Today is my ONE YEAR anniversary of being completely off anxiety medication!
I am celebrating, because my EXPERIENCE with anxiety (not MY anxiety) has been a pivotal part of my story.
For two seasons of my life, I have suffered with debilitating panic. The first time over a decade ago I was also struggling with depression, infertility, loss of identity and alcohol abuse. (My poor newly married young husband!) I didn’t want to live this way. I barely wanted to live at all. But with the recommendation of a trusted therapist I chose medication. And I believe it saved my life.
BUT I also WORKED ON ME. I went THROUGH the brokenness of losing my singing voice to steroids. I went through the brokenness of not knowing if I would ever be a mother. I put down the most destructive drug on the planet- alcohol. I got my life back. I made the CHOICE to come off medication, because I didn’t want to be on it forever, AND I told myself that I would never experience panic and anxiety as long as I was SOBER. Oh the power of the mind! I believed that SO deeply that it became my reality- or so I thought. I see now that I still experienced anxiety, but I had conditioned my mind to reconceptualize it as something else. I thought I was in control.
But it came back. When I was minding my own damn business. When I was doing what I needed to do. Being a good wife. Homeschooling my three young kids. I was freakin’ SOBER for God sake!!!
It blind-sided me.
It engulfed me. I couldn’t leave my house. I would wakeup and immediately every cell in my body began to vibrate. I’d lie on the couch praying to escape my body. The walls of sobriety that were supposed to keep me safe came crashing down and then disappeared. I realized they were never really there to begin with. I was exposed to the threat of myself and my genetic predisposition to mental chaos.
I was angry. Why did I have to go through this shit again?I had three kids depending on me and I couldn’t get my head above water. I wasted NO time calling my doctor. Once again, I got on medication and it helped. I don’t regret it. (But the weight gain sucks.)
By divine intervention I came across Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book Switch on Your Brain and my jaw dropped when I read the back cover: “You are not a victim of your biology!” This is the opposite of what I heard from doctors.
Once again, I GOT TO WORK on me. My life coach says that there are only a few lessons in life, but we learn them over and over, deeper and deeper. This time, I did not fight, I surrendered and I accepted the gift of anxiety. I detoxed my brain from the negative patterns that had resurfaced. It was a process, but I took back my thought life. And healing came. After intentional brain self-therapy with the wisdom of Dr. Leaf and the guidance of the Holy Spirit I started my taper off the medicine. I took natural supplements, took care of my body and I did it S-L-O-W-L-Y under the supervision of my doctor.
It hasn’t been easy. And I tried to sabotage myself by adding alcohol BACK into my life, but that was another lesson I had to learn yet again…
Today I am one-year medication free and full of hope for the future. I got my life back. I’m telling the story I want to tell. I am embracing the lessons I needed to learn AGAIN and I am grateful for the journey.