Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Living With Anxiety

Picture jacked from here.

Roughly four months ago I wrote one of the harder posts I've ever written about finally dealing with life having Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At that point I was bleak about anxiety in my day to day life, but hopeful about treatment. Where I had tried options like meditation and yoga and it it was getting worse, not better. Where I dealt with it. Here is the follow up post.

I started medication shortly after the post, in a minimal dose of 10mg daily. Side effects did spring up for the first couple weeks in the form of losing appetite, spotty sleep and a general malaise. I debated stopping the pills but pushed through and within a month found they had tapered off. Taking my medication in the evening helped to ward off the drowsy feeling I get afterwards.

I didn't notice any sort of big difference in my life. Pills will not solve problems, and if you think they will you are kidding yourself. The problems are still there but I found they have brought the mental clarity and stability to deal with them. I still have the same thoughts as I always do. I still have the same comforts in routine and lists and prefer a night in to social activity. But it was when I didn't take the pills that I noticed a change.

If I forgot to take a pill in the evening I noticed myself more irritable the next day and on edge. In fact I normally ask my coworker/good friend every day, "Do you think the boss is going to fire me today?". Every day. And I am never joking. I didn't even realize I had stopped asking until one day when I had forgotten to take the pill and started questioning her. It was only then that we both realized I had forgotten said pill.

A month ago the dose increased to 20mg daily, and I didn't notice the side effects as much as the medication was already in my system. There have been adverse side effects that come with anxiety medication. I find that if I drink more that 2 drinks in a night, I black out. I haven't blacked out from drinking in a long time and that in itself is scary and I have been very aware of this side effect. Another more embarrassing one is it has affected my sex drive (good for when single!) and ability to orgasm. It'll still happen, it's just not as easy. If anything I've found its good reason to keep practising (giggedy). I questioned my doctor about them, and she said down the road there are possible avenues to take for the sexual side effects, but I agree it's not enough reason to stop taking them.

On the overall four months in, I'm glad I've gotten the help I need. Its not as scary to think that I may be on medication for life to treat anxiety. It's no different than taking a calcium supplement if you have weak bones. And I don't feel embarrassed to say I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I feel liberated that I am going on with life despite it. I am not "cured" of anxiety and will never be. I still worry too much, am prone to anxiety attacks and sometimes just have to leave social situations because I find them very overwhelming. I still have control issues and like things done a certain way. But the last time I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago she had me do some test to see where my anxiety levels are at, and asked if I was worried about how they would come out. And to tell you the truth, I hadn't really thought about it, and was alright either way. And to let you know it had shown my anxiety levels went from severe to moderate.

NOTE:This is just my story of dealing with anxiety/medication. I am not saying medication is right for everyone,it is right for me. If this is something you suspect you may be dealing with, please contact a physician to see the path that is right for you.


Slyde said...

pretty powerful stuff, missy.

That Kind of Girl said...

I love that you posted this. Very brave of you, and a good message to put out there for other people who might need to hear it. <3

P said...

I'm glad it's working for you. And I say that you should stick with whatever is working. :)

Hillary said...

I'm glad that you've found a way to deal.

Deutlich said...

I'm diagnosed with the GAD, too.

To some people, it sounds like such a "minor" illness except it can be SO detrimental in real life.

Anyhoo.. I'm proud of you for getting some assistance AND being open about it.

Bathwater said...

Nice post. I am glad you shared it. If it improves your life continue to use it until you are ready to try something else.

BTW as a guy I have had no complaints concerning the side effect of being able to control my orgasm longer. Guess it would be a bit different for a woman though ;).

Stephany said...

Great post, Meghan. My grandma suffers from bad, bad, BAD anxiety and is on a pill for it so I know firsthand how debilitating this is. I've been with her for a few of her anxiety attacks. Brave of you to post but I enjoyed reading it.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I'm so glad you're feeling so much better! I've always been a big believer in doing what works for YOU and obviously this is working! XO

Bruce said...

It is interesting to note that your blogging style has changed a 'little' bit as well. Not as manic, more thought out and a bit more introspective and not just documenting things. Now you just have to get really pissed off about something and then write about it calmly......not an easy thing to do.

(remember....EVERYONE has some sort of 'issue'....it is the ones that don't acknowledge it and come to terms with it that are really creepy)

Random Musings Of My Life said...

thanks for sharing...

Melissa W said...

I'm proud of you for not only having the courage to admit that you have a problem, but also because you did something about it. You rock!

Mike said...

Weakness isn't admitting you have a problem, it's NOT admitting you have one.

Good on you, and maybe someone else will seek help because of you.

Reeky said...

Have the same. You never said what the medicine is/was.

I found buspar. It's an older med. It changed my life. Most don't like it because... it gets rid of the anxiety but has NO other side effects (no dizzyness, no high, no sexual side effects). It's not addicitive and you don't build up a tolerance. Life is SO different, so better.

Clarisse Teagen said...

I'm glad you shared it. I was thinking of taking anxiety pills too.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I too was recently diagnosed with GAD. Awful stuff, it is. I thought I was going to die. I couldn't handle it anymore. Thank god for meds. I was told I am going to have to be on some kind of medication for the rest of my life, which is fine by me!

Thank you for sharing.

Dear Liam said...

both me and my mom suffer from it, I think how you deal with it is up to the individual. Making healthy choices in life helps.

...love Maegan said...

It's just such a nightmare. I hate it. I'm glad the meds are helping you. I'd like to find a solution as well.

Mich said...

You obviously know yourself that problems can't be solved by chucking chemicals at them (she says, hiding the bottle of wine she's been swigging from... *ahem* lol) but I'm really glad that things are improving for you.

It can be hard being sick without any physical symptoms - not many folk are understanding about illnesses they can't see. Things will work out though, there's light at the end of the tunnel (and I'm sure you've improved your wrist action... giggity ;-) lol)

Lucy said...

Good Luck on dealing with this very hard illness and it is brave of you to share the journey with others. It encourages people to seek help.

LiLu said...

You are truly amazing. Your complete honesty will undoubtedly help anyone who reads this and is struggling to take the action they need to, and that missy, is a powerful thing.


maverick said...

hey..hope u r doing fine n good :)

Meghan said...

Slyde- I'll be back to embarrassing stories soon.

That Kind of Girl- thank you. I appreciate that a lot.

P- if it ain't broke, don't buy a new one.


Deutlich- I never realized. And agree it can affect the day to day more than people understand.

Bathwater- very different sides of that coin.

Stephany- thanks, and good on you for being there for your gramma.

Amber- thanks!

Bruce- I'd never even thought of that or noticed it, but thanks. Your comment made me think. And I'll work on that, heh.

Random Musings of My Life- thanks!

Melissa W- no, you rock!

Mike- good point/ Thanks.

Reeky- I didn't want people to think I was advetising a specific medicine, I'm just telling the overall tale of how treatment can help.

Clarisse Teagan- it's not so scary, but do whats right for you.

Mary@HolyMackerel- it's nice to see there's a treatment for it.

Dear Liam- agreed. This is my path and it works for me, but everyone has their own story and options and they need to do what is right for them.

...love maegan- good luck, I'm rooting for you.

Mich- wine solves everything duct tape can't.

Lucy- thank you.

Lilu- thank you, I appreciate that.

Maverick- great, thanks for asking.

Amy --- Just A Titch said...

I've been considering posting my own journey, as my anxiety has skyrocketed lately---this is so brave. Thank you.