I Couldn’t Do It On My Own

It’s only been 5 months since I stopped taking medication for anxiety and depression.  Only 5 months have gone by, and I can’t deal.  Today I will go to my doctor and ask (possibly beg) to be put back on.

A series of events has brought me back here.

  1. Six weeks ago, the murder that was too close to home happened.  I kept imagining myself there because I was supposed to go there that same day.  This jump-started my anxiety.
  2. I started taking self-defense classes.  These served to both inform and terrify me.  I began imagining all the possible ways I could be harmed.  I couldn’t stop the images from coming.
  3. I subsequently stopped running outdoors by myself, which sidelined me to the treadmill at the gym.  Running there was so uninspiring that I rarely did it at all.
  4. Because of all of the above, I became irritable and short-tempered at work and in my personal life.
  5. Life circumstances took a downward turn, as they do from time to time.  So I rounded the corner past anxiety and hit the brick wall of depresssion. Negative thoughts pervaded.  Pessimism prevailed.  The heaviness in my chest returned.  My arms feel so heavy at times that I don’t feel I can lift them.  I can’t focus on anything because I am so focused on myself.
  6. The ugliest parts of myself are left unchecked and allowed to show through.

This isn’t me.

Or is it?

I am conflicted about my decision to restart medication.  I feel like a failure.  I went back and read my post, No Refills, which I wrote when I took my last pill 5 months ago.

I made a promise to myself there.  “I will ask for help.”

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17 thoughts on “I Couldn’t Do It On My Own

  1. Bridgedette Ynman says:

    You are human.

    Who knew that those 3 words could change my life….as if I didnt know it. Actually, I DIDNT. I was raised as a “do-er”, to keep going through all adversity. Sure these life experiences made me a person who can “do”, but sometimes I have to stop.

    Stop, and ask for help. Take the timeout I really need.

    Each of us has our valued “time outs”. For me, it’s watching funny tv shows….the more life stresses me, the more corny the tv show. LOL!! I also use music and exercise to disconnect from the “real world.” There’s something about music & noise canceling headphones that are magic!

    Through all of life’s twists and turns, I always actively remind myself of my 3 magical words….I AM HUMAN…..and breathe.

    • Thank you so much Bridgedette. I am the same way – it’s hard for me to ask for help. My “timeout” used to be running and now that has somewhat faded away. That was my salvation. I hope that with medication I can become stable again and not feel the lows so deeply. I am glad you mentioned music because it is so important to me. I think I need to tune out of the internet and instead tune in to music more, especially in the evenings. Thank you for thinking of me 🙂

  2. Claudia Alvarez says:

    Thank you for sharing, Cathy. I really enjoy reading your posts because they are so authentic. You are not a failure. You are a living, breathing, human being experiencing the highs and lows of life. And you’re courageous enough to pause and ask for help when you need it. For your sake and the sake of your family. Where’s the failure in that? We have all been there.

    On those days when I’ve felt so overwhelmed, I repeat to myself, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” For as long as I can remember I have recited this to myself.
    Just remember, friend, you are strong, you are brave, and you are worthy. Hang in there!

    • Thank you Claudia. It seems to be a repeating theme from my friends – You are human. How strange is it that we sometimes need to be reminded of that?? But I do. And I don’t know why I feel so alone in these times, but letting it out really seems to help, because friends like you tell me I’m not the only one. Thank you for thinking of me.

  3. Red says:

    I’ve been there too. I think a lot of people have. More, unfortunately, than we know. I too gave up the pills and said I wouldn’t go back. I too face-planted right into that same brick wall again. And I too wanted to ask, beg, plead for another pill. It was so much easier when I didn’t have to peel myself off the wall, so much easier when something else shooed the clouds away, so much easier when something else carried the heavy weight that had strapped itself to my body… but… and hear my heart… you can do this. Find a school track to run at where there are activities going on and people around. Running around and around a track is actually easier than running on a mill. I know. I’ve done it a gazillion times. Find a running buddy. Whether that buddy has two legs or four… don’t go alone and don’t go far… yet. Or find a running group. Run in packs, fast or slow. Don’t focus on your fears, your disappointments, your short-comings. That’s what lets those clouds become so heavy its like soup. That’s when you can see no reason to get up again, to move forward, to even be. Its hard. Its painfully hard. But… and this is where I ask you to listen to me… you did it before, you can most certainly do it again. Lace up your running shoes and run. Around your block, around the gym’s parking lot, around a track, around the softball field. Just run. Listening to your footfalls, feeling your lungs fill with much needed air, lengthening your stride, pumping your arms… focus on these things… and then you will be able to deal with all the other “stuff”. Give it one more day… don’t go to the doc… go for a run.

