It’s been exactly six months since I went on medication for my anxiety, and it’s hard to put into words how much my life has changed in that time… But I’ll try. My last real update on the topic was a few weeks after I started, and even looking back on that time, things have gotten even better. My mood feels more even, but I’m still able to feel all the emotions. I am calmer. I am happier. I haven’t had one panic attack.
Do I still get stressed out? For sure. I’m human! But that stress no longer lingers and manifests as a physical sensation in my chest. It no longer sticks to my ribs for days, weeks, or months at a time. Life just seems more manageable. If I have a giant to-do list, I check things off one by one and don’t get panicky about the big picture.
Here are a few specific ways that life has changed since December.
I have been an insomniac for my entire life. Until now. Guys I’m not even kidding I sleep through the night most nights for the first time in my life. I still wake up from time to time but fall right back asleep. I also don’t have to pee 3-4 times a night which is really odd because I haven’t changed my diet at all. I’m pretty sure that was just an anxious pee situation.
My fear of the dark:
I’ve talked about this briefly on here but I’ve also been afraid of the dark since I was a kid. Not like a haha she’s 33 and afraid of the dark. More like a crippling fear that paralyzes me so that I can’t move or breathe if I’m alone in the dark. I’ve done hypnosis, therapy, and everything in between to kick it. Turns out, my SSRI did the trick. I slept alone with no lights on when Anel was out of town for a week and again in Nantucket last week. For me, that is a huge deal and something that I never thought would happen in my lifetime. I didn’t even think about that as related to my general anxiety but turns out it is.
Where to even start. I would say that this is the area that has had the biggest change. Most of my anxiety stemmed from becoming a mother, so I could never really be calm around Amalia which is just so sad to say. I always loved her but couldn’t appreciate her amazingness in the same way that I can now. I felt intense guilt for not feeling this way for her entire life, but I’ve worked through that and really accepted the fact that my anxiety is chemical. It is not me or who I am as a person. And I was able to get the help I needed early enough in her life that hopefully she won’t be too affected by it.
Maybe this is TMI but I’m able to be more intimate which is great for everyone. But what is really amazing is that the little things that Anel would do that gave me anxiety no longer do. So I don’t feel quiet rage towards him for chewing too loudly or stomping down the hall. We laugh a lot more. We hug a lot more. I’m so grateful that he stuck with me through the hard times and I tell him that at least once a week.
The only side effect I have at this point is that I get really nauseous if I don’t take my pill with toast or something bread-y in the mornings. I take it in the morning because when I tried to take it at night, I would wake up at 4am every single morning and just be wide awake. The day I moved it to the morning, that went away.
So yeah. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Medication and therapy changed my life. I am living. I can enjoy my life, my family, my friends, and my work. I’m beyond grateful to everyone who helped me through this process, including many of you who I’ve spoken to along the way as you have shared your own stories with me.
Photos by Julia Dags.