Today I took a Xanax.
I care a little more than is probably healthy about pretty much everything. Some days I get so worried about everything being ok that I become frozen. It physically hurts to be this way. I have food issues and headaches. My skin is thin and I am raw. I feel exposed a lot. I feel powerless a lot. I feel broken a lot. I feel afraid that the world will find out how broken I really am and I will crumble into a million tiny pieces and blow away on a breeze. No one will even remember that I was here. So I took a Xanax in order to face the day with a little less agony. Tomorrow I will feel better. It will be easier. Today is just a moment. None of this is real. I won’t die from anxiety – but it certainly feels that way sometimes so I choose to take a Xanax and pull myself together.
In the past I have been ashamed of my medication. I have hated myself -hated what I perceived as weakness. Through a lot of work, reflection, meditation, growth, maturity – constant and continuous obsessive, borderline narcissistic, internal focus I have begun to accept these pieces of myself. This consciousness – this extreme sensitivity helps me to understand people in a way that is deep, significant and meaningful to me. It helps me to be a better artist although probably not a better friend. But I’m working on it. I feel very insignificant most of the time. The things I have to offer people do not come in the form of friendship. The things I think I have to offer the world are in the form of perspective. I don’t think I’m a very good friend a lot of the time.
My Bubbe was the center of our family until her death in 2003. She wasn’t wealthy or formally educated – she had a hard life and nothing came easy for her. Somehow, even though she lost her mother as a child, her father was not a nice man, and her husband was diagnosed with schizophrenia soon after they were married – requiring her to raise four children practically on her own – somehow she knew her own power. She was generous – even when she had little to give she welcomed people into her home, fed them, loved them, cared for their children, gave whatever she had to give to help lighten their burden.
How did she know how to do that? How did she learn to love so completely? I know she was human just like me so she must have just learned it through practice. I can learn it too.
I’m bad at life most of the time. I forget to renew my drivers license. My car is always a mess. I’m disorganized. I’m constantly losing my keys, my phone – my marbles. I’m not fun. I don’t like to shop or talk on the phone. I feel lost and awkward in most social situations with most people. Without direction or purposeful activity I feel very uncomfortable.
However, I’m also good at smiling and putting people at ease. I like focusing my attention on others. Unless I’m on stage I would rather the focus not be on me. It’s a paradox wanting all of the attention and also hating it unless it’s given in exactly the way I’m comfortable receiving. I’m coming to acknowledge the pieces of myself. I’m working on accepting all of them fixing what I can and letting the rest be. Some days are easier than others – hence the Xanax.
Today’s an anxious day coming off of a couple of really uplifted days. I put a lot of emotional energy into everything. I take it very personally when things go well and when things don’t. So I took a Xanax. Because I hate that indescribably awful feeling in my stomach and my chest. The one that makes me feel as if I’m on fire. The one that makes me feel like I can’t breathe. The one that makes me question all of my life choices. The one makes me wonder why I ever thought I could handle work AND family. The one makes me wonder who the hell I thought I was when I decided I can have a life like everyone else’s. The one that brings up all of the young me feelings of self loathing and disappointment in the reality of my mind and my body. The one that reminds me that I’m an impostor.
It’s there all the time but some days are just harder than others. It’s never not there.
All of this reminds me why I’m here – that it’s my responsibility to share my reality openly because somewhere in the depths of loss and sadness there’s the knowledge that I’m not alone. There are other people just like me who wake up on occasion and need to take a Xanax.
We are not alone.