I was diagnosed with panic disorder and GAD almost two years ago. I was a newlywed and a new mom to a beautiful daughter. I was on cloud 9, loving my life when I had my first panic attack while enjoying a birthday dinner with family and friends. It hit me like a train. I had never experienced anything like it. I was on the floor of a restaurant gasping for breath as my family looked on helplessly as patrons dialed 911. We thought I was dying.
That moment lived and lives so vividly within my mind and entire being every single day. My life was never the same from that day forward. I continued having daily episodes, frequent ER visits for what I thought was a medical emergency until my life was at a complete halt. I could no longer complete simple tasks such as showering nonetheless grocery shop. If I did, it was always with assistance. I did not even know why I was feeling fear or anxiety. I was feeling physical symptoms. Constantly dizzy, constantly shaking, my heart hurt to the core, my head felt in a fog, I sometimes felt as if I was dreaming, my vision was blurry, I constantly checked my pulse for abnormalities. I questioned everything..every little sensation, change, lack of change. I lived in a pure hell. My life felt robbed beneath my feet. How did I get to such a desperate place so quickly? In other words, "What the hell happened?"
It took me two years, three doctors, a ton of medical and psychological tests to correctly diagnosis me with PD and GAD. My depression was onset from having my doctors incorrectly diagnosis me and medicate me with incorrect medications, and the cycle perpetuated until I found the right doctor.
I have been on lexapro and xanax for 12-13 months. This is the ninth medication we have tried. I was at a point where I thought medical doctors HAD to be missing something. I had little faith that this medication would do anything. I thought, there was no way my physical symptoms were anxiety. There was no way it could be so bad. Just no way. Two months on lexapro..life began to get better. I was starting to get dressed and do little things again. I was able to drive places alone. Small milestones, but huge in comparison to the crippled state I was in. I began to go to public places again..I remember going to the aquarium with my daughter and feeling joy, just joy and not fear of having an attack in public, or what if I actually had a heart attack, or planned an escape route. We just enjoyed our day.
That's when I knew..and I finally gave into this disease. I no longer fought it or felt the need to question medical tests. I knew in my heart, this is anxiety. I may not be able to explain it. We may never know its origins. But, this is it. From then on, I focused on how to work with it, not against it. My life moved leaps and bounds forward from that day.
I was taking my xanax, .25mg x 2-3 day, faithfully. It truly saved my life and I have now gotten past the stigma of xanax. I could have never faced my fears and have functioned so highly without it. I thought to myself, well that is great we have found a medication that has helped me live a somewhat normal life, but felt sad that I had to depend on it. Then, one day out of the blue.. I noticed I had "forgotten" to take it. We decreased my dose and I'm down to .25mg once every three days..and I feel pretty ready to say goodbye. And that is when I realized, this is a natural process. One day, you won't need it. But, if you do, that is okay, too. I may need it during a serious episode and I will happily take it. But, I cannot believe how far I have come. I just cried today and thought to myself, I cannot believe my life is so good again. I was so low. I felt as if life was over as I knew it. I prayed every day for the strength to get back up, for my daughter, for my husband, for myself. It was slow. It didn't happen when I wanted it too, but it happened when I least expected it.
Hard work pays off. Stick with it. I thought how pointless my therapy sessions were some days. I thought to myself how useless my medication seemed.. until I looked back to two years ago. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in the imperfections of our journeys, we lose sight of how far we have come! We are looking forward to trying for baby number 2, my dream come true. We used to pray to God to help us fufill our lifelong dream of building our family. I still cannot believe the time is here where I am actually well enough to do this..and on my own.
It can get better. It will get better. Keep going. Your journey is imperfect, but it is worth it.
Post Edited (lmlogan) : 9/11/2016 1:15:09 PM (GMT-6)