I’m anxious, should I take Xanax?
Following from my very disturbed relationship in my mid-twenties, I started having panic attacks which were happening daily and they completely wrecked my life at the time. As my step-father was a doctor, I was diagnosed and prescribed Xanax almost straight away, without a consideration for any other options.
I am not sure if there were any other options available in my country, that at the time was stigmatised by any psychological, let alone, therapeutic interventions.
So this was my first experience with benzodiazepines. Although it had helped immensely at first, it also numbed my nervous system and made me high. At that time of my life, with all I was going through it was probably a good option, as my lack of knowledge of other options was profound. However, very shortly after I started experiencing the side effects of this miraculous farmaceutic. I began to feel psychosomatic detachment, confusion, problems with concentration and focus, loss of short-term memory, drowsiness and problems with sleeping, and when I did sleep, I often had nightmares. So that was not a good solution, even though, I was only taking Xanax on occasions.
Cutting the long story short, my life had taken a different direction and focus, and I was able to completely stop taking Xanax, and despite having occasional panic attacks episodes, I have never agreed to take this medicine again. Do not get me wrong, I am not entirely against it, as it does its job and it helps many people to cope, especially at the beginning. If you really feel like you are going to die and you don’t know why this is happening, or you have no knowledge of any tools that could help you deal with it, of course, this may be a better solution than nothing.
Nevertheless, anxiety is not a permanent condition. You were not born with it. Anxiety is a symptom of certain life events that you went through and at that time did not receive the help or support required. The experiences have been not attended to and as a defence mechanism, your body started reacting with panic attacks. I am aware that this may be a highly generalised statement, and there are cases of anxiety that are different to these scenarios.
From my professional experience of working with clients with Generalised Anxiety Disorder or other forms of anxiety, all of them remember the time of being completely fine before their anxiety started. The life before. Most of them are aware of xanax, were taking xanax or came to me whilst still carrying xanax for self-assurance purposes. They know, however, that xanax works like a plaster and its effect wears off after some time. Hence, xanax is not a life-time solution. And regardless of how much you wish to or not, work on the causes of your distress, there are no easy ways to do it.
Almost always you have to see someone to help you. And the good news is, that there are plentiful of choices out there for you to try. All of us are different and therefore there is no one model that will work for everyone. You may reach out for many different interventions, such as hypnosis, mindfulness, different therapeutic interventions etc., just don’t give up on your journey of searching the right solution.
My personal experience of different interventions was a very long journey. I tried a lot of different available options, some worked, some didn’t. Some of the interventions worked for some time and then, the worrisome returned. However, I did find my answers after many years of searching and trying. What happened to be imperative in my healing process, was the complete and utter compartmentalisation of the causes of my anxieties. Once I fully attended the roots, understood and accepted the past events, I was able to learn tools and apply new patterns of behaviours. I learnt how to breathe properly. I learn how to communicate my needs, so they are heard and attended to. And, I learnt how to accept and love myself unconditionally. I have changed my life-style, my diet, my physical activities, my social circle. I started to listen to myself, what my body was telling me and developed a profound level of self-awareness. I have acquired this through my own process of persistent and systematic acceptance of change, regular self-development, enhanced by a personal therapy and group work, which were integral elements of my studies.
For me that worked. In my practice I encourage openness and flexibility, without a timeline or expectations. All of us are unique, and our representation of time is also unique. The feeling that comes with the complete release of any emotional baggage is invaluable, and this is what frees us. It liberates our mind and bodies and allows for new narratives. This is the irreplaceable state of mind, where one does not worry any more about the past encounters that may appear or impact their future.
And in the moments of heightened apprehension or uneasiness, when the background for panic attacks could be perfect, I know how to deal with my body reacting to stress. And Xanax is a long-forgotten history, that once proved to be temporarily helpful.
Thank you for taking your time and reading it
Ps. Despite the fact that this model will not work for everyone, I would like to encourage you to keep looking for the right solution, as I know how hard it may be to feel that way.