Ode to the prescription pad.


Oh, drugs. How I can’t decide if I love or hate you. Legal, of course. Prescribed to me by doctors whose faces blur into one string of detached concern.

I’ve been off and on dozens of prescriptions, though. Every time I move, I have a medication bottle purge. I dig out all the nearly full or mostly empty prescription bottles and I toss them. Fortunately, my last two or three moves have been bottle purge free.

This time of year aggravates the already barely tolerable level of anxiety that is always with me. Usually, the one drug I take for it manages it. (One which is, thank god, available in the generic.) But this time of year, the ability I’ve developed to talk myself down from the throes of an anxiety attack doesn’t work as well.

Practically, this makes my life pretty miserable. Working is difficult, since the thought of even checking my email sometimes fills me with utter dread. The instinct we sex workers are honed to rely on goes haywire. I have no idea if the knot in my stomach is from something suspicious an email tipped off, or if it’s just the usual state of being in Janeland. (God, it’s weird when I refer to my life as “Janeland”.)

Here’s another confession, since I seem to lack all filter: I hate flying. You’d think I’m okay with it, considering how much I’ve done it. Nope. Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that each time I fly, I’m increasing my chances of dying in an airplane crash. I have a friend who has this desire to, since we all have to shuffle off, be shuffled off by a plane crash. Not me.

And I hate airports. I used to love them. I used to love watching other people, reading trashy magazines, and sipping my outrageously expensive Starbucks creation. No longer. And I always spend too much time in them. I’m always there at least two hours before check-in because that’s what your ticket says to do.

I had this doctor somewhere along the line who saw fit to write me a bunch of prescriptions for serious drugs. Like Leave It to Beaver era mommy’s little helper kind of drugs. Some for sleep, some for the anxiety. There’s this popular sleeping drug out there, which shall remain nameless, that has the side effect of sleep eating.

Occasionally, I really do need these drugs. Or at least I think I do. Such as when, traveling over the holidays, every flight is canceled and I spend a good sixteen hours in the airport. Or when the flight I finally get on is landing during a thunderstorm.

The problem with these drugs is that they are highly addictive. This is usually because after you stop taking them, the anxiety either just feels worse, or is worse. Washing the dishes at my sink just now, I fought to breathe. I thought about taking the drugs.

I’m not sure why doctors are so quick to over-prescribe these kinds of drugs.  When I had my wisdom teeth out, I was prescribed a hardcore painkiller. I was in a lot of pain, but the doctors didn’t exactly make it clear to take the drugs as needed, sparingly. Instead, the prescription was explicit: two every four to six hours. This led to vomiting. This led to different hardcore painkiller. This led to more vomiting. And so on. Until I decided that something over-the-counter and toughing it out was better. (I have a high tolerance for pain everywhere except my mouth.)

I don’t want to not feel. I like feeling. I’ve come to a certain level of comfort with feeling things. The lows, the highs. Pain. Being able to feel is a reminder that after all, I’m alive, still human. But I don’t want to feel too much. Others thumb their noses at me, say that drugs are just a crutch. And I want to (and often do) say, Try having a panic attack. Love, hate, whatever. It’s the best I’ve got right now. That’s comfortable.


3 Responses to “Ode to the prescription pad.”

  1. I’m with you on the loathing of flying – and airports! I think some fear/anxiety about flying is natural – you’re in the air and have no control over things, so the fact that it’s statistically safer than driving hasn’t ever mattered much to me. I take a Klonopin when I fly so I don’t have a fit.

    • That’s exactly the thing for me: no control. And the fact that if you have a problem in the air, you have 30,000 feet between you and the ground.

  2. Flying has become less enjoyable for me post-9/11. I am not frightened that the same thing will repeat. But what I DO NOT like is all this airport security which, in the long run, doesn’t do shit. Too many experiments have proven the determined psychopath can and will slip something harmful past the TSA folks. I’m not the most patient person and this security dog-and-pony show obliterates my last nerve.

    The flying itself…I’m okay once we’re cruising and when we land. I hate, hate, HATE takeoffs. I understand the physics. I study physics for fun (especially astrophysics) but, I just feel man’s arrogance in slipping the “surly bonds of Earth” on a flight is totally going to pawn me one day. And yes, the whole control thing…being the control “enthusiast” I am.

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