Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Crazy Pills

During the process of prepping for the interview I had at the end of the summer, I realized that I would likely go crazy this fall. Even though I spent two days preparing for every possible question, and even though I had answers prepared, examples ready to give, and good questions to ask, I lay awake at night wondering what else I might be missing. I literally lay awake until 4:00 a.m. one night, and that's when it hit me: this is what it will be like in the fall. This is what the job market will do to me. I will be a crazy (and sleep-deprived) person because I don't have the ability to shut my brain off. When there is uncertainty in my life, I get extremely anxious, to the point that I physically, mentally cannot stop myself from trying to think of all the possible scenarios that might play out.* I know that lots of people say, "Just don't worry about what you can't control," but easier said than done. I'm a control freak. Erego, if I'm not controlling things, I'm crazy.

Knowing this about myself, and knowing that, in Doha (and in many Muslim countries) medical conditions like anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc. are all lumped into the category of mental illness and thus are pretty much ignored (certainly not treated by experts), I knew I had to do something before we left the States. So, while back in College Town for my graduation, I went to see our family physician. He'd seen me last year when I was having severe anxiety problems just before our move overseas. I explained that the anxiety had never really gone away. It would settle for a while (like after we got most of our major settling in done in Doha), but then it would come back with the next big "Thing" (i.e. the last push on the dissertation and the defense). But what I experienced before and just after the job interview was awful. I also told him how my expat experience has been overall--not the best, though I've survived. Ultimately, he believed it would be best to put me on a maintenance medication, something I take daily for the anxiety (and sometimes depression) that I've experienced since moving here. He also gave me a prescription for another anti-anxiety medication to be taken as needed, during severe episodes of anxiety (like the inability to shut my mind off from the worrying, planning, listing, etc.).

So there you have it....I'm on crazy pills. I don't like it, but I have to be honest and admit that they've helped. I truly feel better. I don't know that I've ever been a big believer in the power of anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication, but I know that my mood is improved. I feel like things roll off my shoulders a bit easier. It's taken some time to get over the fatigue the daily medication has caused, but the overall result is very positive. The bottom line is that I feel less stressed on a daily basis.

Now, this could absolutely change once the full swing of the semester hits and the job list comes out in a few weeks. But for now, I feel like a better, less crazy, me.

* The most recent example is me laying in bed, wide awake, a few nights ago, wondering when it would be okay to start boxing up some things...you know, for our repatriation next summer!

2 comments:

intlxpatr said...

Half my friends are on medication, sweetie. The rest of us self-medicate occasionally :-) or try to control our OCD tendencies with exercise, or some other method. Look around. Look at those who are eating themselves to death, drinking themselves into oblivion, working themselves into an early grave - they are all dealing with anxieties - maybe not so extreme on the continuum, but you chose the adult way of facing the problem. You bounced it off an expert and he gave you a little help, God bless him.

Rebecca said...

i'm on anti depressants. hope to be off them at some point, i hate being sick if i miss them. you're not crazy, just a little out of whack. : ) like me and millions of other folks.