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I owe you an apology

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.

anxiety medication

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.

Read: I Didn’t Know I Was Suffering From Anxiety and Depression

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.

Read: Why I’m Breaking Up With My Anxiety Meds

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.

Read: It was liberating to blame mental illness on his odd behaviour.

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.

anxiety medication

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.

One of Vancouver’s top Mom Bloggers, Kristyl Clark is a work-at-home mom of two little Valley girls proving there is nothing bland about the burbs. Her adventurous family seems to always be out on some sort of crazy quest, from helicopter rides and wild river rafting, to top-secret paranormal investigations and living the high-life sampling the fine wines and foods of the Fraser Valley region. The ValleyMom.ca blog inspires her loyal fanbase through the trials and tribulations of suburban family living, guiding readers to local hotspots and hidden gems in her Canadian backyard

10 Comments

  • Maryanne Lechleiter

    July 20, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Kristyl, your story is almost identical to mine…and did this 3 times before I (and my doctor) decided that I may be a lifer on a low dose of meds. I’ve come to terms with that. I’m OK with that…in fact, I’m more than OK.

    It allows me to live my best life most of the time. I’m not numb or immune to feelings. They still come in waves and I have to remember to engage all the coping skills I’ve learned over the last 16 years, but I am ME on these meds. The me that is me when I’m not on them is no ME. Does that even make sense?

    Thank you for your courage to share and be vulnerable…and I’m always here if you want a lunch/brunch date 🙂

    Reply
    • Kristyl Clark

      July 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Yes, we are quite the pair, hey? And yes, that does make sense that you are YOU on the meds. Will take you up on that date!

      Reply
  • Stacy Veldhuisen

    July 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Kristyl, I get it, I get it all. I lived most of my life happy go lucky until three and a half years ago When I got sick with a chronic invisible illness and all that goes with that.

    Anxiety and depression hit me hard, this was new to me and something I hid from the world. I would be trying to hold it together in the kitchen making dinner for my children while they hung out in the living room daily. Wondering if this was my life forever.

    It took some huge support from close friends that encouraged me to speak to my doctor about medication. This was not something I wanted to do but thankful I did.
    The dose was not strong enough and I ended up doubling it, since I have been able to decrease it to the original dose.

    I have often thought that maybe I can come right off but I am nervous. I may try but when I’m ready and that’s my choice. I am A ok if I have to start again because that one small med allows me to smile and live my best life.

    Living one day at a time and sometimes one hour at a time. Going through these tough times in my life allows me to appreciate the good however big and small those good things may be. Keep blogging don’t be sorry, you tell your truth in that moment and we all learn together. ❤️❤️ You Kristyl thank you for being you.

    Reply
    • Kristyl Clark

      July 22, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Really appreciate you sharing a bit of your story with us here Stacy. I so agree, living one day at a time is huge!!!! Thank you for being you xo

      Reply
  • Nicole

    July 20, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Kristyl – thank you for sharing your story. There is great beauty and strength in your words. I have also tried (and failed) to take myself off of my anxiety and depression medication, which resulted in taking two extended medical leaves from work a few years ago. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t control my eating disorder. I couldn’t stop crying I despair for no apparent reason. So I went back on my meds, and I got better. Like Maryanne, my meds do not take away all the waves of emotion, but they allow me to function and carve out the best life I can for myself.

    I’d love to catch up with you over coffee or lunch!

    Reply

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