9 months ago
Knowing When It’s Time to Take Medication for Anxiety
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a worrier. I run on the anxious side but always found a way to get by, and even found a way to use my anxiety to my advantage. Can’t sleep? Work. Launch a company. Organize the closets. Launch another company. Maybe it was years of working until 3AM or maybe it was getting into my 30s and becoming a mom, but eventually, I slowed down. I had to. And when that happened, I was forced to face the worry.
I was quick to isolate and started about a week before everyone else last year. My nanny and husband thought I was being extreme but I went to worst case in my head and well…it was worst case. Two months later, my toddler was diagnosed with Leukemia, and just six weeks after that, I had my second baby girl. Last year was a lot for all of us and it’s important to remember that we all handle things differently. Those three events, but mainly, the trauma of watching my baby go through cancer treatment, were just too much for me. No one is strong enough to go through that and it’s an anxious person’s worst nightmare. I couldn’t turn off the extremely persistent worry and fear.
I felt understandably broken and worried about every single block of treatment months before we were even there. Yes, worry is normal. I’ve spoken to parents who never dealt with anxiety and needed to go on meds to get through treatment, but I watched my husband focus on the present and that wasn’t how I coped. When I was with Margot I was ok – even happy. But I cried almost nightly after she went to bed and worried constantly.
When your worry is persistent and even excessive, it’s time to seek help. I just talked about this in my post about anxiety the other day, but I can’t advocate for therapy enough, especially if you’ve been through or are going through something really hard, and who hasn’t? We often lack the tools to cope on our own and it’s so helpful to have someone to help you work through it. And sometimes, we need more than talking to someone, and that’s ok.
It was my therapist that recommended going on medication after Margot was diagnosed, and no part of me was surprised by her suggestion. I knew it was what I needed at the time, but learned that I could benefit from staying on it while I work through the events of the last year. Getting in with a psychiatrist took too long and I felt a sense of urgency since I was so anxious about Margot’s upcoming medications, that I took my therapist’s advice and called my OB who prescribed something right away.
Here are some of the signs that made me realize I could benefit from medication.
1. I found myself feeling very anxious and on edge, and couldn’t turn it off.
2. This is not new for me, but I was really struggling to fall asleep. Once I was asleep I was out, but I was staying up so, so late.
3. It didn’t take a lot to make me feel anxious. If I was having an anxious day and someone (an adult, not Margot) asked for something, my stress level would shoot through the roof. Even a question on instagram would stress me out (again, only when I was really anxious).
How I felt after starting anxiety medication
I noticed a change in the first week, and so did my husband. I had been so on edge and pretty quickly, the little things that would have felt like too much weren’t getting to me. It obviously didn’t take all my problems away and I’m still talking to my therapist because I have a lot to work through, but it took the edge off. Medication allowed me to slow down – to exist without the constant, excessive worry.
Do I still worry? Of course, and I’m working through all of that in therapy. But I no longer have to go a mile a minute to distract myself from what I’m feeling.
I was fortunate enough not to experience any side effects, but really, we’re all so unique and what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. It has to be said that I am not a doctor or medical professional and cannot tell you what you should do in regards to your health. If you’re wondering if you could benefit from therapy or medication, please call your doctor.