Let’s Talk About Anxiety
Oh boy, do I know this all too well. I’ve had anxiety since as far back as I can remember. My anxiety was so bad that my mom and I got certified in Transcendental Meditation when I was in seventh grade, in hopes that it would help alleviate my anxiety.
I realize now that my anxiety held me back from a lot of things when I was younger. For instance, I would get so worked up about quizzes and tests that I would almost freeze and not perform as well as I could have. I also never spoke up in class even if I knew the answer because I was too scared of failing or looking stupid. I was also a good athlete, but really held myself back because I would get so completely nervous out on field, that I wouldn’t do as well as I’d done in practice. I have always suffered from severe social anxiety. You would never know it because I was always booking up my summers to spend time with friends, but as I get older I notice it’s even worse. I have the hardest time when it’s one-on-one with someone. I start to get inside my head and wonder if they are judging whatever I’m saying, or if I said something stupid.
I finally threw in the towel after college and went on Lexapro after talking to a dear friend who had been on it. She said something that stuck with me “it’s like when you break your leg, and you need crutches, you can’t be without them…sometimes we all need a little crutch.”
Her advice and Lexapro helped me tremendously. I didn’t wake up with the heavy weight on my chest, carry it throughout the day, and then go to bed with it anymore. I felt like….myself for the first time in years. I didn’t really know life without anxiety.
However, I decided this year that I didn’t want to be on it anymore and took the advice of my doctor and weaned off of it slowly. The reason I went off of it was because I didn’t want that chemical in my body and if I want to try to conceive a baby at some point in the not so far future, then I don’t want it in my system, either. The whole reason why I didn’t want to take Lexapro in the first place all of those years back was because I didn’t want a chemical in my body, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to feel normal.
If I am being entirely honest, being off of Lexapro has been really hard. Although, I think a lot of it had to do with my situation – my injury took a toll on me and my job was starting to kill me both mentally and physically. I had a lot of down days, and I still have days now where my anxiety is really bad, but I have more control over it.
I can tell you all the things that make it better for me (meditation, working out, eating right, etc.) but you know what I have finally discovered makes it worse?
I can’t drink much anymore because of my head, but when I do, I notice my anxiety skyrockets the next day. I wake up in a panic and go through the Rolodex of reasons why I “should” be anxious. Sometimes even meditation and working out don’t help. What helps is cutting out the booze. However, I am not someone who will entirely deprive myself of alcohol. I think it’s perfectly fine in moderation, but I just know for me, it’s a big trigger for my anxiety, so I need to watch it.
If you are having anxiety issues, I can give you more tips with how to manage anxiety as well, and what to do in social situations if you are having an anxiety spell. I am super open about it and tell people I have anxiety. I find that it actually helps relieve it for me, but we can find what works best for you!