pro-prozac: my experience with anxiety meds

by Joanna on July 17, 2012

In my Things I’m Afraid to Tell You post, I shared that I recently started taking anxiety medicine.

This was not a decision I made lightly.  In fact, it was one that I avoided for a while. Part of me was in denial and part of me just honestly didn’t know how wide-spread my anxiety was. But now that I’m on the other side of this experience, I want to share my story in hope that it can benefit someone else.

I’ve probably suffered from anxiety for 5 years if not longer.

I’d become very familiar with anxiety–that pain my chest that came with a cloud in my mind.

However, when a therapist told me I had anxiety after listening to me recount stresses from my wedding planning and my struggle to move on from the wedding itself, I totally disagreed with her:

“I don’t have anxiety. Yes I get anxiety but I don’t have it. It’s not a condition.”

She assured me that I did and that medicine would help.  That going on medicine wasn’t a bad thing. I didn’t believe her.  About the anxiety or the medicine.

I didn’t want to go on medicine.  I can manage this myself, I thought–go to the gym regularly, get enough sleep, eat right. I can handle this.

But then my anxiety started to get really bad.  The pains in my chest got more frequent and increased in intensity and when I had them they were the only thing I could focus on.  I wasn’t able to be present in my life.

It was time to consider medication. I had a long, tearful conversation with a friend who had experience with anxiety.

She said she had a good experience on it and that it may help me too.  That there is nothing wrong with being on medication.

“I know you’re right,” I said. But then the tears started as I considered the reality of this and self-doubt started to set in again.  “But, I can handle this myself.  I should be able to handle this myself.”

“Why suffer?” she said.

And I thought “I can help myself.” I hate when people don’t help themselves.

I also had a feeling that things would get better, that while being on medicine I could get my life where I want it to be.

I decided to take control of my life. I’d make an appointment with my doctor and see what she said.

The doctor was more than willing to write me a prescription, ensuring me that I can just test it for a few months and see how I feel and make a more informed decision then.

Though it was something I was afraid to admit to myself and others, I am so glad I made the decision to try it.

Until I started this medication, I had no idea how my anxiety was affecting my life. From work, to leisure, to relationships, my anxiety permeated all aspects of my life. The flare-ups that came in the form of tightness in my chest were actually just a piece of it and I think I only noticed that because it was physically painful and different from my normal experience.  I had no idea that my mind racing constantly was a symptom of my anxiety–that was my “normal.”

Three months later, I can truly say that this medicine has changed my life.

Here’s the simplest way for me to describe the change:

I’ve been having life is good moments so frequently recently.  My outside life hasn’t gotten better since I started the meds; my life has been really good for a while now. The difference is that now I can relish in the thought “life is good” for more than two seconds before it’s pushed out by a myriad of other concerns.

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Do I want to be on medicine forever? No.

I hope that when I’m able to align my life with the person I want to be–my true self, that my anxiety will lessen significantly to a point where I can manage occasional bouts of anxiety with regular stress relieving techniques.

But right now, this is what I need. And to be my real self, that’s what I want.

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If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to email me thingsafterrings {at} gmail {dot} com. 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Lauren L. July 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I know how scary it must have been to write this post! Almost as scary (or maybe more so) than writing the Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. I have been on Lexapro for awhile now and it has made a world of difference in my life. I’m glad that it seems to be helping you too !

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