Posted on 18 October 2016 by Michael Dahl

fingers still crossed

Yesterday I saw my mental health med doctor and believe I was treated to the best of both worlds. After talking about my differing levels of Anxiety depending on my use of the “use only as needed” chill pills, I reminded her I was saddened that we didn’t continue tweaking the meds that are not potentially addictive and don’t create dependence.

She then told me that: (1) she wasn’t overly concerned about my use of chill pills on a regular basis as I am taking such a low dosage. (I also thought, “I have not developed a dependence on them after years of use.”) (2) After I told her that I was continuing to see my therapist to learn ways to address Anxiety proactively as well as when It’s already attacked, she said she was willing to amp up slightly the meds that are not addictive.

Then we talked about how I was handling Anxiety. I told her that when I can be proactive (e.g. do things that flood my brain with good chemicals, like exercise or begin my day with thoughts of gratitude), I am usually much better off for the rest of the day.

I then told her that I really, really sucked at handling Anxiety once It has already taken ahold of me. While there are many tactics someone can use to handle such situations, my best option is to just try and be silent. That’s acceptable. Except I have been told by friends that while I sit in silence, my body language shows extreme discomfort.

What has gotten better is that after the Anxiety passes, I do much less beating myself up over It. I find it easier to accept that much of the pain and anguish I am going through is internal, and that most of the rest of the world around me has other things going on in their heads or in conversations with those around me. In other words, while I am stewing in a bout with Anxiety, most people aren’t thinking, “Gee, Michael looks like he’s dealing with Anxiety.” I’ve come to accept this more, primarily through therapy … although the meds certainly help.

So here’s where my doctor and I settled: take the amped up, non-addictive meds and try to back off on the use of the “use only as needed” chill pills by about a pill each day. I say “try” because, again, my doctor said she was not overly concerned with the dosage and amount of times per day I was taking them. Also, as part of the deal, she wanted me to continue therapy.

Can do!

So how’s it been going … I’m only two days in. I don’t think patterns have been able to emerge. What I can say is that on a positive side, my mood and reactions to what the world throws at me seem to have improved (again, I’m only two days in without a ton of drama, so I don’t want to postulate from there). On a somewhat negative side, I do seem to be more tired — but not too much more tired — throughout the day and my reactions to some things seems ever so slightly slowed.

The slowing down could be a temporary side effect of the amped up meds. Those effects usually recede in about a week after the brain and body adjust to them.

But for the third time, I’m only two days into this latest iteration of meds. Best to just keep up with the changes and look for patterns once there’s enough time to do so.

And so, fingers still crossed.