Posted on 10 December 2016 by Michael Dahl

I wake up an hour before my demon named Anxiety: the daily struggle to keep It sedated.

I take mental health drugs five times a day. Four of the times are required, as one of my drugs works best if divvied up fairly evenly four times throughout the day — early morning, late morning, afternoon, and bedtime. But I’ve learned to and have thankfully gotten into the habit of following a fives-times-a-day schedule.

I’ve posted before that my meds have impacted my sleep schedule. I fall asleep sometime between 8 pm and 9 pm; I often wake up at 4 am.

My demon, Anxiety, usually wakes up at 5 am, but sometimes It chooses to sleep in if I have as well. So, I am often given an hour of natural peace.

I take two of my meds immediately upon waking up to keep my demon sedated throughout the day.

Again, thankfully, I’ve internalized the habit of medicating twice each morning. That is, I don’t forget to take meds at 4 am. And then, sometime between 5 am and 7 am I eat breakfast and take some once-a-day pills that do best if taken with food.

The rest of the day is a bit of a challenge. At work, I often get wrapped up in my projects and tasks. I’d say at least twice a week I temporarily forget my late morning drugs until I feel my demon waking from its slumber. By then I know I will experience at least an hour of Anxiety.

Emotionally, it sucks as I know I will be agitated, jumpy, unfocused, and overwhelmed for a segment of my day. Physically, it feels like all the skin on my body is tightening, almost like a restrictive web is trying to compress my body — not fun — which is also accompanied by a tightening of the chest. (Thankfully yoga has given me a series of chest-opening exercises that do a pretty good job of combating that feeling until my drugs have had the time to work.)

I take the meds a bit late and wait for Anxiety to be put to rest again.

The same thing sometimes happens with my afternoon’s not-yet-a-ritual med-taking.

And so this weekend I am going to figure out how to set two alarms on phone to remind me that it is med-taking time. Why I have not already done this, I have no clue.