It's been a little over a month since I started taking Paxil.
I went into this with no expectations except negative ones. I thought I would have to sacrifice certain parts of me in order to make the bad parts go away. I was afraid to lose my edge, or my ability to form creative thoughts. I was afraid of becoming a zombie. An anxiety free zombie. What a trade-off.
Now, a month and a week later, I've passed those hurdles. At first I was zoned out, I felt stoned all the time and I had a multitude of side effects. The most disturbing thing was I felt complacent. But, like many people told me, that phase passed. And here I am.
I am free of anxiety attacks. No more sitting on my couch or in my car gasping for air and thinking that I am going to die on the spot.
I no longer wake up at night choking, thinking my throat has closed up, unable to breathe. I sleep soundly. I sleep better and longer. I still have wicked dreams and nightmares, but that's ok.
I no longer live my life in a rush. Observations from other people: I walk slower. I take my time. I talk slower. I have more patience. I don't lose my temper as often. I'm not as quick to be argumentive or defensive.
My passive/aggressive behavior is gone. I don't pick fights and then cry that people are always fighting with me. I don't cry at the drop of a hat. I don't prolong arguments or engage in screaming matches for no reason.
I don't feel the need to drive like a maniac. I'm not in that big of a rush anymore. I don't curse at other drivers or cut people off in my infinite need to get anywhere as quickly as possible.
I don't worry as much. Before, I worried about everything, including worrying. I am not constantly in a state of panic. I don't become frantic over every little thing. The world is not going to end because I can't find the cover to the soda. I know that now.
I can make decisions. Instead of contemplating every single possible tangent and outcome and eventuality when faced with a decision, I just make it. I no longer stand in the bread aisle at the supermarket for twenty minutes while debating whole wheat vs. white. The kids come to me with a question or request and I am no longer wishy-washy. I make a decision and I stick to it. I follow through on things. I complete my work one project at a time without feeling the need to do 50 things at once.
The side effects have waned. I no longer feel like I'm in a trance. As a matter of fact, I feel more alive than I have in years. The aches and pains I felt at first are gone. The urge to sleep all day and night is finally abating. The only thing left is the jaw clenching, but I'll deal with that. It's a good trade-off.
I like to think that I still have my edge, though it's somewhat refined now. I like to think that I am still creative, that I can still form coherent thoughts and put them into words. I like to think that I'm still snarky or funny at times and that I haven't mellowed enough to be complacent. I like to think that this site hasn't changed much, that my rants and writing are still what they were before March 12, but without so much simmering anger and bitterness. While those traits may have made for good posts, they were poisoning my soul.
Things are different now, but the world around me is still the same. I'll always have something to be angry or bitter about. I just won't let it consume me anymore.
Yes, things have changed. I like it.