Prilosec Is My Xanax

Prilosec Is My Xanax

Brace yourself. A rare serious post from this small cog. In a recent post I alluded to the fact that I had issues and that I’d be writing about them soon. Even though I said soon, I’ve kind of been putting it off. No longer. While I’ve never come right out and said it on this blog, I haven’t hidden the fact that I suffer from bouts of depression. The BIG D has currently got me in its grip again, so this seems like a perfect time to write about it. The BIG D is what I call it. You might think that the D stands for Depression, but it doesn’t. It stands for DICK. Because my depression is a BIG ASS MOTHER FUCKING LYING DICK! But the BAMFLD just doesn’t read well and certainly does not feel good rolling off the tongue. So the BIG D it is.

Depression is actually a relatively new thing for me. While I always had what I now know is social anxiety (called shy or weird when I was a kid), I’ve been pretty much a happy person all my life. Sure, I had periods of feeling sad, but they were usually linked to some specific event such as family problems or a break up. I was sad about those things but they didn’t affect my happiness for other things, and they didn’t last very long. However, around five years ago this deep dark soul crushing feeling of despair dropped on me like a ton of bricks and I’ve been dealing with the results ever since.

I had no clue what was going on the first time it happened. I had absolutely no reason to be sad, yet I was. Furthermore, things that used to give me great joy did nothing for me anymore. It was near Christmas time and I just marked it down as the winter blues. I’d heard about those before so that must be what it was right? Luckily it didn’t last too long and I muddled through. I had a few more short bouts where the BIG D grabbed me but I managed to make my way through those too. Never saying a word to anyone about what was going on inside me. Keeping my appearances up, at work, near my friends, and even my family, including my wife. Where I grew up, men did not talk about their problems. You were not a man if you admitted any type of weakness.   So I zipped my lip and kept a tough exterior.

Then the year from hell came. 2014 was the worst year of my life. The BIG D came down on me and would not let go. For nearly a whole year I was at the lowest of all lows I had ever experienced. Serious thoughts of suicide were with me on a daily basis. I did research on the best ways to end it. I reviewed my life insurance policy to confirm that I didn’t have a suicide clause so my family would be financially taken care of. I even had a plan. My wife had to have two hip replacements that year and she needed my constant help for most of the year to recover. So as soon as the doctor gave her a clean bill of health and she was back to 100%, I was going to end it all.

Something else happened early that year. I found The Bloggess. I came across Jenny Lawson’s blog in search of something humorous to read. When I started reading what she wrote it was hilarious and it helped a little. However, as I read on I soon discovered that she too suffered from depression and had many helpful things to say about it. The most important thing she taught me was that depression lies! It tells you that you are worthless. That there is no purpose for your existence. That nobody really cares about you. It will tell you any lie to keep you feeling like an absolute piece of shit.

Knowing all this and seeing her tribe of followers, some of whom had the same issues, really helped. But even with that, it was a 50/50 chance that I was still going to take my own life when my wife was back on her feet again. Luckily for me, shortly before that, the darkness lifted and I no longer wanted to end it. What followed could only be described as the best year of my life. Pretty much all of 2015 I was happy, energetic, enthusiastic about things again, and it was great! However, in the back of my mind I kept feeling like I was on that first big hill of a roller coaster. The one that takes the longest to get up. 2015 was that hill and I knew sooner or later I was going to crest the apex and plunge back down. Early in 2016 it happened. But instead of a quick plunge it was almost like a slow motion drop. Every day I just got a little less happy. Lost a little more energy. Became a little less enthusiastic. Before I really even knew it, I was back at the bottom again.

Then late one Friday night I was sitting on my couch by myself, feeling like I was done with the whole life thing. I took out my phone and tweeted the following:

@TheBloggess taught me that depression lies. But I don’t think I can take the lies anymore.

I put the phone in my pocket and walked to my bedroom to get my gun. Just as I reached out to open the cabinet it was stored in, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out and there was a tweet from Jenny telling me that I could take the lies, that I could hold on, and please don’t go. She then called on her tribe to help. I had been on Twitter for several months and made a few tweets and played a few hashtag games but I never really interacted with anyone on there before. What happened next was miraculous. Over the course of the next 5 hours or so I got well over 100 tweets from tribe members encouraging me, telling me to hang around, telling me that I was loved. I also connected with people feeling the same way I was that night and they got help too. The Bloggess and her tribe members literally saved my life that night.

