Today marks 6 months since my anxiety sobriety; 6 months of critiquing, tweaking, and studying my body for a better life. When December came last year, I was at an all time low. I had lived with the anxiety of LIFE for as long as I can remember, even as a young child. I’ve diagnosed myself with every major illness, melted down in the back of grocery stores or in the middle of the mall, and even pushed people away in my life for the pure reason of not being able to carry out the necessary fundamentals that make up a simple relationship/friendship (not that some of those losses weren’t for my best interest).
Last December, 2015, I was convinced that with headaches everyday and being overly tired, that I had a brain tumor. My husband and I really wanted to take the kids away for Christmas to have a simple, no bouncing around from house to house, just the four of us, kind of holiday. Then the anxiety came on. The closer we got the our trip away, the more anxious I became. I would be far from home, what if I pass out (which has never happened before in my life), what if I get a bad migraine, what if something terrible happens and I can’t help my husband juggle both kids while I am randomly hospitalized, yes these are actual thoughts from a “healthy”, happy, mother of 2.
Without hesitation, after seeing countless meltdowns as we approached our holiday away, my husband forced me to see a Dr., had he not I may have ended up in a mental institution at some point in my life.
Before I go any further, I must disclose that I am NOT a Dr., I have no medical background, and my family and I always try a natural remedy before medicating for any reason. I have never been medicated on a daily basis in my life and it took me almost 6 months to convince myself that the “risk” of being on a daily medication outweighed my current quality of life.
4 days before we were to leave, I went to see a Dr. The one at our local practice who i had previously seen for these issues, was no longer employed there and had been replaced by someone new, who would soon become the person who changed my life for the better. I spent almost an hour with her in that small patients’ room. She listened to every worry that I had, every diagnoses that I had currently given myself over the past year, she saw my eyes flooding with tears, and by the end of the appointment, knew some of my darkest fears. Without hesitation, she suggested that for my mental health, I receive an MRI of my brain. She did tell me that she was 99% sure that I didn’t have a brain tumor but, to give me the mental strength to live day to day, I needed to know 100%. The MRI was scheduled after begging the girl on the phone not to make me wait until after Christmas, who felt my desperation and scheduled me the following day.
During our long appointment, the Dr.who we will just call Rachel, discussed a few options for treatment. To recap my previous post here, I tried everything I could think of to curve the anxiety: meditation, yoga, essential oils, taking stress off of my plate anywhere that I could, adding more frequent date nights, you name it, if it wasn’t from a pharmacist, I tried it. Also, side note: I was having hormonal issues as well, undiagnosed by a professional but, I was having severe PMS symptoms that I could feel through every transition throughout each month. So, with all of this on Rachel’s plate, (anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, hormonal imbalance) she thought the best option for me would be Paxil (by it’s generic name: paroxetine).
Disclaimer: I know that medication is not for everyone, and I must declare that I am in no way “promoting” this post for any reason other than awareness.
I started the medication that day, it needed time to regulate within my body and I knew at this point that I needed to try something different than I had been, especially if I were to enjoy our time away as a family. Let me put it to you the way she did: “You could live every day of your life the way you are now: miserable, in pain, trapped in your own mind, not enjoying each day by not doing the things you want to do, or you could live every day of your life taking a small pill once a day and enjoy every single day with your family and do things you never thought you’d have the strength to.” That was it, that was what I needed to hear all along, and it made perfect sense what needed to change. I’m not unusual, I’m not a phsyco or totally weird, I just need a little help “up there”. To put it simply, Paxil is a serotonin blocker. Serotonin flows through your body, generally known for helping along the GI tract and maintaining happiness. Paxil blocks off some of that serotonin from leaving your brain to keep it up in your happy area. Rather than it all flowing through your body, more of it stays in your brain, keeping you happy.
Happy=less worry. Less worry=less anxiety. Less anxiety=normal.
The brain MRI came back normal, and after my meltdown at the lab office, Dr. Rachel called me with the results right away to let me enjoy what I could of our trip. There were no side effects right away from starting Paxil but, after only starting on the minimum dosage of 10 mg, I jumped up to 15mg after 10 days, and again to 20mg after that. I still felt like I could use a little more tweaking so, we bounced around for about 5 months between the 20mg, 30mg, and 25mg extended release. I started the 30mg approximately 2 weeks before going on a 4 day, 3 night bachelorette party with my best friend and some girlfriends, which I don’t think I could have ever done before starting the medication. Although, the 30mg was perfect during the day, at night during sleep, I did experience heavy sweats (drenching the bed kind of sweats) and intense dreams, sometimes nightmares. So, upon returning home, we bounced to the 25mg extended release, which didn’t quite have the effect I was looking for and tended to just give me small amounts of anxiety bursts throughout the day. I went back to the 20mg, which I am currently taking and seems to be the perfect dosage. I will say that with my experience, it is best to take in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, and GET OUT THERE. Do something with your day, make the most of it.
These days, I can finally take a last minute road trip with my family. I can take our boys on trips to the museum or even Target, without fear. I can go to the gym, sit in a new restaurant, eat a full meal, jump from a 15 foot deck into a spring, and best of all, I can live everyday feeling more normal and happier than I have in my entire life.
If you are struggling with anxiety, I encourage you to at least see a professional and not squander in your own worry. It may take a year, or 2, or 10 to convince yourself that you need to see someone about your worries but, even just adding some meditation into your morning routine could help change your life.
See my new life over the last 6 months in these photos!
This post was not sponsored or paid by Paxil. This post was formulated with my own personal opinions based on personal experience. I am in no way promoting this medication or the Dr.’s who prescribe it. For more information, speak to your doctor.