This post is like no other post I’ve ever wrote before. It’s very personal. I’ve told all of you about my anxiety, but have never told anyone that I’ve been on medication for it. Here is my story about starting over. Without anxiety medicine.
This year I decided that I needed to get off of my depression/anxiety medicine. Not only for myself, but for my husband. We would eventually like to start to try for babies and you can’t be pregnant and take anxiety medicine at the same time. I figured it would be a little uncomfortable, but I was willing to take on that pain. If I only knew.
When I first started to get off of my medicine my doctor told me to cut my dose in two for one week and then quit taking my medicine all together. I was all on board. Sounded easy enough!
That week went okay. I had some headaches, but nothing that I couldn’t handle.
Then came Saturday. It was my first night without the medicine. I felt somewhat excited!!! For the first time in seven years I wouldn’t have to take a pill before I went to bed! This was pretty exciting news for me! Then Sunday morning came.
I was okay for the first few hours. Went out to lunch with a friend, went to my parents, and then all of a sudden it all hit me. I had felt somewhat ‘dizzy’ throughout the day, but nothing I couldn’t handle. It was more like a hungover dizzy then anything else. Around 4 O’clock on Sunday I was standing in the chicken house and looked right at my dad and told him that I didn’t feel well at all. This is when the dizzy storm started.
I went inside and sat down for awhile, thinking it would pass, but I was wrong. So very wrong. I looked at my parents and told them that they were going to have to take me home. I wouldn’t be able to drive. This worried my parents, but we knew there was nothing I could do that night.
The next morning the dizziness was still there and I was ill. When you’re constantly dizzy it’s hard to eat, much less try to not focus on your constant want to puke. I started to freak out. Something wasn’t right and this isn’t how I should feel. My doctor never said anything about feeling this way. So I went to the handy dandy internet. (I don’t recommend this for anyone who just recently got off of anxiety medicine. This increases your anxiety and makes every issue about 10 times worse.) What I realized while I was doing my ‘research’ was that I was on one of the hardest anxiety medicines to get off of. I should have NEVER gone off of it that fast. I was suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms and my body was in complete shock mode. The entire day I was throwing up, unable to eat or drink, shaking, have irrational thoughts, and crying. The more crying I did, the more sick I became. I also hate being alone when I don’t feel well because I have a fear of dying when no ones around. I’m afraid I’m going to die and no one will know. Or that I’ll get hurt and no one will be able to help me in time to save me. It makes me cry just thinking about it. So, I was in complete panic mode. I wouldn’t stop texting my mom or husband. It was the loneliest, scariest, dizziest hours of my life. The worst part? The hormones in my brain were going crazy, thoughts weren’t normal, and I was literally driving myself crazy.
The next day I called and made an appointment to see my doctor and off I went. (With some very much needed and appreciated help from my mom.) I was dizzy so I obviously couldn’t drive. The worst part-I live an hour from my parents and then another hour from the hospital. That didn’t deter my mom at all. She left work (thanks to her amazing job that allows her to take off in a flash) and came and got me. It was a painful ride because moving forward and turning corners doesn’t help nausea or dizziness.
We waited, for what felt like two hours, and finally saw the doctor. He walked in and acted like this was ‘nothing’! You see, he wasn’t my typical doctor and was the only one that was available to see me so last minute. He had actually dealt with many patients who have wanted to get off this medicine and knew exactly what to do. They say things happen for a reason and I was never so glad that I had to see a strange doctor in my time of need. He told me that I should have never been told to get off my medicine so quickly. That my body was going into shock mode. He got me onto some other medicine and was confident that this time weaning myself off the medicine wouldn’t be ‘dramatic.’
I’ve only been on my new medicine for 24 hours, but the dizziness is down, my hormones and feelings are still really messed up, but I can eat. And drink. I’m not going to lie. I’m deathly afraid of weaning myself off of this medicine in a few weeks, but I did it once-I can do it again. Making live changes is always difficult, but with my support system, I can do anything.
I’m not telling all of you this to have you feel sorry for me or to get sympathy, I’m telling you this because if you’re on anxiety medicine, getting off of it is more intense then you think. It will not be easy, but if you take the right steps it will go smooth. I took one doctors advice and did no more research. I had to take off three, unpaid days, of work, I had to tell my boss about my personal life and issues that I didn’t want anyone to know, I let people down and worried my family, and I went through hell. Things could have been worse (way worse!!), but please understand that things in my brain were not right. Thoughts were not sane. Emotions were irrational. Moments of self-doubt were real. I want anyone who is getting off of anxiety medicine to be better prepared. To do some research. To have some vacation time saved up to take the appropriate time off and not get behind in work. I want them to have someone to sit with them to remind them that it will be okay. I want them to never have to go through what I did.
(And I just want to tell you guys, my mom rocks. I couldn’t ask for a better mom or friend to help me through every tough situation. She holds herself together when I can’t. She risk everything for me. I may be 27, but I will forever and always need my mom by my side. Through this she kept her phone by her side to respond to my thousand texts. To answer her phone when I’m ‘for-sure’ I’m dying, to calm me down from a panic attack, to take me to the doctor. I love my mom more than cats or cows-and that’s saying a lot. Thanks mom, I will never be able to repay you for everything you’ve done for me. I love you forever and always, your baby girl.)