I became a part of that tribe and in the days to follow I continued to receive encouragement. I also gave it to others. We all did our best to keep ourselves and others from going. This gave me the strength to get through that fight with the BIG D and eventually I came out of it again. I wish I could say I kept up with the tribe as much as I did in those early days, but I can’t. I feel guilty about it when so many helped me, but since the election I can hardly stand Twitter now. There is too much screaming on there from both sides and it acts as major triggers for me. So it’s kind of ironic that the medium that helped save my life is now a place that can cause me to slip back down. I will still get on there from time to time to play a hashtag game or check on the tribe, or to post a link to my latest blog post, but I am mostly absent. I’m sorry #TheBloggessTribe. Maybe one day I’ll be able to be a regular visitor again.

It’s been a long way around but let me get to the reason I titled this post as I did. I’ve oft wondered if there is medicine out there that would help me. I’ve read about how people use these drugs to help with the effects of depression. Would that work for me? I should find out, but there is only one problem. In order to get these meds I have to actually talk to a doctor/therapist. My social anxiety makes it near damn impossible for me to doing anything that makes me the center of attention. That’s pretty much a given if you are going to talk to someone about your depression. You have to be the center of attention. Just writing about it now is tying my stomach all up in knots. How do you explain that to a concerned family member that is only trying to help when they say, “You should talk to a professional.” It’s hard to explain that talking to a professional about not being able to talk to people and being depressed is kind of a vicious circle. Hell, I have been to marriage counseling before and I was barely able to make it through that when I had a partner to take some of the lime light.

Many years ago I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux and when my anxiety/depression starts ratcheting up, the reflux follows suit and my stomach hurts and my chest gets all tight. So I start taking Prilosec to treat it. This does a pretty good job, so I began to pretend that the Prilosec was Xanax and I was taking it to deal with my anxiety/depression. It really only works as a short term solution but it’s the closest I can come to taking any meds for my mental condition. Maybe one day that will change.

One thing that does help is when I get out on the trail and start hiking. I don’t know what it is, but there is some type of calm that comes over me and soothes my soul when I am out there. When it’s over and I come back, the effects can linger for a few days but that’s about it. Unfortunately, I am not normally in a position to do any long term hiking other than day hikes or overnight weekend trips. So this solution is only a temporary fix. I am planning a two week hike on the Appalachian Trail in September and I am hoping that big a dose will be enough to kick this current struggle with the BIG D. That is, if I actually go. I’ve been trying to go on this two week hike for two years now. Once it got cancelled due to a changing work schedule. The other time it got cancelled was because the BIG D told me I wasn’t up to the challenge. That I would suck at it. That I couldn’t possibly get prepared for it. I listened and I bailed. This time I was/am determined to see it through. My son is going to join me and we’ve been having a great time planning and getting prepared for it. That was until the BIG D showed up again with all the same lies. Now I am beginning to lose my enthusiasm for the hike and I often fear I’m going to let it derail me again. I can’t let it do that. I. CAN. NOT! And I won’t this time. I need to walk myself back to happy. Who knows? I might even run across a fellow hiker who is a therapist.

Sorry about this long depressing yarn about depression and dicks and stuff. If you read it all the way through, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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18 thoughts on “Prilosec Is My Xanax

  1. It’s interesting that you have trouble being the center of attention in person but, luckily, you can use your blog to talk about these things. Let me emphasize that: your blog is an excellent way for you to communicate with others. I hope it’s therapeutic. I hope it helps you to know that there are those of us who enjoy and appreciate what you have to offer and want you to keep doing it for a long time. I hope it might be a way to find a therapist who might work with you via text or other electronic means.
    I’ve said “I hope” so many times I’ve started to sound like Morgan Freeman at the end of The Shawshank Redemption.
    I look forward to seeing pictures and hearing stories from your Appalachian Trail hike in September. This is not an “I hope”. This is something I know will happen.

