I started blogging again last year and I was really enjoying it, until anxiety got the better of me. And I just stepped away. For 11 months.
I've always been anxious. Some of you who have known me for years may recall my phobia of going into banks and gas stations (you know, I was expecting to be a casualty of an armed robbery gone awry). And remember in high school when I didn't get my driver's license until I was almost 17? (You know, I was pretty sure I was going to kill someone with my car.) There is possibility and probability, and my anxious brain cannot discern the difference between the two.
My anxiety has increased since having children. You know that saying about your heart walking around outside your body? Incredibly difficult for an anxious soul. And of course, dealing with Mr. MIB's Crohn's and emergency surgery and other hospitalizations hasn't helped. In fact, after the first surgery, I'm pretty sure I had a bit of PTSD for a long time. I'd just had my first baby and my husband almost died. I came unhinged emotionally for a long time, all the while keeping everyone alive and trying to move forward. Throw in a miscarriage and everything went sideways for a long time. I was convinced that every time he left for work, it was the last time I would see him. Something could happen with his guts or he could get into a terrible car accident. So I would wash dishes and think about managing two kids as an unemployed widow, working it through in my head. Thanks, anxiety! (Again, possibility vs. probability…)
Last fall, my anxiety reached peak levels. I experienced months of heart palpitations -- stress test turned out fine. I went into hypersomnia mode -- when I get super stressed, I just sleep. Which helps nothing and actually makes things worse.
And then it happened. Twice. I was driving the kids to school and had a panic attack. 2X. I wasn't particularly stressed, wasn't thinking about anything stressful. But I could barely get us to school, an 8 minute drive down the street. Twice in two weeks.
And then I did something that I don't normally do. I asked for help. I went to my doctor and said I needed something. Enter Lexapro.
Ahh, Lexapro. I had never been pro-medication for mental/emotional issues until my own anxiety became crippling.
It's been almost a year now and I'm feeling so much better. It's like the volume of the constant buzz of anxiety has been turned down by the medication. I can still get wound up with "what if" scenarios, but now I can escape them much sooner, not spending days and days dwelling on remote possibilities and self-concocted anxieties.
My doctor asked if I'd like to keep taking it -- yes, please! The first month was rough as I swung too far to relaxed and didn't care to keep up with my household duties and experienced some other not so great side effects (goodbye, libido). But after that first month, I adjusted to the medication and everything normalized, but this new normal was not nearly as anxious. What a difference it has made.
If you're dealing with anxiety, depression, etc, please don't be afraid to ask for help. I'm so glad I did.