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Philosophy And Pills

As many who have read my previous public entry would know, I have indeed looked into medication for anxiety.. The good news is I've found something and it's working great for me... But that's not entirely what this entry is going to be about.

I've taken quite a few pills in my lifetime, and that's including vitamins. If it were counted without vitamins, then maybe i've taken 6. Dayquil, Tylenol, Prozac, Adderall XR, Claritin and some antibiotic for an infection I had once. Prozac, of course, is what I've started taking, and I feel great now.

It seems though that every time I've taken some sort of energy giving pill, i've either learned something new about myself or just had some weird epiphany. Most notibly with Prozac and Adderall, but I have also have had similar with Panax Ginseng and a Super B Complex vitamin.

It had to be a year ago I took Adderall XR. My anxiety was much more dormant then... But aside from the crazy thoughts of everything being interesting, I tried comparing and contrasting myself with and without it.

I started to pick up on what I would have considered "flawed" ways of thinking, then tell myself my current attitude. For example, normally I would think in a mostly selfless attitude. It's an attitude that some would describe as honorable or respectable, but it's also something that burns you out over time. Something that eventually gives you feelings of regret later. Yet I normally feel obligated to be that way. I mostly blame damage taken to my percieved idea of healthy self esteem.

...But it's as if the short time I took Adderall XR revealed a portal. A gateway where secrets of the universe poured out for me to devour with my mind. There I learned that I was the only one that mattered. Everyone else comes second...

I'm being sarcastic of course (modestly poking fun at myself at the same time), but that was my primary subconscious thought.. Though I'm sure others have experienced ephiphanies and their "magical" feelings as well. For me something like that was significant. I wasn't "tripping out" or anything, it just felt like some big secret had been hidden from me and I had just now decyphered it.

Maybe it helps to mention I was the kid in first grade who would help other people finish their class work before finishing my own. I've retained a lot of behaviors similar to that since those young days, and as a result there aren't as many times I prioritize my own life.. Well, in comparison to most anyway.

But the mantra that Adderall XR led me to develop was that of "I'm the only one that matters". I know this to not be true, as surely other people matter as well.. but those days were very nice.. the very few of them. I wasn't a jerk-- no, instead I just had a huge boost in confidence. Despite the weird, perhaps selfish, mantra.. It wasn't just me that felt better. The chemistry between myself and the people around me were better. I experienced healthier conversation.

Super B complex and ginseng were different stories. I didn't have as much of an obscure effect, but I did have more motivation and a bit more energy. You can expect that though. B vitamins are what help convert food into energy, and ginseng is a root which provides a natural source of stress reduction and energy. If I could pin one phrase to the feeling, I'd say it was "Yeah, I could probably do this". It also helped slice a small chunk of anxiety off my back, but nothing huge.

Prozac is the "new kid on the block", so to speak. I've been taking it for maybe a week or more now, and I've been feeling great. A large portion of my anxiety is gone. I'm very glad I talked to my doctor about it too, because the difference is going from sense of feeling crippled to walking free. I still have things I have to worry about, and I still feel emotion, both positive and negative.. but it's no where near as extreme as I used to let it go.

"Let's pretend your brain is a stereo-system. The music playing on the system is your emotions, thoughts and feelings. And all the settings on your stereo -- the volume, the trebble/bass balance, and the speaker balance -- that's your chemical levels, your hormones, your serotonin, etc."

"If you have clinical depression, some of the levels on your stereo are off -- the trebble is turned all the way down so you can't hear the harmony, the bass is turned all the way up so all you hear is this constant thud-thud-thud, and the volume is turned all the way up so that you can't tune it out. The music doesn't sound right, and it's defeaningly loud. What you need to do is adjust the balance. Turn the bass down to a reasonable level so you can hear the harmony again, and return the volume to the right level so you don't go deaf."

"We're not talking about re-wiring your stereo. We're not talking about unplugging your speakers. We're not telling you that you need to listen to different music. We're just talking about adjusting the levels so that you can listen to the same music on the same stereo system--only now you can hear the entire song, and it's not so overwhelmingly loud that you can't have a conversation about music with the other people around you."
That right there is exactly what convinced me that even just trying something for anxiety would be okay.. I'm hesitant to say I have clinical depression, I suppose because I don't want to describe myself that way.. Although Prozac treats depression, I'm taking it for anxiety (I actually wanted to avoid an anti-depressant...). But if I am facing depression, my fears have been it's vessel.

It's tiring when you fear what other people might think of your opinions (ironically, I'm a blogger). It's tiring when you fear failure in the places and events you find most important to you.. But that's what I dealt with. My fears and my worries basically caused a form of premeditated failure in half the things I attempted to do. Looking back, that one job interview I had last month was a disaster because of it. I feel absolutely stupid for answering a question or two the way I did.

Ever since I started taking medication, things have been looking up. I'm not as hesitant to voice my opinion (as if i'm subconsciously telling myself "Your opinion is important") or stand up for myself. Usually my reasoning to not stand up for myself is not wanting to cause a fuss.. But that quickly can create a situation of light abuse.

For example, I have a friend who occasionally talks condescendingly to me (as you may know from my twitter a bit ago). If I feel it's unfair, I usually suck it up and deal with it internally best I can. I was always afraid of what he'd say or think in response, and thought maybe I would regret it later. Sometimes I'd think maybe he would stop talking to me...

Now I feel if I'm going to consider someone who does that a friend, they should at least be giving me more respect than they'd give an aquaintance. There is no fear in calling someone out there anymore. As my mind experiences these acts of confidence, I will discover these trivial things lead to no dire consequence and I will learn. Experience creates knowledge, and knowledge is retained longer than feelings. Eventually medication won't be neccisary.

It really is nice to feel free again, and to be honest, the feeling I have now doesn't feel so artificial. I felt just like this before I was unfairly abandoned by best friends for a random girl (who didn't like me) three years ago. I'm so thankful for this feeling again... I'm having progress in healthy relationships with those old friends lately (which was spontaneous and unexpected), and I was even offered a job at my local Taco Del Mar next month.

The way things are going, eventually I feel I'll be able to walk away from Prozac and not need it anymore.. Besides, I can't have "Absolut Pepsi Max" while I'm taking this, but I suppose that's a trivial matter in comparison.

"Always keep your mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest peak, empty of all thoughts.
Always keep your body filled with light and heat. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment."


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