It’s late on a cold november afternoon, and I’m sitting at my desk, perusing the to-do list of work I have to deal with over the next few weeks. There’s that deadline and this meeting and another interview and that story I haven’t even thought about yet. Then I eyeball my calendar and the week of vacation I’ve been planning to take in mid-December. And, ironically, that’s what does it: the idea of vacation. My heart races, my throat tightens, and what feels like a heavy ball of panic thuds into my stomach. It’s not what you’d call a full-blown panic attack—I don’t feel like I’m having a heart attack and I’m not experiencing a sense of terror—but this is different than the everyday, normal anxiety most people feel before giving a big presentation or going on a blind date. This is disruptive nervousness because my mind begins to obsess about how I’m going to get it all done in time. It’s hours before bedtime, but I know my nonstop mind will not let me sleep tonight.
I’m not the only person in my family who deals with some level of anxiety disorder. In fact, my relatives are rife with it. But I am one of the few who have, so far, avoided the need to medicate. If (and more likely when) the time comes that I feel I can no longer manage my unease, I will be glad I read Kelley McMillan’s “High Strung,” which delves into America’s anxiety epidemic and the potentially perilous way we’ve been combating it. “Benzodiazepines are among the most prescribed psychiatric drugs in the country,” McMillan says. “However, most people do not know they are also one of the most addictive and one of the most dangerous to come off of.” In her piece, McMillan weaves multiple story lines that help the reader understand the dilemmas facing both physicians and patients when it comes to managing anxiety.
It’s stories like McMillan’s, and others such as Joe Lindsey’s “Sounds Of Silence” (page 24), that reinforce my drive to create a magazine focused on health. Because, let’s face it: The search to find one’s optimum wellness—whether it’s about physical fitness, dietary improvements, or mental and emotional health—is not always an easy journey. I find that reading about other Coloradans who are facing comparable struggles or asking similar questions makes that trip a little less lonely. I hope you agree.