All aboard -

The Xanax Anxiety Train.

I've had two anxiety attacks in the last two days, followed by a third one upon awakening this morning. This is unusual. I experience all kinds of strong emotions all the time - what I DON'T often experience is anxiety attacks. The kind that make me feel as if I've scaled a very tall cliff and am just toeing the edge, terrified a strong breeze is going to tip me over and into the void.

There's a reason my last refill lasted me almost 4 months. I just don't experience anxiety attacks often....except lately.

The Dr's appt one was very explainable. Yesterday's started as I tried to lay down for a nap. This is also explainable, at least as in the whole "I almost died here" thing goes. This morning? Not sure, but I can feel myself starting to scale the walls.

Both attacks before took HOOOURS to crawl down from. Part of this is that while I had Xanax, I did not want to take it. Didn't want to feel like I was "giving up the fight" or drugging myself to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Xanax also tends to knock me on my ass. It works quickly and effectively, but in the same way that a sledgehammer works quickly and effectively.

Which is funny, because I'm on the lowest possible dosage of Xanax at half a milligram of it. It still kicks me in the head with steel toed boots. But I know that's not what taking Xanax is for me. It's a medical treatment, for god's sake.

Jesse will do what he can. He'd hold me and talk to me, cuddle up under the blankets, say and do soothing, soft things. I'll spend an hour in bed running through all of my meditative and therapeutic self-talk tools. I even watched tv. Hours of it.

That's how you know I'm having a really difficult day - when I actually watch tv.

Usually all of that works, though. As of the last two days, I've still required medicinal help. It makes me feel weak. This morning, I'm circumventing the "You're weak and self-medicating, Teressa" thoughts and just took the Xanax, regardless of what my opinion of myself is.

It's okay to need medicine. I keep telling myself that. It's okay to need medicine.

So I've been out of the hospital for 27 days now. I am now 31 days from almost dying. Physically, my body is feeling wonderful, outside of crushing fatigue. THAT on its own is difficult. I keep telling myself that three months ago, I would have been THRILLED to have "ONLY" the fatigue to worry about. So why I can't I just be happy about that? Now that it is the only thing to deal with, I realize exactly just how prevalent and difficult that symptom is.

So now I guess is where the emotional part of the last month comes crashing in.

Yeah. Why can't I just be happy about that? I will be, someday. I know this. Jesse tells me to focus on just for today. Don't think about yesterday, don't try to plan for tomorrow, just focus on TODAY.

I used to be so good at that in early recovery in NA. Granted, that was almost 20 years ago. I was a different - and much more elastic, younger person - then. Still, there's merit in the idea of just trying to be, to exist, to be happy, just for today.

It's Saturday. The only thing I have to do today is scoop out litterboxes. And maybe binge on some iZombie and Babylon 5. Definitely watch more of "Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23". Let me pretend for a little while that I'm friends with a New York City debutante and that my life is more exciting than writing Livejournal posts and swallowing Xanax pills.

Could be worse. At least the only thing I have to deal with physically is the fatigue. I'da killed for that 3 months ago. Be happy and grateful for that, Teressa. I can be happy and grateful for that.

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I've forgotten which mood stabilizing drug(s) you take for your bipolar disorder. I've forgotten because you don't complain, or self-flagellate, or worry about taking those. You're kind of like me in that regard. I faithfully take my psychotropics because if I decide "Oh, I'm better now" and stop taking them, all kinds of hell breaks loose in my brain chemistry and I start doing unfortunate things. I'll bet my next paycheck that you want -- no, need -- to keep the crazy at bay as much as I.

Xanax is the opposite of your drug of choice. It's easy as all hell to abuse, yes, but it isn't the high people like you and I looked for.

Take the damn stuff when you need to, don't take it when you don't, and and get your brain chemistry back to where it belongs. It's the same as mirtazapine, lamotrigine, lithium, or whatever other devilish cocktail of mind-altering crap we swill down every day. We're thankful for it, you and I, because however bad the drugs make us feel, it's not nearly as bad not being able to control our own thoughts.

It's OK. Honest.