"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Existential anxiety and Tylenol.

Existentialism floats my boat.

I loved it.  I loved the drama.  The angst.  The tragic aimlessness of it all.  I really did.  Sullen.  Depressed.  My life was a film... a novel... starring with pictures at an exhibition.  Cigarettes.  Chain smoking.

Anyway - I just came across a new study which claims Tylenol relieves symptoms of existential anxiety.
A common pain-reliever can also be used to cope with existential dread - anxiety arising from thinking about death - according to a new study. - Source

I know!

I thought there were prescription drugs for anxiety and panic attacks?  I wouldn't use Tylenol.  It causes liver damage - severe liver damage when taken with alcohol.  I think that is how my brother died.

He drank a couple of liters of vodka a day, but he also used tons of acetaminophen and pain killers to ease chronic back pain.  I believe the mix killed him. 

My advice: if you drink heavily, avoid the pain killers.  Just drink.

Or, learn to love the existential anxiety instead - especially if you're creative.  I used to have anxiety attacks so extreme I thought I was dying - so I prayed, made acts of contrition, and prayed some more - until they subsided.

If you pray and go to confession... well, all I can say is, it worked for me.  If the anxiety persists, learn to love it - you can console yourself it's not really existential anxiety at all, but the dark night of the soul.  That works until you start drinking again. 

Of course, then you can repent.  Again.

Just remember - existential anxiety thrives on unbelief.

Even more seriously - it's very good to think about death - and pray every day for the grace of a happy death. 


Disclaimer:  This is meant to be light-hearted, tongue in cheek.  If you are a person who suffers from depression and anxiety, or are taking medication for similar problems, continue to do so according to your doctor's instructions.  Medications prescribed by your doctor are necessary for your recovery.  If you have problems with alcoholism, do not drink and seek support in your recovery/sobriety as needed.

1 comment:

  1. My good friend went through extreme pain recently from a presumed long term use of ibuprofen mixed with alcohol. Stopped using advil and the pain gradually went away. Scary.

    Praying through anxiety, yes, that is what gets me through. "Existential anxiety thrives on unbelief" -- this is a good way to put it. I do think about being prepared for death often. I am very grateful for the gift of faith. Of my four children, two are teenagers currently. Lots of existential anxiety and angst in their worlds, some of it so ridiculous and silly and other times heart breaking in its selfishness.

    Thank you for writing about joy and suffering every day.


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