Over the past several years I have lived with an undercurrent of anger and anxiety. All the self-help, therapy and zen living practices could not help me. No matter what I tried to do to stop or calm this undercurrent; it prevailed. I eventually started thinking that maybe I did need medication. Not that medication had worked in the past, but maybe this time would be different.
My past bouts with actual medication included Xanax and Paxil. The Xanax was only used sparingly during panic attacks. The Paxil sent me into orbit and caused a psychotic break. Needless to say, I stopped trying medication after that whole “becoming someone else” scenario. This time around I decided to try emotional support supplements. The first one I tried was a Stress Response supplement that you can get at any Sprouts, Whole Foods and a number of other places. I liked the affect, however, I started noticing that I had trouble keeping my heart at a resting rate. I noticed this more at night and I definitely could not combine it with any calming herbal teas. The increased heart rate was slight, but enough to cause problems at night so I eventually went off of this supplement. Next I tried THC-Free CBD. I had read of soooo many people who had major breakthroughs with CBD. People who had issues with anxiety, stress, depression, and obsessive thoughts all saw major improvements so I thought I’d give this a try. I did my research, found a certified clean supplier and purchased some capsules. I have to say the THC-Free CBD did wonders for my obsessive thoughts. I literally had none for the two to three weeks I was taking it. It was like Heaven for those few weeks inside my head. Unfortunately, the THC-Free CBD also lowered my blood pressure to the point that I started fainting every time I stood up. It was a very slow process that culminated in a few weeks time. At first, I started feeling like I couldn’t breathe even though I could take deep slow breaths. Everything became harder to do and my body slowly started to feel like it was aging at warp speed. Then the vertigo started occurring every time I stood up. Within a few days I was full out fainting and I knew my little magic pill had to go away. Next up, I tried Ashwagandha. This ancient herb has been used for centuries for a multitude of health benefits, including its ability to promote calm and balance hormones. I did my research and virtually no one had any issues with this herb so I gave it a try. I enjoyed the calming affect. It was not as good as the CBD at helping my obsessive thoughts, but it did calm me down and promote a feeling of “ahhh”. But then it kind of turned on me. I began to notice that I had more trouble calming myself down when I got mad or irritated. I also noticed that I began to have MORE anxiety. I went from being a somewhat cautious driver to being a paranoid and scared out of her mind driver. I literally thought every car on the interstate was either going to come into my lane and crash into me or every car was going to bully me off the road. I cried and screamed my entire way home for a few days and decided that maybe I should get off of the Ashwagandha. I quickly returned to my normal functioning within a few days. There is one more supplement that I actually have, but have not tried it yet. 5-HTP. Many people with anxiety and depression have gotten off of their medications by using this and are doing much better. Others have had terrible side effects and implore people to not even try it. It is sitting on my dresser in my bedroom, unopened. I am a little apprehensive to give it a try to say the least. The others I mentioned did not really have side effects, but they affected me. Not so sure I should try one with known side effects.
And so the dilemma persists. Do I try this last supplement? Once I get back on insurance, do I give Xanax a try since I never took it on the regular? Do I really want to get back on something that I have to have in order function? Do I even want that life again? I did that when I was a raging alcoholic. Regardless of whether I ever bring alcohol back into my life, I do not want to be in a position to need a substance to function ever again! Do I continue with meditation and nature walks and soothing music and just deal with the waves of anger and anxiety as they come? For me, this is the anxiety dilemma. I have an undercurrent in my life that I seemingly cannot control. Life would be so much easier if I could just take this edge off a little bit. Control the incessant talk in my head just a little bit. But at what cost does that little bit come?
I am as fixed as I am mutable and I am as brave as I am timid. Maybe I just need to make friends with the part of me that I am trying to shut out. Maybe I need to learn how to use this side of myself to my advantage. One of the things I learned while on these supplements was this - I need that side of myself that I would rather keep hidden from others. It is a raging warrior. It is strong. And without it - I’m not so sure I would still exist. I am part raging warrior and I am part timid child. Maybe what I need to realize is that one cannot exist without the other and make friends with them both.