I went on anti-anxiety medication when Maddie was ten months old. After everything she’d gone through in the NICU, I had pretty major post-partum anxiety. I woke up one day and realized I didn’t need to live my life with crippling anxiety, and I went on a medication to help even me out. I was able to go off it about four months later, and it was a really simple process. I went BACK on anti-anxiety meds after Annabel was born. I was in therapy and my doctors had actually been recommending it for a few months, but I resisted until I was no longer pregnant.
After Annabel was out, my anxiety was much worse than it was the first time around. My therapists played with my doses, and eventually put me on a second medication to compliment the first. The two medicines worked well together and really helped me feel like I was on even ground, and even though I would still have anxiety, it was a million times more manageable.
A few months ago, I realized I’d been on the meds for fifteen months. They were a big help, but I wanted to see if I could live without them. And, the doses were at levels that aren’t healthy for extended use or pregnancy (and no, I’m NOT pregnant, but would maybe like to be again at some point some day). So my doctors and I discussed the process to wean off my anxiety medication.
For the last eight weeks, I’ve been slowly weaning off the meds, and holy. crap. It has been so hard. I just wasn’t prepared for the side effects of weaning off medication I’d been on for so long – especially since I’d stopped taking it in the past with zero side effects. I felt like I was going to scratch my skin off. Then I felt like my brain was literally bouncing around in my skull. I’d be achy one day, and clumsy-loose the next. It was a really bizarre, uncomfortable experience.
In retrospect, stopping anxiety medication RIGHT BEFORE BUYING A HOUSE AND MOVING was a really stupid idea. I feel bad for Mike, I was not an easy person to be around. I was even more emotional than usual. My patience (not one of my strongest personality traits in the best of circumstances), was at an all-time low. But, Mike pointed out, we made it through escrow and the move, and I didn’t kill anyone or make them kill me! As Annie would say, “ahsooo!” (awesome).
One of my friends asked me if I thought this was sustainable…and I don’t know. I’d really like it to be. However, I’m realistic and I’m not going to set myself up for failure. I think that I can function on much lower doses than I WAS on, but right now my goal is to go without. Through all of my therapy and interactions with others, it’s solidified my belief that it’s OK to use medication. So many people have tried to make me feel bad about it, and that’s just absurd. If you can get through your whole life without needing a little extra help sometimes, that is amazing and good for you! I’m not one of them. I’m certainly not going to feel bad about that – and neither should anyone else.