anxiety medication addiction

Father's Day 2022 may be over. So might be Juneteenth. But that doesn't mean an end to the great good spirit of those fabled holidays. It also doesn't mean we can't let that great good spirit be our guide. In fact, the tale of this dad who turned an anxiety medication addiction into a son-saving solution will make for a great good start.

Why Talk About It?

It's not hard to imagine why Quentin Vennie got with Inc.'s Xintian Tina Wang. Heck, the reasons are apparent in the very tone of his telling. And if by chance you miss the reasoning lurking within his cadence, his story actually spells things out itself. In fact, the entire tale is one borne of damn good reason. Then again, saving your own life has always been a good reason to do something. Saving the life of someone you love is even better.

But Vennie didn't go on record because he saved his own life, nor because he saved the life of his son. That's not the guy's style. No, Vennie went on record because he believes he's come up with something that might just save the lives of a whole lotta others. At the very least, it'll save them a whole heap of heartache. It will also help re-calibrate the field so that everyone has a chance. Best of all, it'll do so simply by being reasonable.

Let's explain:

A Problem Becomes a Solution

Once upon another time, Vennie had a problem. A deep problem. Worse, he was never permitted a solution.

I was diagnosed with acute depression and anxiety at the age of 14, Vennie tells Inc. The doctor wanted to put me on medication and my mother rejected that treatment option. During that time, mental health wasn't something that was talked about. As a Black family in America, we didn't have the privilege of having mental health issues. We had to just grin and bear it and learn to survive.

Grinning and bearing it, of course, isn't a solution. Not even close. It wasn't then; it isn't now. Unfortunately, grinning and bearing it was all a lot of kids were permitted back then. Especially inner city kids like Vennie. Consequently, his problem never got solved. As time went on the anxiety grew, branching out into ever more debilitating strains. Until eventually it became too much to grin and bear anymore. Way too much.

When I was 26, I was diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and major depressive disorder. The only treatment option that I was given by my doctor at the time was prescriptions.

There it is again, pills. Like millions of other Americans before and since, Vennie was told modern medicine was the solution to his problem. For generalized anxiety and similar psychological conditions, that usually means being prescribed Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Commonfolk call 'em anti-depressants. They also sometimes call 'em happy pills, because they're designed to turn that proverbial frown upside down. Vennie saw a certain irony in that.

What was interesting is it wasn't a situation where I was getting drugs from my buddies on the street corner. I was actually getting this from my doctor.

Hazards of Happy Pill Popping

Not only was a doctor providing the happy pills, but he was increasing Vennie's dosage at the mere mention of discomfort. Vennie says it should have been a red flag to him. But at the time it wasn't. Too bad too. Because by the time Vennie realized the true hazards of happy pill-popping, he'd developed a full-on anxiety medication addiction. That wasn't all be developed either.

I was addicted to anxiety pills for about two years, he says. I was constantly experiencing this feeling of impending death, thinking I am having a heart attack. The second time when I attempted to kill myself was when I made up in my mind that I would stop living to die and I would fight to live.

That meant getting off the suicide-driving happy pills of course. But it also meant finding a way to keep anxiety at bay. Vennie found it in herbal teas. In fact, Vennie dug tea so much, he turned it into a thing.

My tea ritual factored into my recovery when I was 28. It started out with bags of night tea that you get from the grocery store, and then it grew into this obsession with loose leaf tea. Making myself a cup of tea was very meditative, it was something that really could help me to separate myself from whatever my reality was at the time. And it taught me how to be present.

Tea to Tango

Having found balance, Vennie finally began to live unfettered by anxiety. Well, unfettered by his own anxiety anyway. Because it wasn't long before anxiety again reared its troublesome head. This time though, it came for his son.

My son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when he was 7. Given my experiences dealing with my own mental health battles, I made the conscious decision to manage his diagnosis holistically. I went to see a neurologist, and she had suggested that my son can drink green tea prior to any big test, because the caffeine and the L-theanine would give him a calm focus. But my son said he hated the taste.

So we were like, if this is really going to work, we have to figure out a way to make tea palatable for a 9-year-old, he continues. We went down this rabbit hole of researching learning as much as we could about green tea, flavor profiles, and things that blended with it. We landed on a blend of green tea with lavender and lemon grass, and he loved it. By the end of that school year, he went from struggling in school to getting on the Honor Roll. Of course, it wasn't just the tea that did it, but it definitely provided some benefit for my son.

Once again, tea saves the day. Vennie figured if these spirited leaves could save him and his son, they could also save scores of others.

I've always been a firm believer that if you find something that works, you share it with other people. So in 2020, my wife and I started a tea company, wanting to take the things that worked for our family and make them accessible to other families.

Equitea

Thus was born Equitea. A business borne of necessity, yet designed for the greater good. It wasn't easy. Then again, few altruistic things are ever easy. Vennie however had additional hurdles to clear.

The harsh reality right now is a lot of Black-owned businesses are struggling to get funding. We don't have funding; my wife and I poured $70,000 from our savings into the company when we started.

Of course most entrepreneurs pour their savings into their fledgling companies. But minority-owned businesses still find it harder to get matching funds. Fortunately the field is beginning to level off. There are now over four million minority-owned businesses in America, bringing in over $700 billion. And their overall percentage is approaching 30%.

The percentage of minority businesses relying on their own startup capital is also beginning to level off - just over 70% versus White businesses 65% according to The Motley Fool. Nevertheless, Nerd Wallet says only 1% of new Black-owned businesses received business loans, against 7% for their White counterparts. Obviously there's still work to be done.

Undeterred

Vennie isn't deterred. Not in the least. If anything, he's not only making the most of a great good day, he's ensuring there'll be many more great good days to come.

I think being a Black father in America is a beautiful thing. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Being a Black father who has the ability and privilege to start a business and to show my children something will be different is meaningful to me.

Let's make it meaningful to everyone.

Anxiety Medication Addiction

When it comes to Substance Use Disorder (SUD), Anxiety Medication Addiction is often overlooked. So is the medication. Yet escitalopram (Lexapro), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), fluoxetine (Prozac) and other similarly-situated meds are continuing to be prescribed in record doses. In fact, the CDC says over 13% of Americans reported taking anti-depressants over the last 30 days. That's crazy.

When you consider how addicting this anxiety medication happens to be it's even crazier. Very few folks stop taking happy pills once they've started. Yet time and again we learn most didn't need the pills to begin with. Take Quentin Vennie. Yes, he had anxiety. High anxiety. And it took him developing an anxiety medication addiction before he realized pills weren't the way. How many others out there are in similar situations? The numbers could be in the millions.

Recovery Boot Camp helps folks find help for themselves. So if you're suffering from substance abuse, be it anti-depressants, opioids, alcohol or what have you, give us a ring and we'll get you sorted. And if you're into tea. Or you'd like to find out what's so special about it. Give Equitea a try. You might just release two bothersome birds without picking up a single stone.

Get Help Today

Get Help Today Sticky RBC