Pretty early on in my life I discovered there was pill for anxiety. Everyone knew such pills were only for housewives trying to numb out their lives (think Jacqueline Suzann and Valley of the Dolls). I never knew anyone who took them or where to get them had I wanted them. Still, I wished there were something to take away the pain. You know, a magic pill that would cure me. An “anti-me” pill: anti-anxiety, anti-depression, anti-everything.
I was living in married students’ housing in Ann Arbor, MI when I met Beth and her husband. She was another musician and he was a scientist in the field of pharmaceuticals. Beth and I hung out a lot. Seems we could commiserate on a lot of things. Having babies and raising kids while our husbands were busy working and going to school; being super-sensitive and hyperaware every moment of the day; feeling overwhelmed by it all, as well as being two wonderfully loving, if self-deprecating, women.
One day Beth told me her husband and his team had developed this new drug called Prozac, which was supposed to help relieve the symptoms of depression. Well, count me in, right?
Drugs? Me? Never! I should be able to deal with my own issues (from the panic attacks to the generalized fear to the postpartum depression) by myself. Otherwise, I was weak and unworthy.
Okay, so now it’s 15 years later. I’ve been divorced from that husband and remarried to a wonderful man who was at least as sensitive as I was. Incredible! He wasn’t scared off by my intensity or my tears. In fact, he could go there as fast as I could. It was a marriage made in heaven.
And yet . . .
I still suffered internally. I was afraid of being a bad mother and a bad partner. Afraid of not doing or being enough. And on and on and on. There was no stopping me. Just think of all the energy I used being so anxious that could have been put to another use. By then, Prozac had been on the market all that time and, in the back of my mind, I really, really wanted to see if it could help me. Still, “taking drugs” was a Very Bad Thing To Do. It meant you were really all those things people said you were. And none of them were good.
Finally, though, at some point, I realized I had reached a point that no matter what my external circumstances, my internal voice was struggling to stay sane. So, yeah, I went to the shrink and got myself some good old-fashioned Prozac. The incredible thing was that within days I was getting out of bed in the morning for the first time in my life that I could recall with actual enthusiasm. Gone was the “Omigod, another day, groan” thing. GONE.
My husband was horrified. I’d been so good at keeping my depression secret that he could not believe I “needed something like that” to fix me. Wasn’t I happy with him? Didn’t we have a good life?
I tried to explain my situation in terms of science. “You see,” I told him, “it’s just that it’s a chemical thing and there’s’ really nothing I can do about it. I was born that way. It’s not psychological, it’s chemical, and I need help to be okay.”
He was not happy. He felt he wasn’t enough.
I wasn’t happy. I felt I wasn’t enough. Plus, I knew now that I was truly broken.
I kept the fact that I was “taking drugs” secret, much as I’d kept my state of being secret. Inside I felt ashamed and guilty even though I’d never felt so free from the weight that had kept me down all those years.
In a twist of fate worthy of a fairy tale, it wasn’t until the death of my husband Randy that everything became clear.
To Be Continued . . . .
Read Part 2 of HSPs and Anti-Everything Drugs in an upcoming post.
“I ordered the pepperoni and onion pizza,” said my husband a few weeks prior to his passing and after one of his longer and longer rests in his big armchair. “I saw myself at this place called the Gateway Café. I was told that it’s the place where all beings hang out to choose where they’re going to go and who they’re going to be their next time around as humans. You get to decide your next lifetime just like ordering off a menu.”
“Wow,” I said. “But I’m thinking coming back might not be a choice I’d make. I mean, it’s been pretty rocky this time.”
“Exactly,” he said. “They told me we’re really all vacationing angels—spirit that wants to experience being human. As energetic beings, the idea of being human, mortal beings in biodegradable human suits with all the magnificent senses we enjoy, it feels like a vacation.”
I thought about it. Here my husband is dying and talking about how being human is supposed to feel like a vacation. Although I dutifully jotted down a few notes in the notebook we were keeping of his ideas, the only thing I heard in my head was, “If this were really a vacation, we’d both be having a lot more fun—and, oh, BTW, you wouldn’t be dying.”
I kept that part to myself.
12 Years Later
There was a lot of grieving from then to now. A lot of life and living packed into what felt like at first more like an endlessly scorched spiritual terrain until the rains came and there was verdant abundance once again. I’ve learned about living alone and living without a partner. I’ve experienced the massive benefits of self-discovery through meditation. But most importantly, I’ve learned what it truly means to live as a “vacationing angel.”
This philosophy has stood by me through thick and thin since Randy’s passing. Sure, it took a while. “Vacation” isn’t usually the first word you think of when someone dies and you can barely climb out of bed every day. Yet, with his ongoing prodding and poking, and my continued efforts at listening to him from the other side of the veil, the message began to make more and more sense.
Here’s the way my reasoning went.
For many years the only real thoughts swimming around in my head sounded like this: “What’s the point? What’s the purpose of being human? What’s MY purpose for being here?” Not reassured by the obvious dearth of answers, I continued along a path where nothing--nothing—made any sense. It wasn’t until I began reading books like Conversations with God that my eyes opened. Suddenly, there was another option for looking at life, death, and being-ness. Another option for living with purpose that included more than a decision about which career path to follow.
Embracing (remembering, one might say) the idea that we have all made our contracts before we live our first, second, or thousandth human lifetime opened the door to a whole new world. If I agreed to the contracts with my mother, my father, my sisters, my friends, then how could I be angry at them or disappointed in them or blame them for anything?
My contract = My responsibility. It’s as simple as that. Navigating that lifetime’s contract, however, can be pretty darn challenging because we tend to get stuck in the “why” of it all.
If I accept that we are all one energetically, which I do, then when we “die,” we simply take on a different energetic frequency and state, the way heated water turns to steam. We’re still here, but in a different form. I have always believed that when we’re in that different form—in the non-physical—so, why not imagine we’re somewhere like the Gateway Café? Some place where we have and hold an awareness that goes beyond the physical and yet offers us an outline for the physical world we choose? Some place where we have and hold a sense of selflessness along with self-full-ness that propels us to enter the physical realm for another lifetime?
“I am a Vacationing Angel, spirit in human form.
I chose to be here.
I will make the most of it while I’m here.”