There have been a few articles posted this week about the overprescribing of benzodiazepines as well as the side effects of being on them and coming off them. Some offer solutions, but no one is talking about those people (myself included) who rely on medication to deal with debilitating anxiety or other conditions that these medications help alleviate.
I don’t often talk about the anxiety I suffer, but it is very real. I’ve been suffering since I was about 11 years old. Back then I didn’t have a name for what was happening to me. I would start to shake and feel very queasy. My heart would race and I would have uncontrollable tremors. This went on every few weeks (sometimes more often) for years and years until I got to college and began taking psychology classes. I finally had a name for what had plagued me for a decade.
Sadly, my anxiety has only gotten worse as I’ve aged. I used to love going on trips or out with friends or even to see a baseball game. I’d get excited and a little nervous, but nothing over the top. It finally got to the point where even an invitation to an event set me into a tailspin. Going out for something fun was no longer fun. Getting up and going to work was difficult. Now, some days just going out to the store or to the gym require advance planning. Anything that is out of the ordinary can set me into a tailspin, especially anything spontaneous. I function best when I have a set schedule and know what I will be doing each day in far advance as possible.
These articles worry me. They scare me. They make me even more anxious about going to my GP when it comes time for my refill. I’ve already been told that these meds are nothing but poison. What I do know, is that for me, these meds are the only thing that keep me from having a meltdown when I feel overwhelmed. All of the breathing exercises and coping mechanisms I’ve used in the past no longer work, but the meds help (a little). I’ve had to change to something less effective in order to keep receiving them, sadly. They keep me from being sick from the anxiety that can be crippling. They allow me to go to class and function like a “normal” person. They allow me to live my life.
I honestly hope that when I see my GP next month that I am not asked to go without. I hope that others who may be feeling the same way after these articles have been in the news are able to have open discussions with their doctors to find treatment plans that are effective without fear of not having medication that they need to function. For me the treatment is well worth the risk.