The other day, I read this beautiful post by Jordan at Ramshackle Glam, and it inspired me to share my own story. I’ve been thinking for a while about if I wanted to share this, but if what I write helps just one person feel like they’re not alone, then it’s worth it.
A few years ago, I started experiencing intense anxiety. I think I’ve always been a baseline kind of anxious person, but I was navigating some difficult situations at the time, and I didn’t have solid coping mechanisms in place, and the anxiety became more than I could handle. The weight of my negative thoughts was crushing. I started seeing a therapist then, and she helped me get through that difficult time.
I started my current job nearly two years ago (!), and stopped going to therapy. I had the perfect job for me, and I was working with amazing people that I had the utmost respect for and really cared about. I had great friends. On the outside, everything looked great. Yet that familiar anxiety came creeping back in and I started going to therapy again last May.
The fact that everything was so good in my life, but I still felt this crippling anxiety was frustrating. I knew how lucky I was, yet I couldn’t reconcile that with all of my fears that I wasn’t good enough. When I began therapy last year, most of our sessions focused on things that had happened that week and my reaction to them, and why, generally how I was thinking about these situations was maladaptive. Several months into therapy, my therapist suggested I see a psychiatrist to consider medication. Last summer, the psychiatrist tried to prescribe me an antidepressant, but I wasn’t open to it at the time and instead got a prescription for a low dosage of Klonopin, an anti-anxiety medication.
I was afraid of a medicine I had to take every day. I was afraid of what that meant, and I was afraid of the side effects. I didn’t think things were that bad that I needed an antidepressant. I took the Klonopin nearly every day, but I didn’t really like it. I felt either too sedated, or I felt nothing.
Around the holidays last year, I got into a funk that I was never able to shake. As I continued working through stuff in therapy, that anxiety was replaced by depression. Both my therapist and psychiatrist have explained that that’s actually really common — the anxiety is often masking the underlying depression. I wrote a few months ago about what was going on behind the Instagram photos, and the truth is I continued like that for a few more months, feeling numb inside. I was having a hard time focusing, and I just wanted to withdraw.
Again, my therapist suggested I look into medication, and this time, I listened. Even if they took a while to start working, I felt that I’d be on the path to feeling better. I started taking Wellbutrin in late July, and I only wish I’d started it earlier. It’s worked like a charm for me — that numb feeling is gone, and my mood just feels more stable. Those negative thoughts that used to take hold and ruin my day or week as I obsessed over them now barely faze me. All those things we’d discussed in therapy that I grasped intellectually but couldn’t grasp emotionally are much clearer now.
I had such reservations about taking medicine, and what I thought that meant. That I was crazy. That I couldn’t cope with things the way other people could. But all it really means is there’s something going on up there, and I’m just using another tool in my arsenal to fix it.
If you’re feeling this way, too, I just want you to know that you’re not alone.