Ativan to the rescue. No, really.

Susan McCorkindale
3 min readOct 14, 2021
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash.

When last we met, I was bellyaching about how horribly I was feeling. Sweating, panic attacks, the inability to catch my breath, the whole nine yards. Many of you sent me messages offering ideas about what might be ailing me beyond my anxiety (aka, the Big A.). Thank you. All definite possibilities. And all panic attack-inducing.

I spent a lot of time on WebMD looking into each suggestion (A-fib and Hashimoto’s Disease, among them), and scaring myself silly. Why do I go on those sites? I can still hear my previous doctor telling me to stay away from Google which worked about as well as his telling me to stay away from carbohydrates. Pass on the pasta? I don’t think so.

Tooling around WebMD provided no answers, which gave my anxiety anxiety. Clearly it was time to call in the big guns.

The next morning I made an appointment with my new doctor. Actually, she’s not a doctor. She’s a nurse practitioner and I love her. She sat there patiently listening to my list of ills and the diseases I thought I might have, taking notes and nodding and, when I was completely out of breath and thought I might need a paper bag to breathe into for the rest of the visit, she said, among other things, “So in the past when you’ve had this breakthrough anxiety, did you take anything for it?”

I stared at her, my right hand clamped over my open mouth, wondering when I’d forgotten everything I learned in therapy. I went for ages. So long in fact that, when I “graduated,” I joked that I wasn’t a therapist, but I played one on TV and was therefore fit to dispense advice (but never anything as silly as stay away from carbohydrates). And now I couldn’t even recall the name of the medication I used to take.

“Did you ever take Ativan?” Kim asked. (That’s her name. Kim. Not Dr. Kim. Just Kim. I love her.)

“That’s it! Yes, I took that!” Holy hell. How had I forgotten that? It’s therapy 101, for Pete’s sake. Ativan is the pause button. It stops the breakthrough anxiety and gives you the chance to think clearly, call the doctor and/or therapist, and get to the bottom of what’s really going on. (Of course, between the time you make the appointment and have the appointment, you will need to take several more Ativan, but that’s ok. That’s why God invented it. Or created the…