So, I want to start this post with saying that having both depression and anxiety since my early teens, I 100% think medicine is OKAY and think it probably saved me when I was on it. Medicine can be a great thing and you should always take mental health seriously, whether it’s one of these or something totally different.
I’ve wanted to share about my struggles more for a while; hoping that somewhere out there someone can feel some weight lifted off their shoulders knowing those thoughts that seem crazy are in someone else’s head as well.
One of my first major memories of my anxiety was during my senior year of high school. My mom took me to the doctor, I was always very open with my parents about my feelings, and I felt very hopeful. I explained to the doctor that I was feeling extremely overwhelmed, almost constantly. At first he said it was just because I was about to graduate and it was scary. I dove deeper into the darker thoughts I had, “you’re going nowhere”, “you have no bright future”, “everyone hates you”, blah blah, and he said it sounded like ADD and prescribed me some adderall. I left feeling confused and didn’t even bother filling my prescription. I let it go and got used to weekly/sometimes monthly breakdowns, calling my parents saying I can’t stop feeling this way. I constantly felt like I was being suffocated with emotions.
Fast forward a few years (years full of tons of ups and downs with my emotions), I move to Boone, NC and live with my best friend. Have a dream job. Make some amazing friends, and honestly am not sure if I had any “episodes” for a while. Until August of that year when I was hit with one of the hardest things I had yet to go through (and hopefully ever will). I won’t go into what happened here, it’s long and hard to relive. After it happened, I basically became a zombie. It was confusing because at the same time, some amazing things were happening. My very best and most treasured friend was getting married to one of the best humans and I was maid of honor. I was supposed to be helpful and throw parties and plan, but I had to have my slack picked up constantly. I also had met and fallen in love with my now-husband. My friends and family were trying so desperately to figure out how to “fix me”. Luckily, John (my husband) was so patient and so loving during this time. He had no idea what he had gotten into, but would literally stay awake with me all night long and just sit with me while I sat silently, held me when I needed, and never gave up. I talked to a counselor and it helped an insane amount. She was incredible and still is a great friend. I was still depressed and dealing with major anxiety, but it felt very manageable. Once I had Jack, my son, I realized how serious it all was. I needed to get help, it wasn’t just me on my floor crying anymore. I wanted to be the best Mom for him. I went to a doctor that FINALLY listened and they put me on a very low dose of Zoloft (20 mg). I was instantly feeling like a new human. While I was on it (2 years) I felt like I could have been a spokesperson for the medicine. I still think it can save lives.
A few months back, I made the decision to wean myself off verrrry slowly. We plan to have another baby soon and I didn’t want to be taking it then (totally open to it if needed post-baby). I won’t say how I weaned, you should always talk to your doctor before doing so and they can talk you through it. I was very attentive to my body and mind during the process. Once I was fully off, I expected my world to crumble, honestly. Having been on the medication, I am now so easily able to talk/think though my thoughts. Things that triggered me before are so easily managed now. For example, I used to get super bummed if I saw some of my friends hanging out without me. Crazy, I know. But I would wonder what was wrong with me, why they hadn’t thought to invite me. I would sit and dissect my personality, wish I didn’t do this or that. I would drive myself craaaazy. Now, though I still have a moment of feeling bummed, I know what it felt like to not feel like this while I was on medication, so I know it’s not real. I stop and think about all of the times people DO invite me, all of the times I didn’t text every single friend while going somewhere as well, and then I remember, if nothing else, I have Netflix and a cute family to hang with 🙂
No but really, I can truly say that right this second, I’m feeling great with my mental health. But I also know that it can change, and that will be okay. I know what works and I know I have people that love and support me. As for more natural approaches, I’ve been using CBD oil, ashwaganda, and maca powder, as well as cutting back on caffeine. I also make myself workout 4-5 times per week, wake up and read my bible (some form of quiet time, whatever is best for you), and do lots of yoga/stretching. When I originally wrote this post over a month ago (nervous hitting publish) I had only been trying these supplements for a couple of weeks. As far as the CBD oil goes, I 100% know it is helping. It took me a couple of tries with brands, but I found one I love and it’s incredible. For some more knowledge on CBD, I recommend THIS post or THIS ONE. I also really enjoy the ashwaganda powder and maca, but I was using it in my matcha lattes and I decided I may not be a matcha person so I haven’t used it as consistently. I will definitely keep trying to use it in different ways and let you know how it works! For now, I hope that someone reads this and feels a little less alone. Or maybe at least feel like they know me better. I would always love to hear from you if this helped in any way or if you ever need someone to talk to.