Update: Real life stuff, anxiety, depression, blah blah blah.

First off, this is a very personal post, but it’s something I know that some of you may also deal with, and I want to be completely transparent about what’s been going on in my life. Even if this is not something you suffer from, it’s something that not enough people talk about, and I have no shame in being a voice to bring up a subject that may be difficult for others to discuss.

I know I’ve ghosted you guys several times lately and it’s really been eating at me. I feel awful for it and I hate my lack of consistency over the past few months but I have finally dug up the courage to get the root of these problems “fixed”, or at least learn to deal with them better, so I hope you all will understand. I’m finally starting to feel more like myself again, so I will be trying to post more. I definitely hit a pretty deep low recently that I’m just coming out of, but I’ll do my best to create more content, more often!

I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve always struggled with anxiety and depression… Well, since around the holidays, they’ve become absolutely debilitating. There was a lot of personal stuff that was going on that kept knocking me down further and further, BUT I happen to have some awesome friends who sort of picked me up, talked some sense into me, and mentioned an all women’s clinic that treats people for anxiety, depression, and all sorts of things. They do therapy, checkups, they have people who specialize in nutrition and weight loss in a healthy way… They basically treat the WHOLE woman for whatever might be going on.

So far, it’s been three weeks since I stopped taking an anxiety medication called Xanax, that doctors had been prescribing me for several years, which is NOT okay, healthy, or safe to take for that long, even at the extremely low dose I had been prescribed! I wanted off of it, for good. Had I just stopped taking it cold turkey, I would have suffered from horrific withdrawals that can lead to seizures or even going into a coma (I had seizures last time I tried to stop taking it). I wanted to do this the safe way, so I finally gave that clinic a call and they hooked me up with an awesome doctor right away. Needless to say, all the changes have been really hard to deal with this past month or so, which is why I haven’t been active on here or any social media really.

I’ve started therapy to help me deal with all the feelings and stress that cause a lot of my anxiety. They also changed my medication to one I can more easily taper off. I don’t want to be on it either, but for now, it will prevent any withdrawal symptoms from going off of the previous medication as well as treat my lingering anxiety. With this simple change, I feel a MILLION times better!! Not gonna lie, I felt like I was dying for the first week or two while by body and brain adjusted to everything, but it was worth it. For the first time in years, I’m feeling again… Both happy feelings and some sad, but I’m feeling, and that’s all that matters to me. I’m not a zombie any more. I’m motivated and inspired. I want to be a better version of myself and really work MUCH harder at everything I do!

I’ve done absolutely nothing but put myself first the past few weeks, pretty much ignoring social media all together and working on improving my health and mental well-being. It has been the best thing I’ve done in SUCH a long time! There’s been a lot of naps, reading, dog snuggle time, and yoga, which I think have all helped me refocus and get through the worst of the withdrawals and help me to not think about the little episodes of anxiety I have had off and on. Eating clean, light meals also seems to help with energy and being able to think more clearly right now.

I know how hopeless and pointless it can seem to get treatment, either for something like anxiety or depression, or to get off of a medication that’s doing more harm than good… I didn’t think I’d be where I am right now, especially this quickly, but things CAN get better. I was so afraid to tell people what I was about to go through going off of my medication and all, even my best friends and family. I was terrified of being judged and that people would think I was an addict, rather than someone who just developed an unexpected physical dependency to something that doctors kept telling me was helpful all this time. After I posted something on my twitter and facebook, there have been a ton of people who are genuinely supportive of me during this process that I never even knew dealt with the same mental illnesses! People are usually a lot more understanding than you think (which is, I know, very difficult to believe if you have anxiety and/or depression), but don’t be afraid to be open about it, even if it’s just to a best friend or family member. Having support is the number one thing that will help you deal with everything!

If you have issues with mental illness… Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to take a step forward to make a change for the better. YOU come first and you deserve to be happy and healthy! Don’t EVER let people make you feel like less of a person, or broken, or crazy… You’re not! About a third (if not more) of the population suffers from depression or anxiety, at least at some point in their life, so you are certainly not alone, or weird, or anything else you might be feeling down on yourself for. Both anxiety and depression are chemical imbalances in your brain… You’re just wired a little differently and sometimes that causes some problems but I promise you that there are healthy ways of dealing with it.

Never feel bad or wrong for taking a medication if it’s necessary, though! There’s NO shame in that if it truly helps you! For a lot of people, medications DO help and ARE beneficial because they can assist your brain to produce a chemical or endorphin that it may not be making or regulating at a “normal” level. When you do see a doctor, see an actual psychiatrist who specializes in these type of conditions and PLEASE do your research before you pop whatever pill a doctor hands you a prescription for! Don’t be afraid to ask a million questions or even get a second opinion. Taken long term, Benzodiazepines, which include Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), among others, are EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE and basically end up messing up the balance of chemicals and endorphins in your brain because you become physically dependent on them if you don’t just take them occasionally or as needed on a short term basis. When that happens, with some of them, your brain gets lazy and used to not even TRYING to produce all of those happy, healthy endorphins any more since it’s had a medication take over that job, so the end of taking those medications can be much worse than how things were before you started them! There’s a lot of very technical stuff I won’t get into, but essentially that can make you think you need more of them, which is just bad news, and in the long run, they can end up making things like depression and anxiety WORSE, especially if you stop taking them. They are some of the number one medications in the US that are overprescribed and they can be very dangerous, or even deadly, if mixed with some other medications or alcohol. Like I said, it’s totally fine if you need medication to feel better, be more stable, or function, but please be careful and know what you’re taking and what it’s for!

If you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to and you’re dealing with the same thing I’ve been going through, or even anxiety and depression in general, feel free to leave a comment or even email me. I know what it’s like to go through so if I can help anyone, I’m here to listen!

I’m sorry if this post got a little long winded, but I wanted to share this journey with you all in case it helps even one person. I hope that whatever may be going on in your life and how down you may feel sometimes, you realize how important, unique, beautiful, and above all LOVED that you are and there are always people out there who will help pick you up when you’re down, even if it’s someone you’ve never met ❤

XO,

Lesley

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