Are you up for a ride with my dark side?

So I’m still reading about the pork-packing effects of Paxil.  Haven’t found a single solitary definitive solution in all the hours I’ve spent lurking around webspace on the chat boards frequented by fat people with personality disorders.  Who write very disturbing yet amusing posts.

Anyway, I’m determined to make a solution of my own.  Just think, if I figure this out — that is how to lose weight without sacrificing the mostly calm psyche I’ve downed around 20 years worth of anti-anxiety meds to maintain — I will be able to sell my solution and become wealthy.   And therefore able to get a car that is cute and doesn’t have to be so dependable as my beater Honda (that just turned over 255,000 miles and will apparently go many miles without any engine oil, sort of like a camel, only metal and Japanese-American. ) And, with finally enough money leftover for meaningful  redistribution to the needy downtrodden, many of whom more than likely suffer the exact same disorders that I got rich on.

Trying to describe this dark side of mine is very difficult.  This is because acknowledging It gets me over- thinking about It, which It sometimes interprets as an invitation to assume the role of Boss of me.  But here goes …

Imagine two trains, running on parallel tracks, one on top of the other.  The top train is like a brand new Amtrak train — sleek and shiny, with comfortable clean cars, extra wide seats with new upholstery that hold people who bought tickets and want to go where the train is going.  There is a nice dining car and friendly Stewards in every cabin who see to the passengers’ comfort and enjoyment of the trip.  There is an wise and experienced Engineer driving the train and a gracious Conductor who merrily calls out the destinations as they approach, tells great stories about where the train has been and where it is going, and sings and plays the banjo.

The bottom train is weather-beaten, decrepit, graffitied on the outside, on the inside gloomy, dim, lit only by bare, flickering lightbulbs swinging from the ceiling.  Most of the seats have been torn out, the ones that remain are threadbare, filthy and comfortable as tree stumps.  The windows don’t open,  and the air inside is stale, damp, over-warm,  smelling faintly of gasoline.   There are no Engineer, Conductor, nor Stewards.  Sometimes there may be a few passengers, but mostly there are just shadows … vague, faceless threats lurking in dark corners.  The train bumps and grinds along the track, suddenly accelerating to impossible speeds, then just as suddenly jerking back to a crawl.   On this train there is no comfort, there is only dread.

The top train is my bright side – comfortable with life, going somewhere I want to get to, with people I want to get there with, mostly enjoying myself.  With my travelling companions Paxil and Xanax, this is me most of the time.

The bottom train is my dark side – moderate to severe anxiety,  sometimes coupled with some depression.  Bad butterflies, a bit of vertigo or sense of imbalance, a mild earthquake continuously rolling through my head.  Nameless, faceless fear.  And if the bottom train goes out of control, I can get tossed around inside and get thrown back  into the caboose,  dragged helplessly behind the train as it screams down the track, holding on for dear life.  That is the consuming, debilitating terror of panic.

The top train is where I try to stay, of course.  But some of its cars have trapdoors in the floors, and sometimes I fall through them and land in the bottom train.   Sometimes I fall through just because I have been staring down through the hole into the bottom train, in so much fear of ending up there that I get shaky and lose my balance and fall right in.    Other times I fall through for no reason – a  hole just appears out of nowhere and catches me by surprise.

The medications I’m on have saved my life, you see.  So now you can understand why I’m concerned that they cause weight gain.  It’s important to me to be able to lose weight and still keep them around.

3 responses to “Are you up for a ride with my dark side?

  1. I know absolutely nothing about the issues in this post. I can’t even imagine. I do know, however, that most of the physical ailments I have long suffered and tried to doctor out of my life have nearly completely disappeared by the change in my diet this last half year. That leads me to ask the question: could this mental/emotional darkness be mitigated by a change in your diet?

    Let’s talk specifically about caffeine, for instance. I was a diet Mt. Dew junkie. The thought of giving that up sent me back to bed with the covers over my head. But I knew that drinking that stuff triggered my appetite. And when the oncologist told me that caffeine was awful for my phyllodes tumor I made the choice to try to live without it. It was pretty tough for a few days, but I figured I’m tougher (and more stubborn). Physically I felt a lot better in less than a week. But mentally I felt incredible…stronger and more in control of my life and destiny, and that felt GREAT. It jazzed me in a way that not many other things ever have.

    Through the women’s ministry I work with I see so much hopelessness. It seems to me (again, no personal experience here, so please forgive me for practicing amateur therapist) that a component of depression is hopelessness. When you take control of something, no matter how small it may be in your life, and triumph, some of that hopelessness is vanquished. And once you have your toe in the door, if you want to badly enough, you can kick the damn door open and continue to fight for more and more control. Which, in turn, makes you feel better and better.

    You’re strong enough to do that. I know you! US Air Force Top 12….198? (I saw the magazine somewhere in my house not to long ago…amazingly it survived the tornado!) You’re certainly able. The question is: What are you willing to do about this? Nothing is really as hard as it appears once you make the decision that you want it more than anything else and go after it with the gifts God gave you. Yougottawanna. Period. I’ve been amazed, too, by the Helper Holy Spirit Jesus promised. He’s lived up to His name whenever I sincerely asked for what I think I need to breakthrough the walls I face.

    Praying for you…

    • One more thing, please pass this blog to anyone in your women’s ministry who are in middle age and struggling with whatever changes they are trying to make toward physical health, mental health. I would like to get more feedback from women of faith who have some of the same goals and desires that I have and who also believe that God has some tools for us. I would like to know and share the tools that Christian women have found to be helpful.

  2. Thank you Laurie! Of course, I know I am strong enough. And I know I can do just about anything I put my mind to. Wrapping my mind around giving up caffeine (coffee — I don’t drink any soda) , though, gives me a headache, not unlike caffeine withdrawals.
    I didn’t know about your phyllodes. I would like to know more.
    I also know that I can do all with His help and strength. That is what I remind Him, particularly in the midst of an anxiety episode. I remind God that He wired me this way, maybe not with anxiety specifically, but with a brain and body that somehow invites it. And with changes in my body I am confident that whatever malfunctions of my psyche that are associated with my weight may be resolved. Yet more reason to do it.
    Just trying to do it, and writing this blog, have given me a lot of enthusiasm and up-ness for it.

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