Being Medicated

anxiety

Monday was my one-month anniversary of finally visiting a doctor and getting my health on track. I’m already feeling better and I didn’t even cry this time! I want to celebrate by sharing some experiences and answering some questions about anxiety medication.

When I began writing Positively Panicked I began getting lots of questions like How does medication help? Is the medication addictive? Is it the only answer? Does it have side effects? Will you need to be on this medication forever? Is it really necessary?

I don’t mind the questions. In fact, I’m happy to answer them because I want my friends and family to have a better understanding of my life with anxiety and anyone who is dealing with any psychiatric disorder. As a disclaimer, keep in mind that this is strictly from my experiences with anxiety and medicine…everyone is different, very different.

Everyone gets anxious. We each have certain situations that cause us to stress or worry, but some of us stress and worry all day everyday. Some of us have panic attacks. We are the ones with anxiety/panic disorders. On any typical day I worry about every single little occurrence.

No one will like me because of my zits. My boss wants to meet with me, I must be getting fired. Husband didn’t call when he said…he was probably run over by a taxi. My stomach hurts because I’m getting a virus. I can’t breathe. My chest hurts. I’m having a heart attack. Oh, it’s going to be so embarrassing when an ambulance picks me up from work. I wonder if people will visit me in the hospital. I wonder if they’ll miss me when I die. What if I can’t have children….

And it goes on and on. I sweat all day, can’t keep food down, my blood pressure is high, my head hurts and my pulses races because of my constant anxiety. The anxiety is mental, but it causes physical ailments. This is not something I can fix through yoga, prayer, friends or relaxing. Believe me…I’VE TRIED. For years, I have tried.

I used to pray every night for peace, for God to carry my burdens… I would literally say “I’m casting my cares upon you! Please! Take them, I can’t carry them anymore!” It took me years to realize that prayer isn’t always simple. Sometimes I was really angry. Often I felt depressed, but now I feel grateful. I finally heard the answer.

The medicine allows me to get through a day and worry at appropriate times. I’m not a zombie or without feelings. I still cry at cheesy commercials. I get angry when Husband leaves his clothes on the floor for the 5,000th time. I get excited when one of my students masters a new skill, and I worry when I should worry. I feel like I can be me; the person the anxiety is always concealing.

Medicine is not the only option. Some people improve with lifestyle changes, others need therapy, but most need a combination of things.  I need a little of all of the above. The goal is to gain control of my thoughts, reverse my negative beliefs and eventually stop taking medicine.

At my recent appointment the doctor said my blood pressure and heart rate were much better. Luckily, the medicine and dosage are working just as they should and it’s keeping me healthy.

One more question I often hear: Are you worried about being too open/honest with EVERYONE?

My answer: Not at all. Being honest and living so openly is such a relief. I’ve heard from several friends, family members and readers who can relate and are now recognizing their own struggles. I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you to everyone for stopping by each day to read about my life, my fears, and positively panicked moments.

Cheers!

P.S. Got anymore questions? Ask away!

I’m open to being open

Since I am unfortunately no longer on anti-anxiety meds I have been using various other resources and ideas to keep from having panic attacks. I get my ideas from a wide variety of sources; the Internet, Barnes and Noble, Oprah, other blogs, magazines, yoga, and friends’ advice.

Several techniques seem to help, but one in particular has shown dramatic improvement in my stress levels. And, since I promised to share some methods that have helped me, here’s my number one…

This blog. Or more accurately…being open and honest with all of you.

It’s so simple, since I’ve dropped my cloak of shame, threw out the guilt, and started publicly writing about my “excited outbursts”, my panic attacks have been dwindled down to practically nothing. Who knew it was so easy! Not me, I was afraid this would cause more fear and panic.

I was so scared for most of my life to admit to anyone that I had a problem. I felt like I was losing my mind and I was terrified people would judge me. I didn’t want to be thought of as crazy or unstable, or for people to think less of me.

I think I come off as a pretty stable, happy person. I’m pretty sure responsible, hardworking, and creative are common words people would use to describe me, and I didn’t want that to change.

So I wrote my first two blog posts months before I posted them. I read them almost daily. I made fiance read them to assure me I didn’t come off as crazy or whiney.

When I finally got the courage to press “publish”, I just looked at fiancé and asked “did I just make a huge mistake?”. Do I really want this public??? I hadn’t even shared this with some of my closest friends… What the hell did I just do?!

The responses I soon received proved that I had not made a mistake. Several people messaged me, called me, or commented with nothing but encouraging and supportive words. I was shocked by the positive messages I received. Such. Kind. Words.

I cannot describe to you the relief I felt. Not only have I become honest with myself, but with everyone, and no one seems to think less of me! And if they do, they’ve kept it to themselves. Even if someone judges me now, I don’t care. I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I feel like a new, healthier, happier, honest person.

But, more than be accepted by my peers, I’ve connected with several others who have the same problems, and can relate and understand what a panic attack feels like, the shame that follows, and the strength needed to carry on. I’ve met people through their own “anxiety” blogs, and through others who read my blog and shared their own stories of high anxiety. I even discovered that a co-worker of mine suffers with frequent panic attacks! All of these people have been inspiring, and have encourage me to continue doing what I’m doing.

All this time I assumed people would think of my anxiety attacks as a weakness, a drama queen trait, or just whining. Now I have a whole community (or maybe a neighborhood) of awesome strong people who assure me I am none of these things.

In the future I hope to meet and get to know more of you who live a life effected by “excited outbursts”. Maybe we can all get together one day, share anti-anxiety meds, and go sky diving, or just walk past a hospital in my case.

I hope this inspires others to be open with their own trials or tribulations. It’s been absolute therapy for me.

Thank you all!

Cheers!