I owe you an apology.
For months I’ve attempted to do so, but have failed. Every. Single. Time.
Instead I’ve stared at a blank screen struggling to put into words the reason for my absence from blogging. Sure, I’ve managed to churn out a few event roundups and recycle an old column or two; however, writing from the heart has been a real struggle these days.
By writing this… by being brutally honest with you, I’m hoping to cure this nasty case of ‘bloggers’ block.’ And for those of you I have hurt or mislead, I’d really like to make things right.
If you have been following VM over the past couple of years, you’re probably well versed in the fact that I have been on quite the roller coaster ride with my anxiety issues.
If you’re new, here’s a recap: I decided to seek medical help when chronic exhaustion and apathy invaded my body and soul, making it impossible to be the mother I wanted to be.
Meeting a friend for coffee seemed like way too much work.
Answering emails seemed like way too much work.
Cleaning my house or car seemed like way too much work.
Reading a book at bedtime to my babies was way too much work.
Having a shower or putting on makeup seemed impossible.
Even talking to my doctor took a lot of energy. I felt completely depleted and demoralized as I slumped into his chair, too tired to nag Zoe to stop climbing on the furniture.
“Wow, you are quite high-functioning,” he said as he went over the three-page checklist of symptoms I had marked with an X.
I left with a prescription for an antidepressant called Cipralex for depression and anxiety with the warning that I’d feel awful the first week. He sure wasn’t kidding.
As promised, the pills stopped making me feel ill after around a week. A month later, I started to feel ‘normal.’
My energy levels went back up, I felt good enough to cork my nightly wine habit and I started working out. I was in the best shape of my life, felt like a ‘good’ mom again, and wasn’t plagued with incessant worries to rob me of my serenity.
And so, like millions of men and women who go on medication to manage their anxiety/depression, and who start to feel good, I decided on my own terms that I was cured.
And guess what? I felt amazing.
In fact, I felt so damn good that I decided to shout it off the rooftops…err, more like blog about it to all of you.
I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Spoiler alert: I crashed.
As the weeks went on and the meds left my body, the anxiety came back fast and furious, threatening to swallow me whole.
When a fellow mom asked how I was doing at school drop-off, I burst into tears.
I felt depressed, exhausted and totally, utterly embarrassed. My ego wasn’t just bruised– it was shattered.
Afterall, this mom had read my post about breaking up with my meds just weeks ago. And now I was a wreck. I felt like a total fraud.
With my head down, I headed for my car, vowing to never blog about anything ‘too personal’ again. I feared I had done an disservice to myself and anyone else out there struggling with mental illness reading my blog.
So, I’m back on my anxiety meds and have increased my dose from 10 to 20 mg. I still get waves of anxiety now and then, especially around ‘that time of the month’ or when I’ve carelessly consumed more than 4 cups of coffee.
BUT, I feel at peace again in my own skin. Medication alone isn’t a cure-all solution. I try to find time to meditate, hit the gym and let things go that I cannot control. The latter has always been my downfall, which is why I have to work on it, daily.
One day I’d love to be free of my anxiety meds, but this relationship looks like it’s going to be longterm.
If someone is diagnosed with a physical ailment or disease, no one would suggest that they should do without their medication and just hit the gym more or drink less coffee. So why is it seen as acceptable to say or imply such things to those of us who suffer with anxiety?
Let’s face it, ‘suffer’ is the right word – anxiety can be downright debilitating. Growing up, I watched helplessly as my dad suffered from manic depression.
He had his lows and he had his highs, but when he was feeling good, he deemed himself well enough to go off his meds, which never ended well. It was a vicious cycle that kept him living in hell for his adult life… it kept me from ever getting to know the real him. I don’t want that for my kids.
Over the years, ValleyMom has grown from being a hub to share community events and activities for families, to a platform for sharing the ‘real’ struggles, trials and triumphs of motherhood. I have been an open book about my struggles with dieting, sobriety, marriage and feeling socially awkward.
While I may not have a massive legion of fans like a lot of bloggers out there, I do recognize that it is a significant little soapbox that comes with great responsibility.
If my post about ‘breaking up with my anxiety meds’ made anyone feel bad or question their prescription, I am truly sorry.
Have you ever stopped taking meds for anxiety/depression and crashed? Join the conversation by sharing your story below or on our Facebook page.