I was amazed at all the love and support I received from my last post about coming off my medication. I had no idea so many of you were screwed up like me! Totally kidding. (I knew) So for those of you are curious and following my journey here’s my update…
Today is actually 2 weeks and 1 day that I have been completely off of my anxiety medication. While I am excited about detoxing my body and brain, these past two weeks have not been uneventful. I have had a few “waves” of panic and anxiety “out of the blue” and I 100% know that it’s just withdrawals from being on the medicine for 18 months.
In fact, with the help of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book Switch On Your Brain and her 21-day brain detox plan I have retrained my brain to acknowledge these uncomfortable moments as my body’s way of thanking me for removing (slowly) these chemicals. For example: I literally will say, “You’re welcome” when I have a “brain zap” or any yucky feeling associated with anxiety. I have been through 3 rounds (so far) of her 21-day detox program and I believe that is what has helped me the most.
How incredibly powerful and intricate is the bond between the mind and the body!
This intentional response to my anxiety does not come natural. I have explained to my husband that when I am in the middle of a difficult moment it reminds me very much of being in the middle of contraction during labor. When a contraction hits you, your brain goes into survival mode. You think thoughts like, “It’s too much…This cannot continue… I have to escape this or I will NOT be ok.” The reality of an episode of panic (and a contraction for that matter) is that the feeling will eventually subside. But in the moment you would do anything to make it stop.
For me, labor was one of the most transformative mental exercises I have ever experienced. I have 3 totally different birth stories that I won’t go into here, but by the time I had my third I was so overly prepared it was ridiculous. I meditated, visualized a joyful experience, spoke over my body to do what it was made to do without any medication or trauma- all during my pregnancy and before birth. And guess what happened? Everything I that I told my brain would happen. Amera’s birth was peaceful, joyful & quick- truly a gift that I remind myself of in moments of self-doubt.
I know it has only been two weeks but (like in preparation for birth), I have been mentally preparing myself to come off the medication for many months. I decreased my dose s-l-o-w-l-y and under a doctor’s care. I vowed to renew my mind daily in scripture. I made exercise and diet (even more of) a priority. I embraced self-care: meditation, yoga, mindfulness, compassion towards myself. I looked for natural supplements to help stabilize my mood and combat withdrawals such as 5-HTP, B vitamins and CBD oil. And I’ve sought out natural endorphins: smiling, reading, writing, hugging & kissing- just a few of my favorite things.
I am replacing toxic thinking with a healthy diet of good
thoughts, choices and behaviors.
Since I’ve been off the meds I am feeling ALL the feelings. I am certainly more emotional. (I actually forgot that I’m a crier!) I am happier about things that make me happy. I am more sad about things that make me sad. I am more passionate about things that fire me up! And I am more angry at things that should upset me. My husband remarked that I seem “brighter”. I like that description.
I feel bright, and exposed and like this version of me- the real me.
So I am fighting for this me to stay.
For the record, I do not regret getting starting the medication. The alternative was hell and I needed help. I do wish, however, that more doctors would be honest (like mine) about the realities (weight gain, low libido, difficulty coming off related to dosage and time on the medicine) I am also thankful for the honesty and wisdom of “Neurotheologist” Dr. Jerome Lubbe– especially his Hopeful/Grateful learning technique.
Also, here is a truth you may have never heard: Alcohol does not mix with anxiety and depression. I know right? Shocker! My life-coach (who is also friend) literally cussed me out when I told her that drinking made me feel worse. “You’re detoxing your brain and drinking? Bleepity- bleep Bonnie!” she
told yelled at me, “Don’t dim your light!” I love her. Let’s be real.
Do all the things to get well mentally, emotionally, spiritually & physically!
Make a better choice.
And the world will be brighter because you are.