It's all me, me, me...

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Vivre Sa Vie
London, United Kingdom
Well hello there. My name is Viv (well, it's not really), and, like a lot of people, I'm ever so slightly neurotic... I have panic attacks and anxiety (ranging from mild to pretty intense), on and off. I also have an amazing and quite high-profile job, so I'm choosing to remain anonymous on here. Not because I'm ashamed of the aforementioned neuroses, but because I don't want to be googled and for my colleagues to read bizarre posts about me breathing into a paper bag and popping lorazepam. I've worked for bookshops, mixed arts festivals and charities, and have met (and still meet!) a lot of famous, fetching and fantabulous people for my job. (See, anxiety doesn't need to stop you being AWESOME and doing what you want to do) Here's hoping you'll find some helpful hints and tips on here which will help you tackle the evil panic heebiejeebs... PS. I'm an Australian, but I live in the UK, and have adopted tea-drinking, pubs, Wodehouse, and a Welsh man.
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Sunday, 17 March 2013

The drugs DO work!

'Throw us another Prozac, Jeeves. there's a good fellow'
Take that Verve, you miserable one (well, two, at a push) hit wonders!

I can scarcely believe this even as I'm typing it, but I'm writing to you from the heady and unfamiliar plains of wellbeing, happiness and contentment! The shiny blue Prozac (blessed be its name) has finally kicked in, and I FEEL BETTER THAN I HAVE DONE FOR YEARS. Honestly. I genuinely think I feel like my old self again after four long, painful years of struggle in the wilderness. It's like I've stumbled across an oasis of peace and normality in the middle of a vast, parched desert. Where the hell am I?! What is this strange place of certainty, equanimity and tranquillity?! Have I been catapulted into someone else's mind?!  

I feel resilient, I feel capable, I feel cheerful. Seriously. I'm able to count my blessings - I feel deeply, humbly grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. I'm looking forward to things to come.  I'm able to laugh at things that would have had me sobbing two months ago. I'm not questioning every single tiny decision I make. I'm cheerful in the face of adversity, and am actually counselling my boyfriend out of a post-holiday slump! I'm happy for him to go away and leave me alone in the house. I don't feel scared. I don't feel afraid. I feel calm, I feel peaceful. I'm not perpetually thinking of death and disease and destruction (the three Ds?) and I FINALLY feel up to the task of living the life I've been given. I of course have still got enough natural pessimism and anxiety to immediately think 'A-ha! This will be exactly the moment Mr. 'I Love Irony' God will choose to strike me down!' BUT I don't fear it. I don't mind it. 

At a very basic level, I feel able to breathe again - both literally and figuratively. It's been weeks since I last felt like I couldn't get enough air, and even when I did last get a twinge of that, I knew that it would pass and I scarcely noticed it.

I feel like the world is a miraculous place. I'm struck by the amazing things all around me. I'm a born-again, Woody Allen-shaped butterfly emerging from a cocoon of horror and darkness! It makes me realise what a struggle my life has been for the last four years - a desperate, daily struggle to even hit the baseline of okay-ness. Each day felt like a fight to stay alive against overwhelming odds. 

But now it's as if a miracle has occurred - honestly, I want to write to the inventor of Prozac and swear my unwavering allegiance and eternal gratitude to him or her. I lay awake in bed last night feeling blissful in my own body - feeling safe, not worrying that it would stop, or break, or that I would stop breathing, or that something terrible would happen. I just smiled to myself, in the darkness, and thanked the universe for finally throwing me a break.  

Okay, so I get you're just never, ever going to read this blog again if I keep on in this saccharine vein (my favourite miserable songwriter starting writing crap songs as soon as he got married and thus happy), but I just wanted to let you all know that THERE IS HOPE! The drugs DO work, no matter what your paranoid-of-the-entire-medical-establishment hippy parents tell you, and they are bloody MIRACULOUS.  

You know how I know I'm not absolutely 100% cured? Because somewhere in the back of my mind, there's a little voice saying 'maybe you're having a weird reaction to the Prozac - maybe it's chemically-induced euphoria! Maybe this is a psychotic, manic swing and you're going to tumble right down into a depressed slump! Maybe you're going mad!' All of which reminds me that I haven't had a personality transplant, and a tiny, freaked-out, hypochondriac inner Woody Allen lives on within me. But there's a confident, blissful, brave, peaceful lady who completely dwarfs him, and I really, really like her a lot more.  

* My boyfriend wants me to add a footnote - he thinks it's important to make it clear that it's not all the drugs; he has just reminded me that I've done a hell of a lot of hard work to get to this point, and the drugs have just allowed me an easier context to put some of that into practice. I'll accept that. Now if you'll excuse me, I've just got to add another shiny gold relic to my glorious Prozac shrine... 

I don't understand! What is this sensation of warmth flooding over me?! Is this...could this really be... is this really how non-anxious people feel ALL THE TIME????!!!!'


Scarlett said...

I am SO pleased you have found something that works well for you, that's terrific. I do worry about you!! Maybe I'll try Prozac in winter, this winter has been pretty bad, but I seem to start with anxiety and then get depressed, it's confusing and then I think oh well, I'm all right really and just plod on.

My new job also has v.generous holiday so I may be able to squeeze out a full month in the sunshine next winter, in which case I wouldn't bother with pills.

you'd think with all these brain meds, we could learn to control the weather ;)

you really deserved a break, I'm glad you got one!! Hugs.

Pompom said...

What a wonderful post to read! I've actually got a bit sniffly reading it. I look forward to missing your posts as they become fewer and fewer -- though I really hope you'll keep writing as I think you've a really gift for being witty and amusing and deep all at once. Big Hugs!

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Thank you so much, Scarlett!! So pleased you've got a good holiday allowance at your new place - fly to LA and get all your serotonin goodness lying on a chaise longue outside the Chateau Marmont or something! Sorry to hear you've been feeling rough though. Do you fancy a meet-up at some point? Big hugs to you too :) x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Pompom - I can't tell you how much that means to me! That is so kind of you, and really makes me feel all sniffly too! I know I've been a bit slack recently, but I will definitely keep on writing now I've had such great responses from amazingly generous people like your good self! Massive hugs to you x

Karl Webster said...

Hello. I just discovered your blog very recently - I can't even remember how at the moment - but I like your writing a lot, and I'm very happy for you. Long may your well-being last!

Sandra Nimako - Boatey said...

I just love your posts! The way you right always cheers me up! I'm glad you found something for you! I agree about the drugs working, mine get me out of bed every morning so people can put a lid on it about them not working!!
Glad to hear you're doing well :) x

Sheryn said...

Happy for you Viv and I agree with the boyfriend that you have done alot of hard work. Keep writing because we love to hear from you.xx

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Hi Karl - welcome! And thanks so much for your lovely comments - they're much appreciated. Hope you find some useful info on here, and do get in touch if you have any questions. x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Hi Sandra - thanks so much! If you can find the right ones, the drugs certainly do make life a lot sunnier and more manageable. I am just so relieved to be having a break from the relentless stream of anxiety! Hope you're well as well, and enjoying the Easter break x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Sheryn - huge hugs for you. Thanks so much, and I certainly will keep writing! Take good care of yourself and have a lovely Easter (and that means eating lots of chocolate :) ) xx

Sand72 said...

Only just discovered you and no blogs for ages- let us know how life is treating you

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Sandra Nimako - Boatey said...

Oh I do wish you'd come back to us! I still read over your posts from time to time haha! Hope you're well x

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