This has become my mantra as of late. Especially when I feel the anxiety coming on, the tightness cinching around my chest.
Deep breath, ‘be here now’ in my head, and an assessment of my surroundings. What can I see? What can I hear? Do i have hot coffee or cold water to anchor me?
In therapy, I describe a terrible event — a worst case scenario of what I was sure was going to happen because i forgot to so something on my to-do list. Things cascade until I am living in my parents’ basement, slowly killing myself with cigarettes and bad food.
My therapist studies me. “That’s a little extreme,” she says.
“RIGHT?” I say. And then i burst into tears.
Crying is good. I don’t like crying, it’s not my favorite. Not crying is better, in my opinion. But I think crying is progress.
My therapist thinks I have an unresolved trauma that is causing the catastrophic thoughts. She wants me to explore mindfulness.
Be. Here. Now.
I go in for my annual physical. (I am an adult; I schedule annual physicals now!) I get a flu shot. I talk to my doctor, whom I like, a lot, about anti-anxiety medications. I ask about Xanax. She says she can prescribe that if I want, but it’s not her first suggestion. She likes Lexapro as a first line.
A drug like Xanax, she says, or ativan or klonopin, “chases the anxiety.” That is, when the anxiety starts, it’s what you take to try to stop it. An SSRI, like Lexapro, can prevent the anxiety from starting. It’ll even things out, smooth things over.
We talk about side effects, and a make plan for the next six months.
Even just knowing I have a prescription to fill creates a lightness in me. We have a plan. I have a way to manage.
Be here now.
I have a lot of work to do. What is the trauma or traumas i still have to process? What does mindfulness look like for me? Will medication help me figure this out, smooth the edges so I can work on a way to make my life into what I want without meds, with manageable anxiety?
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