Tuesday, December 01, 2009


"We are all nervous to try because we are all afraid we might fail."

I wrote these very words last week in an e-mail to a friend; I was trying to diagnose her stuck-ness. (In my other career apparently I'm a psychiatrist.) And, being extremely well acquainted with stuck-ness, and all 'round aimlessness, and its cousins procrastination and insecurity, I took a wild-ass guess at what might be lurking behind the scenes: Fear.

It's the thing we're all afraid of!

Is the whole world wandering around in a state of fear?

How did we get like this?? OK, how did I get like this?

And what exactly am I afraid of?

The usual things, I guess. Success. Failure. Pain. Ridicule. Not measuring up. Conflict.

But it all boils down to rejection. I'm afraid that I'm not lovable. Period. END OF STORY.

Which is kind of stupid (also afraid of looking stupid).

Because really.

Most people are kind. Most people are not out to get other people, right? (RIGHT??!) Most people are too busy worrying about their own insecurities. It helps to remember this. It helps me remember that the important part of life is (to paraphrase St. Francis) not so much making sure you are loved, as making sure you remember to love.

Sigh. St. Francis. I know where to set the bar!

Some of you know I have HAD a little problem with anxiety, for which I take this:

I've spent my life being afraid, but I have also spent my life doing things in spite of my fears. It's a bold and brave way to live. It's really the only way to live.

I'm faced with some new things at the moment, and they are kind of scary. I find myself thinking more often about my own and others' mortality. I figure, if I'm lucky (or unlucky, depends on your perspective), maybe I have another 40 years here on earth. And I don't intend to spend them living in fear.

So, I'm tapering off Klonopin. I've been doing this for months, and I can tell you it's no picnic. After I decided to quit, I learned that Klonopin is highly addictive. So, yes, it turns out I'm an addict.

I'm experiencing, and have been experiencing, a lot of side effects from tapering, including racing thoughts, insomnia, impaired vision, obsessions, and this weird-ass thing where I can't quite feel my legs when I run—I think they call it depersonalization? I dunno. I also often feel like I'm looking at myself as an observer (don't I sound fun to be with??!)

(I'll add the usual disclaimer here that I am not suggesting that I have any idea what is right for anyone else when it comes to psychotropic drugs. I don't.)

I'm ready to experience the discomfort of fear and anxiety full-on. I know I'm a stronger person now, a much happier person now, than I was when I started taking this stuff.

All I can tell you is that this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to face. But, on the up side, I'm confident I can get through it, and I'm willing to take the time I need to get through it.

I'm ready to face life without a shield.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Petraruns said...

Wow. That is a BRAVE post. And a truthful one. I think many of us let fear get in the way of what we want and need (a friend told me that recently - what a wise person she is).

For what it is worth (and my pharmacological knowledge is NONE) I think you are doing the right thing going without the drug and facing things. But it must be very scary and you are very BRAVE for doing it. The interesting thing, however is that you decided to do this which means that besides your fear you also have a current of confidence growing in you - confidence in your own judgment and what is right for you. That is what I believe is commonly referred to as "growth". As in "personal growth". You are "growing". Scary as that may sound.

Anyone who is truly sentient and aware will feel fear. But your decision to follow this path and to blog about it is brave, not fearful. You are not alone dearest Jeanne - I, for one, am watching and learning and cheering you on. You my darling, are Jeanne Fierce.

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Ooh, depersonalization. I didn't know it had a clinical name. A friend described it as "the unreal feeling", like she was watching it on TV.

Scary stuff, Jeanne. I'm proud of you for pushing through it.

Judi said...

oh girl. what a great great post. you always say what it is i am thinking. and WOW! i am proud of you for tapering off the klonopin. it IS hard. and it can be SCARY! i had to sit in a hospital for 2 weeks while i detoxed because i had seizures. BE CAREFUL. just get through each day. one day at a time. and email me if you need anything sista'!

Anne said...

Good for you to confront your fears, including the one involving those little pills. I think Stevie Nicks was addicted to those too. Good news: She said once she was clean, she dropped major weight.

21stCenturyMom said...

Wow - that is so brave! So very brave. I hope the symptoms subside soon - very soon. Except maybe the depersonalization because I would love NOT to feel my legs when I run - handy! ha ha ... just injecting the profound with a little humor.

You are brave and you are loved - keep remembering that.

David said...

You call me whenever you need a wise ass or loving tender conversation. I am good at both and am certainly willing to help you any time you need it.

jeanne said...

Wow. I am truly the luckiest girl on earth. What terrific friends I have. I have to admit, I was (what else, sigh) scared to post this. I wrote it two weeks ago and then sat on it!

And now you've all gone and made me cry.

I love you all very much indeed.

MJ said...

You've got serious guts woman! You've inspired me before, and you're doing it again. I salute and support you.

LBTEPA said...

You are BRAVE and AMAZING and AMAZINGLY BRAVE (((((HUGS)))) - anything you need, just ask ((hugs))

RB said...

Good for you! You don't need that stuff. I'll be in touch soon. Crazy around here.

Jo, UK said...

Long-time lurker moved to comment - I really enjoy your blog and look forward to your new entries, which are always written with humour, honesty and courage.

I salute your bravery with what you're doing; you've strengthened my resolve NOT to start taking tablets for anxiety.

I tell myself that life with all its ups and downs, is best experienced in its raw state, if you possibly can (not that you are worth any less if you can't).

Thank you for talking about it. The world just got a little smaller (in a good way).

Neese said...

it's also true that on your journey to be drug free you *may* need another medication to help you along the way, at least for a bit.. seeing a psych to discuss this IS ok, no shame in pills but I certainly do applaud your efforts in the goal of detoxing from Klonipin that does seem a necessity at this point.

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