  4. Rosie says:

    Cathy, would you deny a diabetic their insulin if they insisted their body could produce it alone, without help from injections or an insulin pump. Of course not. I truly feel that anxiety and depression are medical conditions that require medication if you want to treat it properly. Not all diabetics need insulin, but all diabetics need some level of treatment and live a healthy life style as a diabetic. Being having anxiety/ depression is the same thing. Your body is lacking the proper level of chemicals/ hormones (etc) and taking medication is what gives your body what it is lacking. You are far from failing. You are making the right choice for yourself so that you can live a long, strong, sane, healthy & happy life. If you are determined to get off the meds eventually then try again in a few years when things have settled down a bit. You must understand though that you may never be able to fully wean yourself off of meds, and that is perfectly acceptable and responsible. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your life with us. Take care! ❤

    • Thank you Rosie. Several people have made the same analogy about other medical problems and it’s so right. I asked my doctor today about the usual course of antidepressants, and if I should expect to stay on them forever. He said the general rule is the first time around you stay on them for 2 years then taper off (I did 4 years). Then if you have a recurrence they recommend being on them for 5 years. Then if you have another recurrence after that, just stay on them for good because they are so well tolerated. I had zero side effects when I was on them. I had a good visit today. He is the same doctor who treated me the first time. When I told him about my anxiety starting after Lauren’s murder, he told me she was his patient. It was an emotional visit. I’m glad I went. Thank you for thinking of me.

  5. acuriousgal says:

    I’m so glad you made that decision. Like any illness, always need to keep ourselves in check. A failure, hell no!!! You would have failed yourself if you didn’t keep this illness in check. You’re doing the right thing.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts. I agree, if I keep going like this I’ll end up doing or saying things I’ll probably regret. And I don’t want my kids to remember me this way. I want to participate in my life as fully as possible, and I know this will help me do that. Thank you for thinking of me 🙂

  6. I went for many years suffering without anti-anxiety medication because I was afraid to ask for help. After finally confiding in my family doctor about my anxiety she put me on medication. It literally gave me my life back. Just like I take my asthma medicine everyday, so that my lungs work properly, I take my anti-anxiety meds so that I can feel calm and whole. You’re making a good decision going back on your meds. There’s no shame in taking care of yourself. I hope you feel better soon. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing your story. It’s strange but true – medication helped me be more “me.” So I have no doubt it will help me this time around again. Many of my friends have made the same analogy about other medical problems like your asthma example. I hadn’t thought of it that way before and it makes total sense. This is an illness and there is treatment. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

  7. Medicine is available to treat medical problems. Depression and anxiety are medical problems. Don’t be ashamed.
    I wouldn’t not take my inhaler for my asthma…

    Also, when I get into a funk and am dealt a crappy hand, I force myself to focus on making small positive changes bc focusing on the anxiety and depression can sometimes be a rabbit hole. Join a running group, take some fitness classes, read a really inspiring book… Etc. Every single day, wake up and tell yourself that no matter what happens, you will remind yourself of the silver lining of any and every situation. It is proven, that by doing this, you can jump start your attitude to just be more positive. Eventually, the optimism will become second nature.

    Hang in there!

    • You are SO right about depression becoming a rabbit hole! I found that when I was really low, I would be drawn to depressing, moody music! It comforted me but also made me more down. And I have been very inward-thinking lately, so the worse I felt the more self-involved I became. I feel that now that I will have medication on board, I can use positive thinking and other strategies. I am generally an optimistic person, so I’m looking forward to becoming myself again. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

  8. shutupbecky says:

    It sounds like the incident in OP really scared you and sent you into a tailspin. What happened was terrible, but it was a freak occurrence. The park is a safe place to run. Maybe if you were able to come to terms with what happened, you could start running again. And maybe the best way to come to terms with it is by facing your fear head on. Run there with a buddy or a even a group of people.

    Or just run at some of the other parks until you build up the nerve to go back to OP.

    I don’t have any experience with taking medications, but I would try to avoid them if at all possible. Let running be your medication.

  9. polaris299 says:

    Needing to reach out and ask for help is not a failure – the failure is not asking for help. No one has the power to do it all.
    Once you have that stress controlled you will have energy to be able to tackle the next issue.
    Be well and may your day be a success

  10. […] been 10 months since my last confession blog post.  That post so long ago was all about admitting I couldn’t do it on my own.  I had been off medication for anxiety/depression for a short time and knew I needed it again. […]

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