I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was 22. I’ve always had anxious thoughts as long as I can remember, but it didn’t really spiral to crippling extremes until I had entered my first job out of college. I had a really tough boss who was a jackass and her own issues with OCD and constant need for unattainable perfection was soul crushing for someone who already never thought they were good enough and always had the “what-ifs” rolling through her head.
That plus living with my then-boyfriend-now-husband is a 500 sq foot apartment (his garage tools were in the same closet as my shoe collection which is absolutely a tragedy and I reminded him of that every single second of every day) was too much for my brain to fight, so ultimately my anxiety took complete control. I was basically unbearable to be around. On top of that I was drinking the same amount as a normal 22 year old, except in my case 2 out of the 10 times that I drink, I run the risk of turning into a fucking tornado.
I realized after a few severe panic attacks that I had to bite the bullet and talk to someone. Therapy had never been a real option for me, I always looked at that as a sign of weakness. Or even worse, I saw therapy as something that I didn’t need or deserve. Things weren’t that bad, I would tell myself. You grew up with great parents, had a good life relatively speaking, you really don’t have it that bad so you shouldn’t take up a therapist’s’ time. Boy, I’m sure glad that I called someone anyway.
Within 10 minutes of my first appointment, my therapist was like, Ummm you definitely have anxiety and you probably need medication. Literally just like that. She was FANTASTIC and not one of those pill pushing doctors, she just clearly saw that in order to break through to the root of the problem, I had to balance out the chemicals in my brain first. So that’s what I did.
I started taking Lexapro and I cannot tell you how much it changed my life. Within days I felt like I was thinking more clearly, like I couldn’t think of things to be anxious about. What a break for my brain after 20 years. From there, a couple years of sessions allowed me to get to the root of my anxiety issues, which is still most likely because of a chemical imbalance, and working on ways to combat them. I would never recommend to just start a prescription for an anti anxiety or anti depression medication without also having therapy sessions.
Today, I’m on a lower dosage (0.5 mg) of Lexapro which I take every night before bed. I work through my anxiety on a daily basis and it’s much more manageable than I could have ever dreamed of. I even still go to therapy about once a month to check in. While I’m definitely NOT perfect, it’s a start. Now if only I could drag myself to the f**king gym…