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.
Read more about my anxiety:
How To Support a Spouse with Anxiety
Living with Anxiety
Creating Coping Skills for Anxiety
Finding Your Anxiety Triggers
Surviving Holiday Anxiety
Dress (borrowed) / Earrings (borrowed) / Shoes / Bag (gifted)
Photos by Julia Dags.
Hi Julia! I’m so Happy you have your anxiety
Under control! I’ve had mine for maybe a
Year. Sadly, it intensified on 5/20/19. The
day my Mother passed away. I’m having a
hard time sleeping, etc. I wake up in intervals during the night. Please add me to
your Prayers. I enjoy your blog
Liz, I’m so sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers. I hope you’re able to get help if you need it. xx
I feel very fortunate that I don’t struggle with anxiety but I know from my sister-in-law how debilitating it can be. I so appreciate your honesty with your experience and think you are doing such an amazing thing by A. sharing your story and by B. telling people it’s ok that you need medication. So many people are afraid of it for various reasons but sometimes it’s the only thing that helps. I’m sure your posts and outspokenness about the topic have helped many people and I love that you share it! Keep doing what you’re doing xo also love that dress!!!
Thanks Adrianna! That means a lot. xx
Congratulations! It was life changing for me too! It’s so hard to explain to others how that kind of pervasive anxiety feels. Also, your hair looks great.
It’s impossible to explain. But my husband understood it a lot better when I explained how it felt physically. And thank you, I just had it cut 🙂
Hi, new-ish follower here, and one of the reasons I started following you was actually because of your first post about your anxiety. I hadn’t read such an open, honest, vulnerable yet strong blog post from anyone in a long time, and it was really refreshing and eye-opening. Just wanted to say that I’m so happy for you! Thank you so much for sharing your anxiety story/journey. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I myself don’t have crippling anxiety, but I have loved ones who do, and I know hearing and reading others talk about their own experiences helps them feel less alone and less stigmatized.
I really appreciate you–and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
All the best,
Thank you so so much, Liz! Ir’a nice to hear that you understand people with anxiety better now. That is one of my main goals in sharing my experiences.
Hi Julia! Pee anxiety is real. As funny as it is ! I’ve had anxiety since college and can sympathize with the insomnia – my anxiety medication has really helped me and I’m such a better version of me being on it. Thanks for sharing!
So glad to hear you’ve made a positive change too. And glad to know I’m not the only one with pee anxiety.
Julia, this is really great to hear! Happy that you found something that’s working!
My anxiety has been the worst it’s ever been for the past 6 months. A few weeks ago, after finding out my cortisol levels were still extremely high, I went on a cortisol manager. I haven’t had that “boulder on your chest” feeling or panic-y, spiraling thoughts since then. I’ve been more creative, less unnecessarily emotional, and happier?!
This is just the beginning of the journey and I have no idea if my anxiety is a part of me now or caused by something else in my body and routines (I have chronic pain too).
Continue to talk about and update us on how you’re doing not just with your medication, but also natural methods, like working out, meditation, eating healthy, therapy, etc. Myself, and I’m sure many readers, are trying to find that balance of what works to manage anxiety.
Thank you for sharing. Your posts about anxiety always make me feel less alone. It is so hard to put into words the crippling effects of anxiety, and how it can even make you plan your life differently and miss out on so many different things due to feelings of anxiety or fear of those feelings. It’s also such a weight, intruding on what should be perfectly happy or calm moments for no reason. I, too, take medication and I am so glad that I am able to breathe and simply live my life again. Cheers to that!
You said it perfectly. It is impossible to enjoy life fully with such a heavy weight on your shoulders. Glad you’re medicated and happy too!
SO glad you are feeling better! Anxiety is an awful thing to live with.
Were you always an anxious person or do you think the hormonal changes during pregnancy and post-partum set something off?
I was always an anxious person (even as a young child) but it got much much worse post-partum. It was liveable before I had Amalia and not liveable after. Oddly enough I was hardly anxious at all when I was pregnant!
Glad you are having success in better controlling your anxiety. Not a fun condition to have, but thankfully it can often be significantly improved with treatment.
Thank you! And absolutely. I hope that everyone who has it knows that they can get better.
I have been on anti-anxiety medication for years and it does change your life.
My daughter has also been on an SSRI for several years and her provider is in the process of switching her to a different one. It has been only 3 weeks for my daughter on the new medication. It was helpful to read how much better you feel after 6 months.
Your blog is one of the most honest and refreshing blogs I read. I appreciate that you don’t post “a new outfit every day” like some bloggers which is frankly a turn off. Your honesty about your life makes you feel like you could be my sister (although I’m 20 years older LOL)
I’m so happy to hear that your daughter is doing better already! It’s amazing what a few weeks on an SSRI can do. Especially when you find the right one. Thank you so much for saying that. It really means a lot!!
I am thrilled that things are turning around for you for the better.
It is not a good time going thru life with anxiety and when you can get some help all the better.
I have had anxiety for most of my life. There are events that cause it to go up and then it will go down. But add in a few health issues and about a year and a half ago the passing of my father and an older mother who has serious health issues too things get compounded.
I have some of the side effects that you have mentioned regarding anxiety and I have been contemplating perhaps asking my doctor who has worked with me about perhaps meds. She and I are aware that I did take some right after I was taken off of blood thinners (I have a DVT and was on blood thinners for 2 1/2 yrs). I was on for about 4 yrs. I was able to maintain for a bit until the health of my parents came to a head in a 6 month period. I did other manners of maintaining the anxiety but as I get older myself things change.
Thank you for opening up about a subject that is so personal yet is experienced by a number of people. I appreciate it.
I love these updates and the positivity toward medication! I was on medicine for anxiety when I was on the verge of depression a few years ago and it was amazing! Totally helped flip my mind set and helped me see clearer in life. I am all for holistic approaches in life but I think people need to understand how beneficial this can be especially if you have tried other ways and nothing is working.
So amazing. And I agree. I love a holistic approach but sometimes you need something more. Medicine is there for a reason!
So glad it is going so well for you! I started on medication for my anxiety 3 months ago (your post about it originally was a big push for me to deal with my anxiety), and the biggest thing I notice is that I feel joy again. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t feeling it until I was again. What a blessing it has been. Hope your journey continues to be a great one.
This was a great post, but I was especially moved by what you said about how this changed motherhood for you. Isn’t that wonderful?! So glad you’re enjoying more happy moments with your sweet girl, and wishing you lots more in the years ahead!
Beyond wonderful. It has changed my life and our relationship. I’m so grateful for modern medicine!