    1. Ha! I love the Shawshank reference. Thank you for the encouraging words Chris. You are right. This blog has opened up a whole new avenue for me to communicate and it is very therapeutic. Thanks to you and others like you who connect to people in this world, I can find the courage to say things that I would never say out loud. I look forward to writing about my experience on the hike and sharing it with you all!

  2. *Hug* Don’t let the Big D lie to you. Show Big D that you won’t let it control you and what you think. If that two week trip hike is something you’ve been looking forward too for the past couple of years, everytime BIG D attempts to lie to you about it you grab it by the balls and say “NO! I am going on this trip whether you like it or not!” I know it’s easier said than done but it’s worth a try. Its evident that this trip means a lot to you so you definetly need to go and take amazing videos and photos so you can share with the rest of us! This trip is something good and fun to look forward too.

    Depression is something that can affect anyone at anytime and it’s not fair when it doesn’t play nicely. You can say I’ve had plenty of dark and difficult days. I’m not someone who likes to talk about my feelings to often either. I try to hide the dark days and show a different face around others. Sometimes I think no one would ever believe me if I said I was sad or depressed at times since I always seem so full of life and happy. I even try really hard to cheer up everyone around me and keep the atmosphere positive and joyful. Honestly, a lot of times the hapiness is just a mask over how I truely feel inside. I’m afraid that if I take the mask off I will crumble and fall apart more. It’s my little glimmer of hope and my way to fight back my negative feelings. What helps me sometimes is finding projects and/or activities that keep me occupied and distracted. Helps prevent the mind from going down a deep hole. There are times that doesn’t always work so I try to think of a positive memory or thought to counter every negative feeling or thought that comes my way. Fighting with negative thoughts and feelings is a constant battle and not easy but there is always hope to win the war.

    But what ever you do, don’t ever let your light burn out into the darkness! Keep your light shining inside because there are people that care about you, family and friends, that I know will help and support you in a heart beat when things get rough.
    SewCraftNbead recently posted…Christmas in JulyMy Profile

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words. Now you know why I am sometimes so moody at work and other times it’s all fun and games. Also, thank you for the revelation about yourself. Not many people would believe you if you said that out loud, but it just goes to show that you never know what’s going on inside a person. If I can ever help you just ask. And a final thank you for the part your are playing to allow me to go on this hike.

      1. It does explain a lot from what I noticed over time. I’m here for you if you need anything and I’m super excited for you to finally go on this hike you’ve been talking about for so long. No excuses, you are going especially since I took one for the team. 😀
        SewCraftNbead recently posted…Christmas in JulyMy Profile

  3. Hey Ari!
    I’m really glad you shared this post. I know it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there. It might just be me, but as guys (read-“manly men”) the stigma of depression is far stronger than for others. Its “weakness” or something equally unpalatable. But I’ve just passed the 7-year anniversary of my first of several suicide attempts. I’m beginning to see things differently. Recognize that making it all the way through the day is a really friggin big deal sometimes. Most people won’t get that, but we do. It takes strength. Takes guts. Takes all the friggin “manly man” stuff I’ve got. But we do it.

    So kudos to you my friend.

    And you already know, I’m a huge Jenny fan. I’ve also been incredibly engaged with a Facebook group called “Blogess Pals.” It’s gotten to crazy for me to keep up with recently, but I think I know what you mean about finding comfort and encouragement and connection in a community that we wouldn’t otherwise fit into. When my funks get really bad, this is one of the places I turn when I’m ready to start peopling again.

    And hiking… yeah. THATS a great drug of choice.

    I’m really glad we found each other my friend. Here’s to making all the way through another day.

    1. Thank you so much Gabe. You hit the nail on the head about the “manly man” stigma. I grew up that way thinking it was normal, but I am learning different.

      You also gave me an idea just to focus on one day at a time. Stop worrying about what’s coming down the pipe. I’m going to give that a try.

      I’m so looking forward to injecting some of that “hiking” drug into my system. Thanks for crossing my path my friend.

  4. Yay, Jenny!
    Talk to all kinds of people. When you talk to a tribe of people who have similar issues, they will say “Dude, we understand”, and the world will be better. When you talk to people who don’t have similar issues, they will say “Dude, help me understand” and the world will be better too. You know how to contact me. Type things. I will type things back.

