Xanax is a magical substance akin to pixie dust or unicorn tears. Only, in recent months my drug of choice has become more like Snow White’s deadly Poisoned Apple than anything else Walt Disney has dreamt up. In truth, Xanax’s effects are incredibly similar to that of a Poisoned Apple (sans true love’s kiss), and though I adore the blissful cloud-like coma I enter each time I take 10x my prescribed dose, my family and friends no-longer support my Xanax abuse.
My most recent Xanax coma happened during my last blood test. Like any normal white girl, I dread blood tests. I don’t need more reminders of my own mortality and as my therapist knows after ten-years of on-and-off treatment, I have blood-needle-injection phobia. Some might say it’s a gift (I’ll never become a Heroin addict, though I can see the appeal of Heroin’s own blissful sleeping-spell), but for me, it means that medical procedures are extremely vexing. I avoid anything that is not mandatory. While being poked and prodded with an IV is less than exciting, it’s something I can tolerate occasionally; having my blood drawn, however, is it’s own beast entirely.
For one, it’s the phlebotomists themselves that scare me. What kind of person enjoys extracting blood all day? If I learned anything from Twilight it’s that Vampires are bat-shit crazy and I want nothing to do with anyone that sparkles unless he or she is a unicorn. And second, they never believe me when I say that I really don’t like getting my blood done (just like AAA doesn’t care that I’m having a panic attack after I lock my keys in the ignition). Normally I can handle blood tests after some heavy meditation, but a recent memory of the scene my last phlebotomist created after I collapsed has left me with more of a phobia than I had to begin with. The Phlebotomist screaming “I didn’t hurt her,” to the entire office when I broke into hysterical sobs and couldn’t stand was possibly more traumatic than catching a glimpse of the sixteen vials of blood that had been extracted from my blue-blood veins. No, Xanax became my only option for future tests.
It had been a year since said traumatic event and I knew I was due to check on some of the things that can fuck-with a twenty-three year-old’s health (STD’s, Thyroid issues, etc.). My doctor called in the order and I was told I could have my blood drawn at any time. Any time was the problem, since everyone knows that infinite choices only make one more indecisive. I knew that unless I was semi-buzzed, I would never be able to follow-through with the procedure. So I tried to be responsible, I got the day off work and got a line-up of friends who would be available to drive me to my appointment (and supervise me). My drug of choice would, of course, be Xanax (since cannabis would only make the procedure more uncomfortable), and I swallowed two 2mg bars (twice my prescribed amount but well in-league with what I normally take to ignore my problems). The 4mg I took initially was not my fatal flaw. No, my poisoned apple came in the form of a trifecta of prescription bottles (Xanax, Ativan, and “mystery pills”) that I brought with me to the appointment in my inebriated state. “Just bring them all,” I had told myself, like a hoarder afraid of parting with her precious possessions.
Despite my light inebriation, I continued to pop the pills. It was more of by habit than conscious thought and my awareness began to dwindle. I was scared. Terrified. And nervous. Who’s to blame a girl for trying to calm down? In all honestly I have no idea how much benzos I took, I’ve only been told by my friend Tauro that I was popping them like tic-tacs and had absolutely zero chill. I also wanted to pick up my glasses, he told me, and I dragged him to the fourth story of the Kaiser Hospital to pick them up. What I neglected to mention, however, was that I was also going to try on every single pair of glasses on display. That took an hour, according to Tauro, and he was less than pleased when we finally travessed the halls in search of the Phlebotomists’ layer. We found it, apparently, though Tauro said I asked five people for directions (two were the same person). Honestly, has Tauro ever babysat? Everyone knows not to let a two-year-old lead the way (and Juanita is essentially the same thing).
When we got to the lab I loudly asked the woman at the counter for a number. Tauro said that pointed to a stack of tickets and asked me to wait my turn. I lost my number twice and kept asking when I’d be called. When it finally was my turn, the Phlebotomist took my blood. I, of course, bore him/her with the story of my benzo inebriation (assuring him that I was prescribed) – I’m a very vocal and honest person if you haven’t noticed by now. I am not sure if this made the Phlebotomist laugh, (as Tauro did not find this ordeal amusing when he retold it to me) though I assume that any other human being would find an inebriated girl getting her blood done absolutely hilarious and in need of some Kardashian-like attention.
I was understandably disoriented (I asked the Phlebotomist if he/she had taken my blood yet after he/she bandaged up my arm), and he/she gave me a cup to pee in for the remainder of tests. Tauro said that I was in the bathroom for fifteen minutes before finally emerging; and, when I did, I had thrown the cup in the trash and said I couldn’t pee. Tauro had been force feeding me water by now and was less than pleased (he was late for work by this time), so I hurried back again, promising everyone that I would not throw my cup away again. But I did. Again, I emerged unable to urinate, and the process repeated. After my third mis-attempt they finally kicked us out of the laboratory and told me to do the test at home and bring it back. This, I imagine, only further added to my belief that Phlebotomists are mean, scary, terrible people who will burn in hell for the remainder of eternity. No, I am not being over-dramatic.
This particular Xanax coma was a wake-up call for me, mainly because Tauro was absolutely livid with me (rather than just thinking it was hilarious which would have most-likely been my reaction with Roberta). Not to mention I had only planned on a few wasted hours of my own time, not a full 24+ hour blackout (I woke up in the wrong bed with my glasses on and no recollection of anything except hopping into Tauro’s truck). This simple errand had turned into a forgotten adventure, a broken friendship, and two days off work.
Which brings me to this awesome product, a Fidgit Spinner, which can greatly curb anxiety. No, this is not going to eradicate all your mental health issues. Not even tri-weekly therapist visits can do that (trust me I’ve tried — Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy only go so far). But this wonderful little contraption can easily distract you enough to momentarily stop the racing and horrifying thoughts ruminating under your perfectly contoured face.
Don’t believe me? Try it next time you ever encounter that bitch of a Phlebotomist. No need to thank me, just write a review.