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I just refilled my anti-anxiety medication

When I was in nursing school, I went on antidepressants. And there is a post in my drafts folder on all this, and when I’m brave enough, I will post it, but the point is, I decided to go on medication because denial, distracting, and self-talk wasn’t enough to push the feelings away.

I just refilled my anti-anxiety medication

I used to be on antidepressants

Anyway, I went on them, and I remember distinctly chatting with a friend before the start of class and she was talking about how stressed she had been for weeks, short-tempered, crying bouts and all that. I had been on Welbutrin for a few weeks and she had briefly known that I had started it. I tentatively told her how well it was working for me and how much better I was feeling.

“I don’t need to be on medication. I’m not depressed,” she replied, still focusing on rifling through her notes.

Of course. Because medication was a sign of weakness. And though she was my friend and a good friend at that, I couldn’t help feeling like it was a personal jab. I know it wasn’t meant like that.

Overcoming the stigma

But let’s be honest. There is still a stigma that exists that needing medication for anxiety or depression is a sign that you can’t handle it. Because eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising should be enough to drive the thoughts away in a normal person, and if you need medication, you’re looked on as someone who’s failed or didn’t try hard enough.

I stayed on the Welbutrin (not talking about it with anyone except for Chris, that guy I eventually ended up marrying) until the following spring after graduation and I haven’t been on them since. But it’s something I’m always going to battle periodically.

And I’ve never been on a medication for anxiety ever, even though I’ve had anxiety ever since I was a child.

Because going on a medication meant I had lost. I wasn’t strong enough, and I just needed to work out more, eat better and try to get to bed earlier.

Ha. I like chips and dip.

So again, more about my past anxiety in another post, but my first step was seeing a therapist. I started back in July and it’s done wonders. Because I had no idea how much infertility, a traumatic hospital stay, and postpartum life had taken my sort-of-debilitating-anxiety and turned it into a raging beast that I could no longer control.

Therapy helped tremendously, especially with my phobia thing of Olivia getting sick.

Still, I tried to remain strong, telling myself I was in therapy now—I could work through this.

I consider taking a medication for anxiety

My therapist was talking to me one day in the beginning of September about how some people will take an antianxiety to be able to bring the anxiety down to a more manageable level so that talk therapy would work better. A few weeks after that, I had an appointment with my primary to talk about it and walked away with a prescription for Zoloft. Since I was breastfeeding, we had to be more particular with medications, so I said I would try it for a few weeks. This was also the time I had started birth control pills for my premenopause diagnosis.

There were some side effects (low libido sounds much better than saying I didn’t care about ever having sex with my husband again) that I ended up having that were just not going to work for me, but other than that, I felt good. Well, initially I was nauseous. Which sucked, but that lasted about a week, (and I’m not sure if that was the BCPs I started within two days of the Zoloft) and then I just was living with a suppressed appetite, which made me cheer because hey, two birds and all that. I felt noticeably less anxious.

And when Olivia got sick at the beginning of October, I felt more in control. But I decided to see my primary again that week to see about trying another medication.

I try another medication and so far so good

I took a little holiday for five days to get my body back, and then I started on Effexor, a small dose, with the option to increase it after a week if I needed it. I tried it, and so far, after three weeks, I haven’t increased it.

I don’t have any side effects, though I was a bit disappointed that my appetite still remained as hearty as ever, and I think the anxiety is being managed. I say that, because I don’t feel as good on it as I did the Zoloft, but the whole libido thing is also pretty important as well, so I’m going to keep on the Effexor for now and see what happens. I may have to increase it, but maybe this will be manageable.

It’s taken some work on my part to be OK with needing a medication. And I have been weight lifting again and it really has helped with the anxiety as well.

So I’m doing good. I’m taking care of myself finally, for the first time in years. I’m seeing a therapist, I’m taking a medication for my anxiety, I’m weight-lifting and I’m surrounding myself with good people. I haven’t given up the frozen pizza and cream cheese salsa dip with lime-flavored dip, but no one’s perfect. Perhaps most of all, I’m talking about it all candidly here for y’all. Because it needs to be talked about. And since I have, I’ve gotten emails and messages from other women, thanking me for talking about something so hard, so taboo, and that’s why I continue with it.

Even though it’s hard.

 

Image via Unsplash

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12 Comments on "I just refilled my anti-anxiety medication"

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Amie
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A co-worker has said the same words, “I’m not depressed” over and over like it’s a bad thing. She didn’t want to take medication either for her anxiety which got so bad she had the worst reflux and could barely eat anything while NOT on medication. I guess I don’t understand why it is such a bad to just take the medication? If I felt like that I would gladly take anything that would help. I feel like it is totally ok. I am so glad you are taking care of yourself you deserve to have all around happiness 🙂
Cristy
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There’s a lot of stigma surrounding SSRIs as well as medication for treating mental health. A lot of that is due to the image so many have of those who take medication for mental health (One flew over the Cuckoos nest and Girl, Interrupted immediately come to mind). I view medication as a tool. It’s meant to help aid people as they are seeking to heal. It needs to be monitored as not all medications work for people (and can change over time), but it also has to be paired with counseling. All of the above you are doing. I… Read more »
Rebecca
Member

I’ve been taking Effexor for 12.5 years. Don’t be afraid to increase it if needed! I’ve been on 150 mg but increased to 225 during a bad time. And I’ve stayed on it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’m glad you are searching for something that works- it’s worth it.

Beth
Guest

I agree with Cristy. Meds are a tool. We readily use these tools for physical ailments so why not for anything? I appreciate so much you always sharing and putting yourself out there.

KatherineA12
Guest
Oh, I love this post. Thank you for being so open about these issues. There have been several posts recently from various sources about medication for anxiety/depression, and all of them (including this one) finally helped me make an appointment with my doctor’s office to talk about medication. I’ve struggled for years with anxiety that tends to turn into depression (once the high level of anxiety finally exhausts me and I crash) and while I feel like my emotions are somewhat manageable right this moment, I can tell I’m anxious a lot and came very close to sliding into a… Read more »
Amber
Guest

Risa, I love that you are sharing all the good, the bad, and the ugly (not that it’s really bad or ugly). Thank you for being open and honest. I think there are so many people out there that benefit from that. I love when people are REAL about the things going on in their lives, and it is so not an easy thing to do. I admire you tremendously.

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