Is it peace or is it Prozac
I don’t care
No need to know that
– Cheryl Wheeler
A few years ago, my mom mentioned off-handedly that there had been a funny mix-up with my dad’s new anxiety medicine.
I had long suspected that I got my genetic seat at the anxiety spectrum from my dad, but things like “psychologists” and “mental illness” and “mood drugs” were not welcome in my house growing up. There was never anything said, exactly, but it was there in what didn’t get mentioned to the doctor and in what seemed normal because my dad did it too and in the way my parents reacted the one time my high school required I get a psychologist to sign off that I was safe to return to school.
And while I’ve always been of the opinion that drugs are wonderful for the people they work on, I was equally sure that I wasn’t cut out for them – I was “not that bad” and besides my ex didn’t like the idea of drugs and I didn’t want to have that fight. Not that bad. I’m getting by. I’m fine.
Except I wasn’t fine. I have had good times and bad times, but the bad times have been getting worse. I took my Yaya’s passing harder than I expected to, and job hunting is a dehumanizing process that wears me down. I caught myself telling the baby things that were definitely my anxiety talking. I thought about the times growing up when I can see how my dad’s illness impacted me.
And then I asked my doctor what she recommended, therapy or medication, given how therapy had gone for me before. She said both was an option. Tonight I took Prozac for the first time.
I spent an embarrassingly long time staring down the bottle. I know tons of people who have benefitted from it and similar drugs. I have no problem thinking of myself as mentally ill. I’d already admitted I needed outside help. Why was I giving myself a panic attack over it?
Well, the answer is because I’m fucking crazy and if my anxiety were logical, I wouldn’t be crazy. So I thought about wanting to be better for my child’s sake, and then I took the pill.
I’m terrible at self-care. I’m much more successful when I frame it in terms of someone else’s needs. My child needs me to raise her well. My spouse needs to be able to depend on me. Destroying myself hurts them, so I should stop.
Whatever keeps me moving forward, right?