The ‘go-to’ first line of defense against anxiety disorders and similar mental health issues in Western healthcare seems to almost always be medication. Yes, it can be the lesser of two evils and the way out of a dark patch for many (including myself), but most would agree that spending the rest of their lives reliant on pills for happiness or sanity isn’t the best case scenario.
My personal problem with medications is pretty simple…they just don’t really work for me. Or at least if they do, they don’t last very long, or the trade off just isn’t worth it. For every medication I’ve been prescribed (and there’s a few!) there was either no effect at all, horrific side effects, or a gradual build up of tolerance, leaving the medication useless and the psychological issues still as strong as ever (or in the case of benzo withdrawals, far stronger.)
Doctors and psychiatrists would nonchalantly toss prescriptions at me; citalopram, sertraline, olanzapine, resperidone, pregablin, propanolol, zopiclone and various benzodiazepines. There didn’t seem to be much of a thought process to this, or much follow up care, just a sort of roulette of SSRI’s and tranquilizers and then hurry me out of the door.
All that seemed to happen was the problem was temporarily delayed, or replaced with a new problem. It became clear to me after a while that the issues were within myself, and no amount of covering them up or hiding was going to resolve them.
Whilst this might seem scary or bleak, it’s really a beautiful lesson and quite empowering. I’m quite glad that I’ve never found anything that’s numbed my mind enough to stop me from feeling panic and anxiety, as I would have always been a prisoner to the drug, to the fear.
I think of it like removing a weed from a garden. Akin to taking a medication, I could chop the weed every few months, always knowing that it’s going to sprout up again at sometime, someplace. It never leaves the garden, just drops beneath the surface temporarily whilst it plans it’s next appearance. Alternatively, I can dig beneath the surface, find the root of the weed, and dispose of it once and for all.
It can definitely be overwhelming, but tackling the root of anxiety is really the only way to be free from it destroying your life. By searching the soul and addressing the true cause of it, by facing and accepting the fear, it deals with it once and for all and stops it sprouting up again and again. The great thing as well is, when a new one may decide to sprout up further down the line, you know exactly how to deal with it before it becomes out of control.