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Powerful Lessons Learned From A Medication Nightmare

A woman holding six packets of medication in blister packs

I had a scary situation this week. I’m on some new medication and also battling a cold. So, naively (and perhaps stupidly), I took cold medicine on top of my new medication, and the interaction of the drugs in my system was terrifying. I felt like I had been drugged. My pupils were dilated, my heart was racing, my legs were shaking, I couldn’t focus on anything, and my right leg was stiff, making it difficult to walk. Naturally, all these physical symptoms freaked me out, so on top of this, I had a panic attack.

The panic attack only served to make my symptoms worse, and I nearly opted to go to the hospital. The reason I didn’t? The people in my corner. My husband was there to Google my symptoms so that I wouldn’t have to look them up and convince myself further that I was dying. He also brought me anything I needed. He gave me food, water, and even turned Friends on in another room and turned the volume up because I couldn’t move to the TV room, much less focus on the screen. But the sounds of my favorite show, one I’ve watched countless times over, served to calm me down a bit.

I also called my mom. She told me that if this were a deadly reaction, something worse would have already happened. A coach herself, she also reminded me of the techniques I have learned to help relieve anxiety, like EFT. As I tapped through our conversation, she allowed me to talk through my fears and reassured me that this was only temporary and it would be better tomorrow.

That night I didn’t want to go to sleep, afraid I would never wake up. But I did eventually doze off. Obviously, I made it through the night, but the effects of the medication lasted for days. I woke up feeling deep shame, embarrassed that I had mixed medication without a second thought. I felt guilty for worrying both my husband and my mother. My husband is already a natural worrier, and it can’t have been easy for him to sit by helpless as his wife is clearly in distress.

The physical effects last for a while too. I had (and still have) terrible heartburn, possibly from my stomach trying to process all the medication and becoming inflamed. My brain felt foggy for about 3 days. I couldn’t do much beyond sitting on the couch or napping. Reading took too much focus, and the one time I went out for a short drive to run an errand, it was clear that my brain was still recovering. At times it was almost as if I was watching myself perform tasks.

Part of me was terrified that this feeling was never going to go away, that I had somehow done permanent damage to my brain. But yesterday, finally, I started feeling like myself again. I completed the exam for my latest coaching certification, had a coaching session, and went to a friend’s birthday party. Getting back into my groove after this situation feels like I’m finally back on the right path.

Lesson Number 1

As scary as last week was, it reminded me of 2 important lessons. The first is that you need people in your corner. If my husband hadn’t been there, or if I decided not to call my mom because I was embarrassed or didn’t want to be a burden, it would have been much worse for me.

It was only through their reassuring voices, their ability to combat the thoughts in my head with counter-evidence and rationality, that I was able to calm myself down enough to lower my heart rate to a less dangerous level. And I avoided what would certainly have been a very expensive hospital bill!

We Can’t (Or Shouldn’t Have To) Do This Alone

We need people in our corners; we need someone to help calm us down in a moment of panic, to call us on our bullshit, and to stand by our sides in the tough times. Sometimes we allow our thoughts to blind us, convinced if we think it, it must be true. Having someone to talk through them with and provide an outside perspective can expose these thoughts for what they really are- beliefs, not absolute truths.

It’s the same way with having a coach. A coach helps you identify what it is that’s holding you back and provides tools and resources to push past those barriers. They bring invaluable experience, having often walked a similar path, fully understanding the hurdles and pitfalls you’ll likely encounter. They hold you accountable, helping ensure you stay true to the promises you’ve made to yourself. And in those moments when you may feel lost or disheartened, a coach reignites that spark within you, urging you to keep pushing forward. A good coach also refuses to give up on you and believes you can achieve anything even when you don’t believe it yourself.

So take a moment and consider. Who’s in your corner helping you in your journey against alcohol, or any other struggle for that matter? If you don’t have someone yet, it would be my honor to offer my support and experience as your coach on this incredible journey. Together, we’ll pry apart the grip alcohol has on your life, finding the tools and strategies to reshape your world in a way that aligns with your truest desires and values. If you’re curious about whether coaching may be right for you, click here to book a free, no-obligation discovery call.

Lesson Number 2

The other thing this situation reminded me of is how much I do not miss being drunk or hungover. The mix of medications incapacitated me in a way that left me feeling completely out of control. My behavior and thoughts didn’t feel like me. I couldn’t wait for the substances to be out of my system so that I could return to normal. Although the feelings from this medication and being drunk were not exactly the same, in both cases my brain was hijacked. As someone who loves to be in control, this was terrifying for me.

These situations also negatively impacted my body. Whether I was throwing up or shivering, in both cases my body was telling me that these things were not okay. That they were poisonous, and it was doing everything it could to get them out of my system.

Listen To Your Body

I’m so grateful for the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. When we have ingested something we shouldn’t have, our body makes it very clear, in the hopes that we won’t repeat this pattern. But with alcohol, I spent years ignoring these signs.

Both the medication and alcohol also left me with a hangover, both physically and mentally. I do not miss the shame and regret I felt waking up the morning after. I do not miss feeling physically ill for days. And I definitely do not miss the poor sleep, fatigue, and laziness that would follow. These hefty costs are the price we pay for what? 20 minutes of good feelings? Or a decongested nose? These costs are simply too high for me.

And maybe they are too high for you too. Maybe, like I was, you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Maybe you’re done waking up in the middle of the night, ashamed that you drank too much again and promising yourself you’re going to stop. Or maybe you’re tired of breaking such promises to yourself.

It’s time to confront the steep costs of alcohol. To acknowledge that no drink, no buzz, no escape is worth losing yourself. Breaking those self-made promises is tiring. Carrying that weight is tiring. Berating yourself is tiring. But trust me, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Change awaits, wrapped in the incredible power you hold within. You have the power to redefine your relationship with alcohol, to redefine your life. Will you embrace it?


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Marci Rossi

Hi ! I'm Marci


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