I never took pills up to this point in my life. If I had a headache, I would try to figure out the root cause and try to take care of it that way – drink water, eat something, or sleep.
After my 2nd child, I noticed I was not being myself. I had always had some quirks, but nothing that affected my behavior, or prevented me from living my best life. Now, I found myself staying home more, hesitating when someone invited me over and thinking twice about going places alone with my kids. I also realized that I would agree to attend several events, like birthday parties, or get togethers, then back out at the last-minute. I would cancel because it was too overwhelming to figure out what to wear to an event, get myself ready and my kids ready also. I thought it was just “me”, trying to be perfect.
When the heart palpitations and feelings of fainting increased, it affected my life even more. I still went out with the kids alone and attended some parties, but it was stressful. I wouldn’t really enjoy myself because I hadn’t taken the time to look nice. I was also very aware of the sensations that could pop up at any time.
It was then when I decided to talk to my doctor and it was then that he put me on fluoxetine (Prozac). I had a massive panic attack on it and that was the best thing that could have happened. It led me on a long, scary journey to learning that I did not have “quirks”, or was not just a perfectionist, or obsessive, or indecisive. I had anxiety that had built up over time, into a full-blown disorder.
Because of my fear of medication, the disorder lasted way longer than it should have and got to a point, it never needed to get to. I ended up with Agoraphobia. For me, it was an intense fear of just about everything – driving, eating, leaving the house, living. The first medication I trusted and learned to take, was Xanax.
It was taking “alprazolam” (Xanax), regardless of the stigma associated with it and regardless of the fear of becoming addicted, that I was able to do simple, every day things. I was able to go back to work, sleep, take care of my children and be less afraid of doing things. It got rid of the palpitations and sensations of panic. It helped me realize that there was a better way to live. I didn’t have to be afraid. Because of Xanax, I was able to take an SSRI, like Prozac, that eventually controlled the anxiety permanently, if taken at the right dose.
It’s true, I hated taking medications, but after going through an experience where I truly needed them, I was VERY GLAD they existed. Everything I read, was about NOT taking medication, or other “natural methods” of controlling panic. They didn’t help and made me feel worse about taking medication. When you have such a severe anxiety disorder, I truly believe the only thing that will help is medication and reading other websites (like I did) about natural remedies, just keeps you from taking the medications you really need. You just get worse.
I don’t want to take medication forever and now that my anxiety is controlled, I can CALMLY look for ways to control anxiety without it. So far, I haven’t found anything that works. The only reason I would ever want to stop taking medication is because it’s just one more thing to do – go to the doctor to get a prescription, fill the prescription and go back to pick it up. Also, it costs money and there are some side effects. Right now, the cost (about $20 per month) and the side effects (tiredness) are nowhere near the debilitating effects of the disorder itself. I choose meds…
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