    1. Thank you Carolina! That certainly seems the norm when you can talk to people online and it helps so much. It’s the ones you talk to in real life that say, “Just stop being sad.” that are not helpful. I’m so glad to have met many people in the blogosphere that can understand or want to understand.

      And I will take you up on your offer to type things to you. However, if you really want to help, START BLOGGING AGAIN! Is my guilt trip working at all? 🙂

  5. I actually kinda like the BAMFLD acronym, personally. When I blog about my own D, <that is how I label it (for the most part). But I've found that a BAMFLD is a rarity for me. Most of my D episodes are just… D.

    I'm glad your BAMFLD lifted when it did; I'm so grateful Jenny heard your call for help and the tribe stepped in, too. I spend an excessive amount of time on Twitter sometimes, but I know that I don't always "catch" all of the calls for help. That's what makes the tribe so great, tho. We won't interact with everyone, all the time, but we WILL interact with whomever is there in that moment, and we are LEGION.

    DEFINITELY punch this BAMFLD in its lying dick, and go on that hike with your son, and take lots of pics & video to let us know you came out on the other side!
    emelle recently posted…Travel, Part the Fourth (of Four Parts)My Profile

    1. I laughed out loud every time you used BAMFLD in that comment! Thanks for the chuckles. The tribe is so awesome isn’t it? They have saved countless lives. I will punch it in the dick and go on the hike. I just spent the weekend with my son and we did some more preparation. So it’s getting closer to a done deal. Thanks for the pick me up this comment gave me emelle!

  6. I also suffer from the Big D. I have suffered on and off since high school. I hit bottom when my friend’s murder two years ago. I also was dealing with some personal issues. The last few months have gotten a lot easier. I have discovered essential oils that really help. I am also a fan of Jenny’s. So glad she was there for you. Love & Peace.

    1. I can’t imagine what going through something like that must be like. I’m very sorry to hear that. I’m glad things are getting easier and that you found something that can help. Jenny and the tribe are great huh? Thank you so much for the comment and take care.

  7. Ari. I cannot tell you how mad I am for missing this post, but I am so happy I checked in on your blog today to get caught up. The courage it must have taken you to write this post astounds me, and I could not be more grateful you did. Anxiety and depression are good friends of mine; the problem is, I keep it locked up inside and choose not talk about it and cry alone to spare those around me the answer to the questions they would surely ask, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong. I DON’T KNOW WHY I AM FUCKING CRYING!’ I understand, and I am with you, Ari.
    2014 was the worst year of my life, but like you, I battled hard to overcome the pain and agony I was forced to endure on a daily basis. Jenny Lawson has taught me that there is no shame in struggling with these things and that it is ok to be me. And it speaks volumes about the person she is that she tweeted you that night and stopped you in your tracks. To say that I am extremely thankful she did that night is an enormous understatement. I am so motherfucking glad she did. You are a beautiful soul, and it means so much to me that in this grand blogging world somehow our paths crossed. If you ever need someone to talk to or just want to shoot the shit, you reach out to me. tanya_klein12@hotmail.com.
    Go on that hike, Ari, Make time for you. Your bliss awaits you out on the trail.
    We are here, Ari. And that means everything.

    Tanya recently posted…the incurable potty mouthMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much for this comment Tanya. Your words mean a great deal to me. It was a difficult post but one I felt I needed to do. There is great comfort in knowing people are going through the same thing as you and understand. That’s why I felt I should get my story out there in case it could help others. While knowing you go through the same stuff is heart breaking, there is also good feelings associated with knowing you understand. Isn’t it the most frustrating thing in the world not to be able to tell anyone why you are sad? A lot of people don’t understand that it’s not something we choose to feel it is just something that happens for no tangible reason.

      I am also very glad our paths crossed and thank you so much for your invitation. I extend the same to you. I’m going on that hike if it takes the last bit of will in me. It’s coming up soon and the BIG D is trying to talk me out of it, but I am not going to let it. Thanks again and you take care!

    1. Thanks! It’s not the therapists themselves that freak me out, it’s actually having to talk to them and be the center of attention. I bet you are a great therapist with hardly any douchery at all! 🙂

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