Taking Anti-Anxiety Medication (and a rant)


I’m sitting here after having taken propanolol at the suggestion of my EMDR therapist. We discussed some good tools for managing anxiety and she mentioned how it was an excellent as-needed medication without all of the nasty side effects SSRI’s/benzos induce in people.

I’m…Pretty darn impressed. The first two times I tried it, I took 20 mg before a get-together and it didn’t really do too much. I still felt pretty anxious and had my usual muscle tensions and flare=ups. Today after much research, I took 40 mg instead. And I can say I’ll definitely be taking it again as needed.

Propanolol is a beta blocker. As it was explained to me, beta blockers keep adrenaline from being detected by the body. The amygdala can make its usual signals but even though it’s knocking via adrenaline the body doesn’t get the message. It was interesting because it didn’t utterly destroy my usual sense of self, as if it were imposing a sense of calm. And I had a measure of fearful thoughts. I just wasn’t nearly as afraid. Like 95% less fearful as my body felt quite calm. As long as I was mindful and kept my attention from wandering I was able to chat, make eye contact, tell stories, and joke with everyone in a genuinely fun manner.

At least until someone made a snide muttered comment from the sidelines about a joke I made, raining on my parade. It made me backslide a bit into silence. But I eventually recovered my momentum, made a mental note to ex that guy’s opinion from my list of cares, and continued enjoying myself. I have a lot of hope for propanolol as a healing tool in my arsenal and I’m incredibly grateful I’m getting such fine advice from my therapists.

————-Okay, now I have to rant. Normally, I try not to share these sorts of things but I’m learning I have to stop pretending I’m above these sorts of things. So don’t bother to read further if you’re just here for anxiety medication stuff————–

Still, I’m really darn irritated. I was doing so well and then that guy had to shit on my parade like that. We were ragging on WV and I said as a New Yorker they teach us that’s how all WVers are in school. His takeaway comment was “Wow. That says a lot. Do I want to go be his hero and rescue him?” “No…No, that says a lot about you, my man,” was what I wish I’d said. I listened to you shit on everyone and everything when we were roommates for a month and didn’t judge. How you started fights with people as a prison guard and even killed civilians in Afghanistan. All your sexual and relationship issues. And I asked to hear more and tried to understand. When you shut down and started acting squirrel-y I reached out and asked how you were and thought we reconnected even though you kept ragging on how I love to eat roaches (Asian food). But I see now. I’m just an arrogant, out of touch so-and-so who likes to rag on hickbillies? That’s your impression of me?

Propanolol does nothing for thoughts. It just affects the body’s response to adrenaline. So while I was able to keep the thoughts at bay for some time, they reared like a viper the moment I heard that and again when I left the restaurant. Instead of basking in the good memories I created I was doing my best to navigate the thought malestrom that had been created. “See, SEE? I was right! And to just speak out loud like that? How little respect is that? Why did I bother trying so hard?!” No, don’t go in that direction. Breathe. Focus on the road. Don’t start thinking like that if you can. “Fuck that. Fuck him and fuck that.” Yes, fuck him, but also focus on the road…

Brené Brown talks about keeping a marble jar in one of her books. And how when you meet someone, they get a jar. And as your relationship grows, you can add marbles to the jar to figure out what sort of friendship you have. But…What if someone not only empties the jar but then they shit in it, what then?

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