea what the hell he wants. I cannot interpret this foreign toddler language. Sometimes, I just nod and say “that’s great!”
“Oh my God, do you ever just want to sit down? Why don’t we color?” A few minutes into coloring you will then hear the familiar “don’t eat that.”
So after climbing out of my DeLorean I have to ask “what did you worry about, old self?”
Oh, you don’t have vodka money. You are sad because someone you loved went away, no one is immune to death. You’re sad because a Master’s program is tough and you are poor. You got to wait tables or sell radio advertising to make money. I am so sorry. In about 8 years you will have real worries. And guess what, you will won’t even care about money because you have to keep a human alive. You will realize you love to write and it doesn’t pay peanuts. You will learn to be comfortable with being poor. And by the way, everyone is a writer. You will keep trying to write and keep getting rejection after rejection. It is okay. You don’t need a little blue pill. You never did.