Adventures in Anxiety!
I’ve been an anxious soul for as long as I can remember.
Always nervous, always worried.
Except for a brief period during high school where I was able to suspend fear and perform solo roles in staged musicals, I was a basket case when it came to speeches, presentations, first (and second and third) dates, and driving. Especially driving.
I never thought I could do anything about those fearful feelings.
I thought I just had to suck it up.
I started reading self-help books.
And then I finally sought the services of a psychologist.
She made me feel uncomfortable, which means she wasn’t a good fit. But all I could think was, “I can’t be helped.”
I was referred to a psychiatrist. He prescribed Paxil. This was during the infant days of the Internet. I looked it up (probably on AOL or Netscape or one of those early browsers), and it scared the shit out of me.
I thought I would be dependent. I thought I would have to give my life over to the drugs. At a time when I didn’t even have a boyfriend, I started thinking about how I wouldn’t be able to take these drugs when I was pregnant, and then how would I survive? I would surely die from going off a drug I wasn’t even taking at the time, I thought.
I decided not to take it.
But it would have helped me.
I suffered from panic attacks. Not only while driving, but even walking down the street.
"What if my legs stop working?" I wondered. "What if I just collapse right here on the street? How embarrassing would that be?"
I continued in my quest to find a therapist to help me deal with my anxiety.
But it wasn’t until after I did give birth, and felt hopelessly detached from my newborns, that I realized I needed more than just therapy.
I guess society made me think it was okay to take drugs because post-partum depression stories seemed to be all over the news. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN and she wrote out my first prescription for Zoloft.
Throughout the years, I’ve adjusted dosages, switched medications, gone off meds, and then ultimately returned.
I’ve never felt ashamed that I needed them to feel better. I never felt like a hero because I wasn’t taking them. Then again, I never felt like I wasn’t myself when I was on a drug that worked for me. Only one time did I react badly. I took Wellbutrin last summer, and started feeling agitated and even more anxious. That’s how I knew it wasn’t for me.
So, why did I wait so long to attempt a new med last year when my world was falling apart? I don’t know. But I did figure out when I made the decision to try the Celexa, I was in really bad shape. I needed help, and I hoped desperately that I would find it.
It did help. It still does. I continue to take it, and I even upped my dosage today after a visit with my psychiatrist. I don’t feel weak because I need this medicine. Maybe I won’t need it forever, but if I do, I’ll view it as just another med that helps my body and mind function effectively.
This is my story. It may not apply to all (or any) of you.
This is the way I cope.
Thanks for reading.