Speed bumps

I have not written in quite awhile.  Honestly, I’ve been exhausted and this has not been a priority for me.  However, I do miss writing my thoughts down so I thought I would revisit my blog and give it another go.   After all, I have greatly benefited from others sharing their stories so I like to give back by sharing mine.

Sometimes life gives us a rude awakening.  Right in the middle of “normal” you can find yourself in a situation that you do not even recognize.  You do not recognize the situation or even yourself during these times.  Since having my daughter I have spent a lot of time trying to figure myself out.  In a matter of months, everything I knew about myself changed.  I was a teacher and wife.  Then one day I because a mom.  I am not longer a teacher, a part of me that was a huge part of my identity.  While I am beyond happy to be home with my daughter, I often feel like I am in a bit of an identity crisis.  Adjusting to being a Mom has me trying to figure out who I am all over again.   My daughter is over a year now and feel like I am still trying to adjust to this new life.

Part of working on figuring out who I am, has been working on my anxiety.  Anxiety has been a part of my life for maybe… forever.  I was diagnosed around 10 or 11.   However, I have spent a majority of my life with relatively well-managed anxiety.   When I had my daughter, I struggled a lot with anxiety.  After about 6 months of struggling, I called my OB.  They gave me medication to help.  It did help, I felt really good!  I lost all the baby weight, I was happy, I was able to do a lot more.  Overall, the medicine had helped me get to a more normal state.  However, it caused frequent stomach issues.  I would wake up throughout the night often sick to my stomach.   After several months of hoping my body would grow tolerate of the medicine I decided to call my doctor.  They changed my medicine in hopes it would eliminate the stomach issues while still helping my anxiety.

My stomach stopped hurting.  But I hit a wall and had a pretty nasty reaction to my new medication.

I found it difficult to get out of bed.  I did not feel any emotions.  I felt flat, like life had no highs or lows.  I just felt nothing.  I had frequent unprovoked panic attacks.  For the first time in my life I needed Xanax to help stop panic attacks.  It took me a bit to realize something was wrong.  I put on weight which only further worsened how I feel about myself and caused extra stress.  I became easily frustrated.   I just was not me.  Thankfully my husband and sister recognized that I was not acting like myself.   I avoid going to the doctor as much as I can.  Throughout my pregnancy I felt so bad about myself because of weight gain.  Now that I gained weight from the medicine I felt for sure they would nail me for it.  So I avoided it.  I just wished it all away.  Thankfully, my counselor was able to get me to see a psychologist to take care of my medication.   He has changed my anxiety medication and it has made a world of difference.

I can get in a car and go on a trip with my family without dripping in sweating.  I can function all day without extra medicine.  I feel happy, sad, excited, and most importantly in my world, love.  I feel emotions, something the other medication took from me for awhile.  I feel like I am going to be okay and that I can manage anxiety again.

Bottom line with treating anxiety, it is not a one size fits all treatment.  Not everyone presents the same way and not everyone reacts to treatment the same way. If you struggle with anxiety I encourage you to find what works for you.  For me its a healthy mix of counseling and medication.  Whatever works for you, find it.  As I have found, there can be speed bumps along the way but do not give up on it.  My doctor consistently reminds me that if one medication does not work, there is a list of other ones to try.  He reminds me constantly, I have options.  You have options too.