Monday, February 10, 2014

Going off the anti-depressant medication

An S-P to the A-M site got a hold of one of my post links.  I’m no website expert so I can’t figure out how to stop it from getting all up in my grill, inflating my stats, and messing up my comments.  After my bout of amateur researching, I am going to delete that link and re-post the article here, to a new link, under a new title.  In the most professional way, I’m crossing my fingers and toes on this one.  While you’re waiting on me, enjoy re-reading my “most popular post”.  Oh yeah, and I'm going to have to enable the comment filter for a while...sorry.  But feel free to still comment!  I love hearing from you!
Tapering off the medication: Curing Anxiety, Part 1 -

My one sentence answer: “So far so good.”

I am not going to lie and say that there haven’t been any bumps in the road. But I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect because life never is…

Some things I’ve noticed:
I am more tempted to get stuck on obsessive thoughts
Calorie counting and weight paranoia returning more frequently
I am hesitant to do too much at once (which is a good thing, I guess)
I have to choose my coping skills deliberately and more often
Leaving the house is more difficult because I am afraid something bad will happen
I’m afraid I’ll forget to do something and I obsessively make lists
It’s still sometimes difficult to get out of bed in the morning if I have a lot to do that day

If I had to make a generalization, I would say that I am struggling less with the depression side of things and more with the anxiety.

I am not surprised by this realization. I’ve been doing really well with treating my depression and my eating disorder overall. However, since tapering off my medication, I can see that my anxiety seems to still be present in my daily life.

OK, now to figure out how to cure my anxiety…

Thank God I was recently given this wonder program for dealing with anxiety. (The program is called Attacking Anxiety and Depression by Lucinda Bassett. It’s a series of tapes with a corresponding work book. These tapes came at the best possible time because they are exactly what I need right now. If you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, I highly recommend that you look them up and try them out for yourself.)

If you aren't ready to try the program just yet, you're in luck! For the next few weeks, I am going to be blogging more frequently about how to cope with anxiety because…well…that is what I am dealing with right now.

Everyone, (repeat with an emphasis) EVERYONE, experiences anxiety or panic – it’s a part of life you cannot escape.

How you deal with stressful situations is the defining factor.

People learn how to deal with stress at a young age. Everyone learns how to cope with anxiety and panic from their parents, or the people who raised them – good, bad, whatever…

Ever since I was a kid, I learned to deal with stress by constantly worrying, fretting, and reacting as though it was the worst possible situation. Seemingly insignificant situations were cause to panic.

Spilling juice on the carpet felt just as bad as if a tiger got loose in the house and was chasing me around.

When I was young, really young, I made up this rule that I had to worry about bad things happening because then they wouldn’t happen. Or if the bad things did happen, I could be prepared and in control (clutch). I still catch myself trying to follow this rule.

Now I am older and wiser. I don’t want to live in constant anxiety anymore. And I realize that I don’t have to live in constant fear anymore either.

If I learned how to deal with anxiety in an unhealthy way, then with time and practice, I can learn to deal with anxiety in a healthy way.

“So, now what? What do I do? How to I cope with stress and anxiety in a healthy way?”

To cope with anxiety and depression in a healthy way, I can’t just flip a switch off and “not”be nervous anymore. “Don’t be nervous,”they say. OK…yeah…that’s not going to help. You can’t just change the way you feel because you want to. Have you tried that? Yeah, it doesn’t work.

To Cure Anxiety: You have to change the way you think and respond in certain situations. To deal with stress in a healthy way, you have to re-train your brain and your thinking process.

You might not believe me at first, but YOU are the main cause of your anxiety. And YOU are the only one who can calm yourself down.

Understanding this fact is a major key in recovery.

One reason why I want to recover from my anxiety attacks:
You may or may not already know that Depression and Anxiety have physical symptomsas well as mental and emotional symptoms.

Poor mental health can cause lack of motivation, extreme fatigue, upset stomach or digestion, insomnia, headaches, and other ailments.

I originally thought I was gluten intolerant or lactose intolerant because of all the stomach issues I had. Anything I ate seemed to bother my stomach. I had poor digestion and elimination (sorry, this post is not for the faint of heart). Before I even ate anything at all, I sometimes started to feel bad because I thought, “Is this going to bother me?” or “what if I get sick and have to go home?”

I was convinced that there was something physically wrong with me. And I worried myself into more anxiety and more depression because I didn’t know what was wrong. As a result, this worry aggravated my physical symptoms.

When giving up wheat and dairy didn’t help my situation, I was certain that I had stomach or colon cancer. I went to my family doctor several times hoping that they would find somethingwrong. I even had tests done at the hospital to see if they could find anything…anything! I knew, for sure, that something was wrong. However, the doctors said I was perfectly healthy.

I didn’t believe them, those doctors, even though they were professionals. I was afraid that they didn’t know what they were doing. They had to have missed the giant tumor in my stomach. Maybe the doctor was just too busy that day and didn’t give me a full and proper examination. I began to worry that I had a terminal illness.

I had no idea (or maybe just didn’t want to believe) that my symptoms could be the result of poor mental health.

In case you don’t believe that the brain and the stomach are connected, let me give you an example. Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach because you were nervous about something like a big test, an interview, or speaking in front of a lot of people? Maybe you get sweaty palms or feel a little dizzy or fuzzy in the head. Or maybe you’ve had worse. Maybe you know what panic attacks are. Or maybe you have IBS. Or maybe you are generally a nervous person and have poor digestion overall.

Looking back, I can see that in the midst of all my digestive issues I was also stuck in an anxiety circle of fear. Because of this fear, I had more stress and anxiety, which in turn, caused more stomach/digestive issues.

Once I started learning more about depression and anxiety, my eyes were opened. Other people had some of the same symptoms I did. The similarities were uncanny. Lots of people who struggle with anxiety and depression have problems with digestion.

My stomach gets very upset in stressful or anxious situations, and then I, well, I get “sick”. Because this ailment became common, I was afraid of going places because I was afraid of where I would be when I had the next diarrhea attack. And because I was focused on how I was feeling, I would get more anxious and, thus, my stomach would start to gurgle, toss, and turn. Seemingly stress-free circumstances became problematic. But I never told anybody because who wants to talk about diarrhea?

If you are like me and the majority of the human race, it is difficult to admit that your suffering is “all in your head”. I’m notsaying that your suffering is fake. NO! Your constipation, diarrhea, or upset stomach may be the result of poor mental health. However, it doesn’t make it any less real. Quite the contrary, actually. The physical symptoms that are the result of anxiety or depression can be just as much of a problem and health risk as the symptoms of someone with celiac’s disease or cancer.

Ever since I started confronting my fears, treating my depression, and taking better care of my mental health overall, my digestive issues have been almost non-existent.

Want to know how I did it?


  1. Hi Mary! If it's okay to ask, what kind of Meds were you on? Did they help you think more positively?

    1. I was on prozac. And yes, they did help bring my emotions under control so I could think more positively and make better choices.

  2. Oh! And I was also going to ask about how you went about dating and getting married while dealing with anxiety, etc. How did you know you were marrying the right one? As always, I'm so grateful to you for sharing your journey!

    1. Funny you should ask ;)
      See today's post!