When Dr. Jim was diagnosed, he became obsessed. He woke early, he stayed up late. He read and researched and pondered and worried and thought about nothing else.
He could be distracted, but only momentarily. His brain refused to think about anything else. His psyche kept him in lock step. The result was anxiety.
He was never present, in the moment, unless the moment was centered on the disease. This became tiresome to his wife, and, ultimately, to himself. Even so, he was stuck in the sludge. He saw no way out.
That's the charm of anxiety, a close friend of PTSD. They are gifts which keep on giving, tossing the victim into a tumbling stew for which there seems to be no ladle.
I offered a ladle, of sorts. To this 68 year old who was on no medication at all, I suggested an anti-anxiety medication. Ativan has been a close companion of mine for years; I was happy to share her with a friend.
He was surprised at me. I presented such a strong face. He had no idea that I'd needed that kind of help.
And so I explained to him what had been explained to me: Rage, Anger, Fury, Sorrow, Fear... these are all things we can work with. They have weight, potency, are packed with valuable insights and help is possible.
Anxiety just gets in the way. It muddles the waters, or thickens the stew, to avoid mixing metaphors, even those separated by paragraphs. It's useless. It keeps you stuck. There are times when you need to feel the pain; I took no pills when Daddoooooo and G'ma died. But that was sorrow and loss and bone deep emptiness. There was no anxious edginess involved.
Flying home, in the snow, with delays and a sore hip and a dead mother, I took an Ativan to ease the trip. There was nothing I could so to remedy the situation. It was what it was. I could do something to remove the anxiety, though, after yogic breathing and a swift, pulse raising walk through the airport failed to move my endorphins. We were just as delayed; I was more relaxed.
We think nothing of taking an aspirin for a headache or a strained muscle. I'm not sure why there is such a stigma about taking a pill for a strained psyche.