Getting Past a Fear of Meds

Getting Past a Fear of Meds

Last week I blogged about my fear of taking medication. So how did I get past it?

It wasn’t easy. Desperation played a big part in it. Really, I just finally surrendered.

Over a few years, three major events happened that sent me lower than I had ever gone. My wife was in a horrible motorcycle accident. I watched it happen. Thankfully she recovered and today is okay, but it was terrifying to witness. Then, two significant people in my life died before their time: one of my closest friends and my cousin. 

My anxiety had me by the throat. For months, I could not sleep. Or if I did sleep, it was only for two or three hours a night. The next day I was a walking zombie. A doctor had prescribed a combination of Xanax and Benadryl, which I sometimes took, but even that stopped working. The quality of my life was going so far down and I couldn’t climb out of it. 

Finally, one morning after a particularly bad night, my wife took me to Urgent Care. The physician on duty turned out to be a psychiatrist who specialized in anxiety. He spent time with me, listened to what I said, and prescribed me two medications, one to take in the morning and one at night. He said, “Don’t Google this. You’ll see things that don’t have anything to do with you.”

The hospital had a pharmacy right on site, and this was critical for me. At that point, I knew I was at my bottom. I knew it was vital that I begin taking the medication right then. Otherwise, if I waited to get that prescription filled, I might decide later not to go through with it. At that moment, I was more willing than I had ever been in my entire life. So I went to the pharmacy and got the medication and took the first dose before I even left the building.

The doctor had told me that a feeling of calmness and being tired might come on right away. He was right. But I felt okay with it. I wasn’t freaking out. It wasn’t screwing with my mind. I went on with my day.

That night, I was so worried about getting sleep. I took the second prescribed pill, the one to be taken at night. That pill had an immediate effect, too; it jacked me up. I couldn’t walk or talk very well. My anxiety got worse; I tried to fight the effects. My wife stayed with me and encouraged me. “Just give in to it,” she said. “Just submit to it”

I thought, well, I’ve taken the pill. If I die, I die. I decided to follow what the doctor had prescribed and accept my wife’s support. I lay down and just gave in to it. I went to sleep.

My wife was convinced I would never take the medications again. She had lived with me a long time and had seen my fear of taking medication first hand. But the next morning I took the prescribed dose. I was calm that night and manned-up and took it again. 

A new way of life began. I slept at night. I felt a whole lot better during the day. In a year and a half, I have not missed a pill. 

My anxiety is not totally gone. My fear of taking the medication still comes up at times. But the anxiety and fear are so much more manageable. Seeing those results helps a lot, and reminds me that I spent decades fighting and resisting the prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. But today, I don’t have to live that way.  

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