Snowstorms, Realizations, Jury Duty and Stevie Nicks
  (original post October 31, 2014)
The morning coffee has been drunk and the daily workout has been done. So, I sit here listening to Fleetwood Mac tunes and reflecting. (Gotta love Stevie Nicks.) 
Today is the anniversary of the most special day in my healing from benzo withdrawal – the day I knew, beyond any doubt, I was going to be well and whole again. Actually, Wednesday was the anniversary. It was Saturday, October 29, 2011 – the day of the freak nor’easter here in Central Pennsylvania. I was attending the first birthday party of my grandson, Eli, at the church.
I had been reluctant to attend because I knew there would be many relatives from the “other side” of the family. I didn’t know them and was still deeply immersed in my two-year stay in the land of agoraphobia. Nevertheless, I made my way to Eli’s party. Elli and I had become “good buddies” during my withdrawal and would have been “best buddies” except that title will always be held by his uncle who also helped me greatly back when my journey through the land of psychotropic drugs began. I had no choice. I had to go to my good buddy’s celebration.
I felt a little strange when I got there, but, as I crawled around on the floor chasing Eli, things began to ”lift.” When others began arriving, I was unusually able to converse with them. I was a bit nervous, but I could feel the anxiety dwindling. Of course, I was taking mental notes about the fading of these feelings that had haunted me for two years. I was expecting them to return at any moment. I waited. They stayed away. I went into the kitchen and talked with my brother-in-law’s wife. I was calm. I could smell the aroma of coffee. It was very nice. In fact, it was so inviting that I poured myself the first cup of coffee I had had in more than two years. Then I poured a second one – all the while taking mental notes and expecting to be hammered with a panic attack at any moment. I waited. No panic attack – only a feeling of relief and a sense that the fighting was coming to an end. It was a turning point in the war – almost like an armistice.
So, today is a day of remembrance of how bad it was and how good it now is. My wife was talking to me earlier about a jury duty notice she received in the mail this week. She desperately does not want to have jury duty, but she has no choice. Of course, I thought back on the day I received a jury duty notice while I was in withdrawal. I was about eight months from my last dose of Klonopin and immediately panicked. There was just no way I could get into the city and sit with a roomful of strangers – or even friends. I shakily went online and completed the questions on the notice. The dizziness from the derealization was overwhelming. There was an “out” on the notice – mental illness – one of few reasons to be excused from jury duty. So, I played the “mental disorder card.” It worked. After I sent in a note from my doctor attesting to my mental unsoundness, I was excused from jury duty……for life. Far out, man!
The funny thing about this is that my wife has schizophrenia – for real. It is a valid diagnosis. She does take Zyprexa to keep the symptoms at bay. One would never know she has schizophrenia. She can’t use it as a reason to be excused from jury duty. I was never “mentally ill” (whatever that means) for even a moment in my life, yet I have a lifetime reprieve from jury duty. There is some kind of irony in there somewhere.
Time to get on with the day – vacuuming, doctor appointment to discuss an MRI of my neck which will probably require surgery, the best Margharita pizza I have ever eaten in my life at my father-in-law’s, and thoughts of attending one last Penn State football game tomorrow with my friend Jayson.
Of course, there are thoughts of Stevie Nicks and her haunting voice. Fleetwood Mac is scheduled to perform a concert nearby in January. I hope to make my way there and hear that voice live. It’s another one of those dreams.
Life is good…real good. Who would have thought?