Learning to cope.((I don’t have the drugs to sort it out)). 

For the whole of my adult life my mood has been controlled by psychiatric drugs. Since puberty emotions became something intolerably intense for me that needed to be dampened because I felt I wasn’t strong or capable enough to deal with them. 

Any mood swings or problems were considered pharmaceutical in nature; an issue with my medication or dosages, and not just normal human fluctuations.

For over 17 years feelings have been tempered, flattened, smoothed over by daily waves of serotonin with a pinch of norepinephrine and dopamine and one bland day I’d just had enough.

It has taken me two years to complete my borderline homeopathic taper off prozac but as of a couple of months ago I have been drug free. It will be undetectable in my blood soon if not already.

The world has changed. Everything is more vivid and vital, sharper, urgently demanding my attention. Things are loud and overwhelmingly contradictory, and tears flow freely for the sake of a broken pen, or missing words. 

I would like to clarify that although I have never learnt to cope with strong emotions, that does not mean that I am weak or incapable. I need to remind myself this on a daily basis.

And so I wade through the great spectacular symphony that describes the breadth and depth of human emotional capacity. I never realised that the orchestra was so big, that there were so many different instruments that all used to feel just like a blanket of disappointment or anger but now have individual notes of their own.

I don’t know how to deal with the stitching on a favourite dress coming undone, or how to stop myself from shaking while I’m telling you my point of view, but I know this is where I am now meant to be amomg tears, smiles and torn up letters.

What anxiety is like for me


If you have never experienced anxiety or panic problems before or know someone who does and don’t quite understand, then let me tell you about my experience.

Anxiety is
– like a thick smog that you breathe in and it saturates your whole body and mind
– a culmination of old and new problems, morphing into a giant inseparable and unsurmountable behemoth
– the feeling of utter powerlessness
– a magnifier of even trifling problems, distorting them into dangerous proportions
– something that can physically hijack you, giving symptoms of acute illness
– a dysfunctional overreaction of your brain to stimuli that it wrongly perceives to be dangerous and life threatening (fight or flight reaction)

How anxiety affects me symptomatically:
– Lack of concentration
– Nervousness
– Muscle tension
– chest pains
– Neck, limb, and torso pains
– Headache
– Dizziness
– Loss of coordination
– Tingling and numbness of hands, feet and ears
– Tinnitus
– Palpitations
– Sweating
– Hot and cold flashes
– Dry mouth
– tight chest
– Wheezing
– Circular and repetitive thoughts
– Nausea
– Acid reflux (gastritis too)
– Diarrhoea
– Insomnia
– Night sweats
– feeling out of control
– Belief that I am dying
– Shaking or trembling
– Restless movements of limbs

How anxiety affects my life:

I try to manage my anxiety by staying as relaxed as I can, but I avoid driving, social activities, public transport, public speaking, crowds, overexhertion, drinking alcohol, phone conversations, and sometimes even leaving the house because I fear that it will trigger a panic or anxiety attack. I always carry valium around with me for emergencies. I have not yet learnt to deal with the sometimes crippling effects of what amounts to being unable to discriminate subconsciously between life and death situations and those that really don’t matter.

I’m documenting this here because I am currently at the mercy of a week-long tight chestedness and breathing discomfort that the Dr thinks is from anxiety ( a few months after the mystery kidney pain was diagnosed similarly) I felt so bad that I had to come home from work, and I really don’t want anxiety taking over my life and jeopardising my career. Even if my breathing issues turn out to be of physiological rather than psychological origin this once, there is still no excuse for the three hour panic attack I had when I got home. I know I CAN cope with all that is going on but there is this niggling voice inside telling me that I’m too weak and that I’m incapable of doing anything properly. 

“I turned around and it began standing there
Panic stricken
Every face became the same everyone shouting
Out names and my heart could
Not be tamed”


Rejection on more than one level

Overwhelming waves of anxiety swallowed me whole and shat me out into this ocean of mesmerizing depression. Sleepy strokes of half finished thoughts and the craving to just escape into the unconscious zone where nothing can hurt me. Dead to emotions other than ennui. Barely breathing. Large-scale shutdown after too much feeling and thought. Just numb, just floating, just waiting until I can next asleep.

What happened? Where did it go so wrong? Well lets start with my paper being rejected (again) and go on to consider that I do not deserve to discuss my feelings or thoughts on this topic and that I dont deserve support because I get up so late in the morning for work. At the point of being screamed at yet again, I flicked the switch and shut off my emotions. You could call it a skill, you could call it failure to cope but I call it surviving what I cannot tolerate any more.

The sun is shining but I see no beauty. The air is static and my ears buzz.