It’s a chilly drizzly day in Istanbul. Wintertime.
I’m warm and cozy inside at Starbucks, working, dreaming, and apologizing for past bad behavior. I’ve been absent, I know. But let me explain why. Oh, by the way, I have a friend keeping me company.
I know, unsanitary you might think. The upper management might frown upon this little guy’s visit. But it’s rather normal for the Cats of Istanbul to go where they want. I was here one morning when the staff seemed somewhat new to this location. A cat stood in the doorway meowing. He looked sternly at the baristas and waited impatiently. I smiled to myself. I knew he was waiting for his morning milk! But someone behind the bar didn’t receive the memo!
I’ve been absent. I apologize for that. I wasn’t really functioning well at all.
This year I’ve discovered I’m only human. I’ve had two vaccines and two booster shots. And still, I’m anxious. I made a couple of trips to a psychologist and was prescribed Xanax for anxiety. I don’t know what was worse, the anxiety or the idea of taking “the most dangerous drug in America.” I filled my first prescription, brought it home, and after a couple of days, without taking a pill, I flushed the month’s supply down the toilet!
Another couple of weeks passed and I couldn’t focus, write, or sleep properly. Back to the doctor. Another month’s supply. I did my research and I realized that this drug is very tightly controlled in Turkey. Benzos they’re called. But then most of you may already know all about this addictive drug. But I’ve always been anti-anything that alters my mind. I don’t smoke, can’t remember the last time I had a drink, and rarely take any drugs. The woman who owns the natural healing shop in Puerto Vallarta set up a regimen for me to follow for this exact problem. I bought the natural meds, and never took them. I’m seriously afraid of anything that might alter my mind. The last time I took prescription meds was after I’d been given 6 months to live in 2008!
After two or three weeks of my script, I was feeling normal, but the pills had made me super sleepy. Everything evened out quickly so I decided I was all better and I would wean myself off the Xanax by cutting the already low dose in half. I couldn’t function in the morning so I’d fall asleep on the couch. After almost six weeks, I was done with Xanax.
Today is day 9.
I’ve been doing well. When I feel “off” I do Tapping, a form of therapy I learned a few years ago. I can do it while walking down the street surrounded by people. I can sit at the lovely Galataport, the new Cruise Ship port along the ocean. It calms me immediately. This morning I could feel the anxiety rising but it was mild compared to before medication.
So this is why you haven’t heard from me.
I walk, I talk to myself, and end up somewhere in my neighborhood, writing. I have an outline for a new memoir, but up until last week, it was hopeless. I couldn’t focus. I could not write. I didn’t blog. I was overwhelmed with my emotional well-being or lack thereof. I did, however, find out I could gain endless points in Word Wars on my cell phone. So all was not a total loss.
A writer’s life can be a challenge in many ways. I always thought that famous authors did their best work in their darkest hours. I don’t think that’s true. Maybe they do their best drinking during those dark hours. And when they sober up, they write. But finally, I’m more than half-finished on my next manuscript, another memoir. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, I’ve been humbled. I bow down to those who have had to deal with emotional and mental illness. Please forgive me.