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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Better Living Through Chemistry

I want to take some time to talk about how much I love Xanax.

For so many years I have been resistant to taking medication to help with my anxiety, despite the multitude of people who told me it would help.  I suppose that's a hidden result of having anxiety, is that you are afraid to even take pills that will help you not be afraid, and you get so wrapped up in the "what-if's" that you end up bailing out on adventures that would have been amazing had you just taken the pill.

After just getting back from such an adventure, I can sort of reflect on the trip and how I got there - and home - with pretty much no stress thanks to my new friend.  Being in the beer podcast world can be unforgiving at times, with little pay, little appreciation, and even less perks (aside from the free beer).  Recently, I was able to go on a 4-day Caribbean cruise with 2,000 of my closest beer-loving friends and some amazing bands playing just for us. The shit-show for me was that we set sail out of Miami.  That's far.  That's 6 hours on a plane.  That sucks.

In the past, I would have passed something like this up based solely on the plane ride.  But I was determined to not let my brain stop me from enjoying this.  Enter: Xanax!  Eating Xanax is sort of like those film makers in the 30's using those diffuse filters for the close-up shots of actresses - things are clear but the sharp lines are fuzzed out just a bit.  You are clear-headed, everything is fine, but you just don't have the same worries as you normally do.  For me, it feels like it blocks my reactions to that little voice in there that tells me "Plane's going down.  Does that guy have a bomb?  Turbulence!".  So while I can think those things, my brain doesn't react to them and spin my anxiety out of control, so I'm actually able to cope with whatever is happening.  My flights in and out of Miami were full of turbulence - pushing and dropping us, then pulling us back up - and I was not out of control with my panic attacks.  I didn't enjoy it, but I wasn't sweaty or white-knuckling the arm rests, as in past flights.  Calm, even, and along for the ride.  And it was so relaxing to be able to sit there and just exist, trusting the pilot and the aircraft to get us to the ground safely and at a steady pace.

So if you are like me, and you are super nutty about taking pills, try Xanax.  It's like my saviour, because now I find myself wanting to go to other places and explore the world around me.  I could never see myself being on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean before.  Now that I can control my fears, I'm ready to go back for more.