I’ve lived with anxiety for years. It’s been a long term friend of mine. One that you meet, get really bad vibes from, but continue to keep the relationship going due to a mutual trust that neither of you wish to be here but it’s better than nothing. Yes, that one.*
*really bad analogy that made a lot of sense in my head???
Looking back on it now, ever since I was about nine or ten, I’ve lived with panic attacks and the unending fear of what was to come next and what was to happen in the near future. I had so, so many signs for so long and it wasn’t until about a year ago that I realized I had an actual mental disorder and that I needed to seek professional help. This was also due to my anxiety transforming into a type of depression that was altering my every day life. Basically I was sad, drained, and it kept getting worse and worse as time went on.
I was so proud to see a doctor for the first time. I was proud that I was ‘adulting’ and actually getting treatment that was needed. So I did. And my doctor didn’t doubt me for one second. She knew what was wrong with me right away and decided to put me on Celexa aka Citalopram. It’s a very common, low side effect drug that works as an anti-depressant and helps with anxiety. I started on 5mg and went up to 10mg after about a week on it. (During this visit, I was also suggested to see a therapist for seek outside help. More on that in a bit.) This was my first time on any kind of drug like this and very nerve wracking. I’ve only ever been on asthmatic meds which are just to help my lungs be actual lungs but this was different. It wouldn’t only affect me physically, it’d affect me mentally. But I did it and I did it proudly.
I started them in March 2016 and within a few days (my body weirdly works wonders and meds seem to always take effect more faster than normal??) I was feeling better. I couldn’t notice it right away but my mom could. She said I was more calm, less angry, and our fights (which would be multiple times a day) were bare to none. So I kept them up and during this month, as a suggestion from my doctor, I went to a therapist. I had one session and basically by the end of session one, my therapist legit told me that I might have a slight case of a bipolar disorder and “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I wanna try this *insert medical term* therapy next week, so research it and we’ll see if that works.”. A slap in the face is what it felt like. He offered me no hope other than to try some mental practice, which I would totally be up for but whatever kind he said we’d try… just didn’t sound right. So I stopped going and continued my meds. They continued to work for me up until around September/October 2016 when things took a turn for the worse. I think this was due to me getting in a relationship with the love of my life. This wonderful and beautiful thing somehow triggered some weird, horrible part of my brain. I went from this euphoric high to be depressed daily over the smallest things. My partner wouldn’t text me for a few hours and I’d think the worse was happening, I’d miss his lunch on the days I was able to make it (due to traffic, going to the wrong place, etc) and I’d have a breakdown. It wasn’t normal, at least for me. But it all hurt the same. Thankfully my partner has been nothing but supportive and tried his best to keep me grounded. I’d have a breakdown and he’d take care of me, call/text me throughout my shifts at work to keep me afloat. He’d surprise me with flowers, take me out to eat/shop, literally anything he thought I’d love, he’d do it. And it’s because of him that I am here. I’d gotten so worse that to keep myself from doing anything horrific, I promised him that I wouldn’t take my own life. It was my promise to him. Promises mean everything to me, so it was my way of making sure I survived this. Not only for me, but for him.
So I kept my meds up, stopped my meds, and decided to go back to my doctor. He put me on 20mg and I kept that up too. It still didn’t work. Throughout this time I also missed a lot of work. I’d have days where I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t do anything but lay there, texting friends, and trying to keep sane. But I did all of this for me. It wasn’t ideal but it worked and helped me live. But my meds not working horrified me. I wasn’t suffering from anxiety, I was suffering from depression. It just got worse and worse. So I went back to another doctor and got prescribed Prozac. I wanted to try out these meds due to what my therapist said months earlier and had one of the worst experiences at the doctors due to this. Suffice to say, the clinic and doctor offered no help and we had to file a complaint against the medical board. (Feel free to tweet me if you want to know more, but to keep this short: fuck that doctor.)
Fast forward a week or two and Prozac made me worse and made my mind race. I couldn’t focus and made everything horrible. It was after that that I stopped all my meds completely. Tried to focus on other things, like work, projects, friends, games, etc. And it helped quite a bit. My depression was still prevalent but it was quieter. I than started a new job. I lasted two days before quitting. I couldn’t handle the hours, the stress, the being away from friends and knowing nobody. And that was only a few weeks ago. So I’ve been taking this time, this free time I have, to rebuild myself. Rediscover my loves, my passions, figuring out what my limits are, what I can handle, what I can’t. And it’s been great. I’ve been doing really well, at least in my eyes. I’m loving life again, growing all of my friendships, planning for greater things with my partner and so many other amazing things. I also started taking my Celexa again, but only because I felt I was in a good place and could be even better. Since than, I feel like my meds have made at least a tiny improvement. But the side effects have also been worse for some reason. Over SWCO I stopped them. I couldn’t handle the sickness it brought me, loss of appetite, etc. I’d go the entire day without food and only realize that I needed substance until I was dizzy and almost passing out. It got bad. So I stopped them during SWCO because I didn’t pack enough and missing one day, I felt so much better. I was hungry and had a normal appetite. It sounds weird but it feels so, so good to eat throughout the day cause I feel like it and not having to force feed myself so I don’t pass out. HUZZAH!
But with that said, I have started them again, obviously. Since starting them back the side effects have been pretty low as of now. As I’m writing this, I did wake up nauseous. Wasn’t as harsh as usual so yay for small wins but with this being said, I still do struggle daily. I go through waves of emotions where I’m either ecstatic and lively or I’m just sad and feel no emotions at all. It sucks. I’ve realized when I’m doing something productive, going to a con, doing a day trip a few towns over, etc, I feel happy. It’s all I’m capable of. But in everyday life? It’s hard. I constantly feel sad, guilty and angry. I’ve been learning that in these situations, I prefer to have no emotions vs feeling everything at once. It’s a weird balance that I rarely have control over. I’m trying to pin point when I’m sad, guilty, or angry… and when I find myself in that headspace, just shut down my feelings. It’s sounds like a fucked up way of living when explaining this in detail, but it helps me get through and stops the guilt or anger I feel from feeling those feelings in the first place.
These thoughts have been on my mind lately. I wanted to share all of this for everyone to read, maybe get inspired by, to know that not everyone is alone in this. But I also wrote this as a personal therapy session for myself. It feels so good to write this all out, to put it out into the world, to see the feedback this post gets. As I write this, I’m feeling better. It’s 12:08pm, April 22nd. I woke up with a headache, struggled to get back to sleep because of stress, and than woke up again only to let little things get me down. About an hour ago I accepted it was one of those days and decided to lay down, play games, and aimlessly browse YouTube to get my mind off these things. This all brought me to Twitter, where quite a few of my friends are very open about their mental illnesses, which in turn brought me to add the few final pieces to this piece and actually post it. I wanted to share this as a way of showing that there is a silver lining. I still battle these feelings. I still have my days. But they grow fewer in size each and every day. I’ve shared that I suffer mental illnesses but I’ve never went into full detail. I hope this has offered some type of relief for you or some type of positive emotion or some beacon of hope. I’ve always been a strong advocate for mental health awareness even before my own struggles came to light, so it only felt right to share my own piece of this mental health pie we all seem to share a slice of.
Keep strong, keep loving, keep living, and I’m always here if you need to talk. ❤