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.