About 9-10 yrs ago, I had a horrible episode which required a trip to the er, ultimately ending in a diagnosis of untreated hypothyroidism. My blood pressure, blood sugar and pulse dropped so low, it was like a diabetic coma. Ok not QUITE that severe, but I was unable to talk, walk, swallow, etc.
Anyways, within a year of that episode, I began to have issues of anxiety. Feeling nervous about going out to the store, tense in the shoulders when I had to wait in line...things of that nature. I studied and got one of my BA's in psychology, so I knew how to handle these episodes: breathe, relax, and understand that my anxiety was unfounded. While I knew all of this, and physically made myself deal with it, my brain chemistry continued to get worse. I began avoiding the grocery store, the bank, the movie theater.
OH the movie theater...I don't know that I can EVER step foot in one again. I had such a sever anxiety attack, I passed out on my way up the aisle while rushing out, and collapsed on the floor. I was horrified to wake up with the lights on and people staring at me.
These little things only compounded my anxiety, and after it growing for years, I finally realized that I needed help. I NEVER EVER wanted to go on meds. I KNEW that I would never need them, and I was almost too stubborn to take them. Why? Because my (estranged) mother is bipolar and really effed with my childhood b/c of her untreated mental illness. I promised myself that I would be as unlike her as one possibly could, which would ultimately mean that I was normal. Well, I had to eventually face those fears and go see a doctor about my anxiety b/c my entire quality of life had been compromised.
I wouldn't go out of my apt. if people were around to see me. I couldn't wait in ANY line (at a store) w/ out feeling like I would pass out again or throw up. And I felt that if I passed out, I would surely die. So, before I went out to do ANYTHING, I would have a drink or two to take the edge off. Not a good thing. And not possible when going to job interviews.
So yes, finally after 6 YEARS of trying to do it on my own, I was prescribed meds, and haven't looked back since. I don't have any anxiety about parenting, funny enough. But I do have diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. And this is the agreed upon diagnosis of 4 different doctors that I have seen; psychologists, psychiatrists, and MDs combined.
Needless to say, as the past few years have gone on, my levels of medication have increased to the highest doses possible, at which time I have to get a supplement and then switch to another drug. Right now I am on 200 mg Zoloft, 1 mg Klonapin twice daily, and have Ambien for my constant insomnia.
I never thought I would be so reliant upon medication, but I know what it is like to live w/out them, and that is a future I don't think that I can face. I know w/o a doubt that if I were not on medication, I would not have my child, job, friends, or health. I'd probably have a very damaged liver and cobwebs in my hair. lol
I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that I cannot "work through", and I have made my peace with this. As others have commented, "if I was diabetic, I would be taking insulin." Same difference. =)
For a continued discussion of anxiety, medication, and depression, please visit Nic's Blog (she is one badass chica).