Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Victory: Getting Back on My Medication (and being okay with it!)

A few months ago, I was feeling pretty dang good mentally. For some reason, I decided I could probably go off of my medication. I talked to my doctor about it, and I starting weaning myself off. Even though I was going off, I told myself I wouldn't be too proud to go back on. There's no shame in taking medication. The day I took my last pill, I got some pretty devastating news about a dear family friend. Even though it was hard, I did really well. I was doing okay!

As time went on, I was still okay, but I could sense more and more anxiety creeping up. Oddly enough, at first, I didn't really link it with going off the medication; until one day I was talking to my sisters. We were talking about anxiety and I said, "I've been having a hard time mentally lately, like ever since...(pause as realization occurs)...I went off my medication." I started laughing. It was so obvious!

I fought off a little bit of pride (even though I had told myself I wouldn't have any!) and decided it was probably a good idea to start looking into getting on medication again. I liked my doctor, but I didn't really feel like she was the right fit in my situation. So, I started praying about and researching for a new doctor. I found one that I really liked the description of, he mentioned working with anxiety and depression specifically in his online bio. I called and scheduled an appointment, but I couldn't be fit in for 3 weeks. That's a long time when your mental health isn't quite where you want it to be!

When the day finally came, I was really nervous/anxious about it. It can feel very vulnerable to talk to someone about your mental struggles. This new doctor was perfect. He sincerely listened to me, asked questions, and made me feel confident in my decision. It was a fabulous appointment. He got me a new prescription and I started that night.

For a second, part of me was upset. For a moment, I had seen getting off of medication as a victory. Now I'm back on. Lame. NO. It's not lame. It's a victory that I saw I was struggling and had the courage to find something to help me. It's a victory that I was able to push through that bit of pride that wanted to stay off the medication. It's a victory that I have learned strategies to help me through anxiety along with the help of the medication. It's a victory I can write about this and not be ashamed.

When I was really struggling and fighting my pride, I confided in my sister in one of the best ways possible...a Facebook message ;) She replied to me and said,

"I don't try to 'manage' my way through anymore. Yesterday I was on a walk with my friend and she had an allergy attack, the pollen was killing her and she called her husband to bring her her allergy medication that she takes in the spring and summer. I was like, 'Wow, we're breathing the same air and it affects us both so differently.' My eyes were maybe a little itchy from walking past a hayfield, but that was it. I need [medication] to function and regulate my emotions right now. She knows what it's like to be stressed or frustrated but she doesn't know what it's like to be totally incapacitated by your thoughts and feelings. So why would my friend 'try to be strong' when there is help available?"

I still live with my anxiety daily, but the medication helps me live with it so much better.

If you're struggling and think medication is the right option for you, I encourage you to go find a good and understanding doctor and talk to him or her about it. It can be hard, but it's worth it! If this small thing can help you go from okay to great, or from managing life to LIVING it, it's worth the time and effort it takes to get there!

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