Self-discovery, Xanax, and Rock&Roll


My friend told me recently that I should write a pain blog. At least that’s what I remember he said. It’s possible he said I should write a drug blog. Honestly, I was on quite a little cocktail when he said it, and my cognitive, uh, remembrance? isnt the most efficient or effective system at times. I’m not exactly sure what his idea was per se, but here we are. 

I’ve been lamenting recently about having lost who I used to be and being ashamed of who I’ve become. Not in such a macabre, melodramatic way. Relax. What I mean is if my 16y/o self came to my apartment last week to say hey, she’d be speechless. In the Papa Callahan way. You know, the scary way. she’d look me in the face and say “what the fuck happened to me?” Because she wasn’t afraid to say it as it was, when it was. She didn’t trifle with others’ petty feelings. If they couldn’t control themselves or handle it, that wasn’t her problem, nor was it her responsibility to teach them anything. That’s the girl I miss. I know it may sound callous and apathetic. 

Anyway, she made an appearance last night. and this is where we get back to the point: drug blog. Because of my back pain, which I’ll thoroughly explain later — and give you a warning so you can skip it — I was anxious about flying home to California to see my like-a-sister, so my psychiatrist prescribed me Xanax. When I started feeling the beginnings of those chest pains I was having last December -the pains that made my mom go, “put on a bra. We’re going to the ER,” but ended up only being an anxiety attack manifesting as chest pains – I ditched my thousand and one friends in my living room and popped that pill. 

Remember in high school when you were out on the patio or the quad or the lawn or the steps or veranda or the courts; you were with your friends, telling jokes and doing cartwheels and dancing and acting out, goofing off? Or when you would write publicly in your journal, pages spread wide? Remember the intense conversations in the lockers? Remember the feeling of doing something fully without a percentage of you checking the windows for prying eyes, the corners for unwanted ears, or Twitter for judgey tweeters? I didn’t. I couldn’t. until last night. I found her, you guys. I found her “chillin” at the bottom of well, buried under a mountain of coiled chaos: anxiety like barbed wire or pencil scribbles. 

So the Xanax created, I don’t really know yet, an invisibility cloak(?) for the chaos and the barbed bullshit. Out she climbed, cool as a cucumber. She wrapped her arm around me and said “I got this one.” and boy, oh boy, did she get a chance to stretch her legs and play. 

Now, I could see the potential for danger here. People talk about Xanax as if it’s this dangerous secret that no one must know about because it is highly addictive, blah blah and so on. I understand how a person could develop a reliance on this magical pill that gives you your courage back, your backbone, and your mind.  Anxiety fogs almost every part of my life. In addition to the physical reactions to anxiety – sweat, nerves, accelerated heart rate – it also stumps my vocabulary, affects my memory, and mimics Dimentia. I live in a constant state of fear. What the Xanax did, what that anxiety-invisibility-cloak did, was free me of my fears. It grounded me. Smacked me in the face and said “you’re the strongest person I know. What the fuck is stopping you?” To which I could only say, “well, nothing.” So, having a shortcut to your real self is a sexy notion, I admit it. However, this experience hasn’t shown me that Xanax is the only way to find her – well, me. It has shown me only that she is, indeed, findable. I haven’t lost her. I’ve just buried her. I will see her again, and not through a really, very tiny white pill, but through a lot of work untangling that mess above her, trapping her in the well.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to start that. I have a theory as to what those pieces are. Unprocessed emotional experience. As a kid, I repressed like a goddamn professional, and those feelings have recently begun to leak out of me inappropriately. maybe if I get them in order, let myself experience them again- and this time, fully- I can release them and further understand myself and unbury myself once and for all. …?

2 thoughts on “Self-discovery, Xanax, and Rock&Roll

  1. Liz

    Keep writing. Keep writing. Look up words you think you understand but may not. And keep writing. Dementia btw not dimensia.

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