Family, Mental Health, mental illness

When Self Care Means Medication

2017-1230 pillBlogmas is over! It has been almost two weeks since Christmas and I took a bit of a blogging break. I’ve still been writing, but more personal things.

Life has been going pretty good, but I have been pretty anxious.

Something happened recently with my family. I was at a restaurant celebrating my brother and mom’s birthdays, which both fall in December. I was anxious as we drove across town to get to the restaurant, and I continued to be anxious as my family arrived and we ate. I tried a lot of things. I squeezed my hands. I took deep breaths. I tuned everyone out for a while and just was. When my brothers began discussing what to get my grandma for Christmas, I lost it. I was already in such a bad place, and only getting worse, that I couldn’t handle hearing about something that would have normally not have affected me much or at all. (Talk of gifts was hard for me this year. I felt really guilty for not getting anyone anything. But Jason and I didn’t get anything for each other, either. It was just a rough time financially.) I excused myself and sat in the bathroom for a while. When I came out, I told my husband we needed to leave. And we did – but everyone got up. I felt bad about that, because I wasn’t sure whether anyone else actually wanted to leave. Then I got in the car without hugging my brothers.

I quickly started to feel terrible. I cried on the car ride home, and sobbed in my living room. I took some medicine and eventually felt better. Then I called my mom and talked to her about how sorry I was about what had happened. She hadn’t been concerned; she said I’d hid it well. But I was full of sadness and regret. I vowed that if I felt this way again, I would take my medication sooner. Because once it worked, it worked, and I was good. I wished I had felt that way much sooner, and eliminated my regret.

So three days later when I was having a hard time at a family Christmas event, I tried to cope, but kept telling myself: “We’ll leave eventually. We’ll go. I’ll feel better once it’s done, once I’m out of here.” But then I realized I was telling myself the same thing I had already told myself. And on that day, so recently, I’d wished I had taken my medicine sooner. I knew what I had to do. I snuck into my purse and quietly took a half a pill.

I started feeling better after a brief while. And we stayed. We played the gift swap game. I watched my nieces and nephews open presents. I was glad I stayed and I was even more glad that I had made the brave decision to do what I needed to do to take care of myself.

Coping was hard for me when I was surrounded in a little house full of lots of people. The medicine was something that I apparently needed, and certainly benefited from. This is a life lesson I hope I don’t soon forget. If it’s what I need, then I need to use it. That’s why I have it, after all.

It’s okay that I needed help. It’s okay that the help came in the form of a pill. It was brave of me to realize this. It was great that I took care of myself.

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