[Tripping On…] Tripping On Propranolol, Day 30+

One month into taking the high blood pressure beta-blocker Propranolol, I’m finally seeing the long-term benefits. I’ve always felt anxious. It’s not that those feelings have gone away like when I’ve taken benzodiazepines. It’s just the biggest spikes have calmed down. Unlike the anti-depressants I’ve taken that have given me severe depression, here, I’m just not controlled by the largest spikes of anxiety or depression that always used to inhibit my thoughts toward progressing forward.

How much of this is a chemical change or my own perspective change?

Thinking about taking a high blood pressure medication on its own is a powerful placebo. Let’s say you’re dealing with someone that is absurdly unreasonable, like a cartoon farce of reality that is forcing some kind of terrible sensations on anyone in proximity. You might think back to taking medication and think, “wow, this person sure is unreasonable,” instead of trying to match their fury. Let’s say instead of calming yourself down, you match their fury with yours. That will just lead to an escalating conflict that won’t leave anyone feeling good.

My work requires me to face that about once a month.

If I worked a different schedule, as I did when I started, that was once a week. Over the years of working in technical support, I dealt with the forces of many faces, but even still, it’s been a difficult battle for me since up until recently I’ve wanted to be the best employee I could be, and part of that is putting on a smile as you’re being verbally punched in the face. Through all these writings and especially through all these medical tribulations, I’ve just decided that I will no longer sacrifice my sanity for these rude punks that I’ll never see again.

I do what I can to taper my temper internally.

That involves trying to remain grounded in situations where otherwise I might lose my calm. If someone is throwing a professional temper tantrum over the phone, rather than enable them to continue their abuse on me, I’ve learned two cues: stop giving verbal affirmations like “hmm” and “uhh huh,” and for a situation like two days ago, put them on hold while I check in with “my team.” I didn’t. I put them on hold because they were being super rude. When I returned from my mental break, someone else was on the phone that was much more reasonable.

No chemicals involved there, but external temper tapers help.

I’ve noticed my pulse would increase rapidly in situations like that, more so recently as I was figuring out my health situation through these headaches, but that same sort of panic used to settle in where now I just don’t care. These aren’t my friends. They’re terrible people, for one, for inflicting pain on others, and for two I’ll never see them again so why would I respect their opinions on anything? If we think in terms of mind palaces, where we have a mental place where we can invite our friends and family over into our imagination, these are like people that try to break in and pee everywhere. Why let them through the front door?

Until I can learn to control this better internally, external help is useful.

The best way to prevent people like this from entering your mind palace is not letting them in. If they knock at the door and you see that all they want to do is destroy your peace, you don’t have to invite them in. There are billions of other people you can invite into your mind palace that won’t wreck the place, and might even tend to the flowers, but until you can establish your own mental fortitude to not allow them in, I think it’s OK especially now that I can see the benefits of having these artificial bodyguards automatically block out these stress demons and rude dudes.

The more of these situations I encounter, the more I should learn to self-block.

Having encountered past situations with these sorts of aggressors and letting them wreak havoc on me, and having seen how present-aggressors were moderated through just as simple of blocking as distancing myself from them, I can practice doing that same distance with future-aggressors. Why is it that life is so cruel that we have to self-moderate our reactions to reality? That is why, for me, I don’t want to take this long-term, but at least through the duration of my professional career, until I can be self-sufficient with my writing or at least find myself in a less conflict-heavy career, it will be a good way for me to remember daily, with my breakfast, that there are people out there that do not deserve my respect.

Until I can meditate on this during these situations, I won’t be free from them.

Practicing detachment from aggression means turning these situations from overwhelming to disinteresting. We focus on the negatives because it’s easier to feel like a victim, and because we can use this to say that we have been victimized, so we deserve more. Whereas if we overcome obstacles where we can enable ourselves to become victims, then we can rise to the challenge of life, and live life on our own terms. I’m personally not the biggest fan of having these highs and lows tapered, but there are benefits, namely that I am learning not to overthink so much. If one decision is as good as another, I won’t spend anxious moments debating and deciding. Instead, I’ll just proceed in a direction and course-correct as needed. Life isn’t a videogame where if we tend to our breakfast before our laundry we’ll die. These stress demons that attack us verbally aren’t any different. It might be preferable to not have to deal with any stress demon whatsoever, but we’d find our own stressors, whether it’s a slow-loading page or an underwhelming essay.

Learning to cope with life’s erratic eccentricities might be life’s biggest challenge.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal, professional, and Propranolol experiences.
Inspirations: I thought I had published enough essays for these past few days but it turns out I missed the essay from two days ago. When I caught it, I shuffled everything around, and decided to write this one-month’s essay even though I’ve covered similar ground in other essays throughout this series. Using that framework, post-headache [nearly eight days!], I went into interesting directions… Then I find that everything was in order, to begin with, so, I guess I’ll publish this later.
Related: Other Applied PsychologySober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Photo: Inside the bottle.
Written On: 2020 February 20 [40 minutes. From 7:45pm to 8:25pm listening to Melodies of Hyrule.]
Last Edited: 2020 February 20 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.