After a whirlwind of good and bad days over the past month, I’ve also decided to shake things up by going off my anti-anxiety medication!
I’m just kidding – but it is kind of scary. I feel like I have been doing better at being more in touch with my anxiety and doing everything I can to manage it. I have gotten back into meditation. I’ve managed my alcohol intake (See: here). So, it’s the right time for me with a little bit of self-doubt (THANKS ANXIETY!)
Some History: I have been on Lexapro on and off for about two years now and I have seen great results from it with a few annoying side effects. I am a firm believer in medication but only if it is suggested as part of an overall wellness and health regiment. I think it’s so frustrating and alarming when you sit in a psychiatrist’s office for 10 minutes (from experience) and you come out with three prescriptions for benzos, SSRIs, etc. I’ve heard so many horror stories of addiction and significant changes in behavior from friends and writers that I admire. It all stems from people who were over prescribed or not prescribed the correct medication. I had a friend who was prescribed Latuda for her anxiety and sent off into the real world (with little to no follow up plan), where she began having panic attacks, psychical side effects and basically downward spiraled into having suicidal thoughts and having to call an ambulance. All because she went to a licensed doctor for anxiety… That makes me so nervous for the future of mental health.
I’m super thankful that I had a great therapist who warned me about this and the fact that psychiatrists can be really fucking weird…. and she came up with the plan for the medication, including other holistic approaches and weekly therapy sessions to balance the medication instead of just popping a pill and expecting all my problems to disappear. I remember her saying, “I truly think Lexapro will help you clear your mind so you can start taking my advice and working through CBT exercises. The medication alone can only do so much.”
During this stint, I have been on Lexapro since August. It was two months before my wedding and I felt like I couldn’t dig myself out of the anxiety/panic attack hole no matter how many other methods I tried. Getting back on the drug made me feel like my mind was more clear and I could reason with my anxiety more than without it.
But now it’s June! I’m a married woman who has gained 20 pounds since August (Lexapro is known for noticeable weight gain or weight loss – lucky me!) and I’m going to take a stab at working strictly on natural solutions. My new and equally great therapist is looped in on my plans and suggested that I order the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook so I’ll be armed and ready to report back.
It will be tough but it will also challenge me to be mindful of my day to day actions as well as plan for the days ahead. Hopefully these initiatives will head towards a more mindful, happy life. Stay Tuned.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified therapist or a health professional. I definitely don’t have all the answers and I’m not perfect. I just know what works for me! You should always consult a doctor or therapist before beginning any sort of medication routine.