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  • Writer's pictureLily T

My Childhood Doctor was also a Singing Pirate : Mental Health/Personal

I have struggled with mental health for years, and in my teens I was diagnosed by my pediatric doctor, then later my therapist. The diagnosed beginning starts with my pediatric doctor, who was also in a pirate themed band. I went to him in high school for a routine check up and at the end of the check up he asked, "Is there anything else?", I said "Yeah, just that I get anxious before work sometimes". We talked about it a little bit before he decided to prescribe me something he thought would help. I got the prescription filled, it was Alprazolam AKA Xanax. I realized what it was as soon as I got the prescription in my hands and realized it was probably going to be a little too much for what I needed it for. After getting home, I was folding some laundry and decided to try it out, just so I would know if it really was too much before taking it and then heading 20 min to work.

It was a lot, I woke up to my Dad shaking me awake. I had been in a deep sleep, I had no recollection of falling asleep. My Dad was worried, I had woken up rambling about my dream. After coming out of it, kind of fever dream type of thing, I realized that what he had prescribed me was not something I could take before working. I had heard about Xanax through the news and social media and I knew it was addictive and really not something that should be prescribed for being anxious before work at 16. In fact what probably would have done me better at that time was support in knowing that being anxious, at the rate I was, was a normal and managable thing. I sometimes wonder if he, as a pediactric doctor should have been allowed to make that kind of decision. I took it a few times after, some for the purpose it was meant for (anxiety reduction), some for more "fun" and experimental young kid reasons, but I never took it before work. At a certain point I realized that it was not something I could just use when I was anxious, because I was anxious a lot, and I couldn't be on Xanax at school, or while driving, or while doing anything but sitting home alone. I also knew that Xanax was addictive and an intense enough of a drug that there could be withdrawls if taken regularly. I stopped taking them, it didn't feel worth it.

I have continued to be anxious, sometimes worse than others of course. Over the years I have used different substances to help mend that. None of them have truly helped. I have taken medication meant to help with anxiety and depression and while they may even things out for the time being in the back of my mind I always keep the idea that being on a medication for the rest of my life is not the way I want to go. I understand that other people may have a better reaction to the medication they're taking and it is something that truly helps them live a more fulfilling life and that is great. It wasn't for me.

I have spent a good amount of my "conscious" life (15 plus as I would describe it) on some sort of medication/birth control. While medication meant to treat anxiety and depression can be helpful, in my experience taking birth control only solidified and made my anxiety/depression worse. It had been recommended by my OBGYN that I get on birth control to stop my periods from happening, They were debilitating and would often make me miss school. Of course being on birth control helped with that aspect of life (no painful periods), but it put me in a darker and more anxious place than I had been before. Being on it changed my hormones, I tried a couple of other ways to help with the pain but nothing was worth the mental state it often left me in. After being off of birth control for more than a year I realized that all of my anxiety was manageable, depression had it's ups and downs, and that my period was basically always going to suck.

What I have taken away from it is that the most important part of growing up, learning what your body's needs and what it doesn't just takes some time. I don't think many people have it figured out at my age, but it is important to note that during all the trial and error I found out what my body doesn't need and that puts me a little closer to figuring out what I do really need. This is a very tough subject to talk about because there are so many factors, I am merely talking about what I have experienced. There are things I had anxiety about in highschool that are completely nonexistent to me now. There are things I still carry at times.

Sometimes there are things that come up that are able to resolved with a couple of deep breaths, there are others that will stay and will snowball. If I knew it all I wouldn't even feel like writing about it.

What I have come to accept is that I haven't figured it out, and that's ok. Figuring out what needs to be fixed and what doesn't is a constant in life. So anyways, I am okay and I hope you are too.



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