Unwrapping my Anxiety

Blogging has its ups and downs.  Sometimes, it feels like a great way to encourage others.  And it’s a great platform for introducing my feminism in a meaningful way.  (If you have ever gotten the feeling that maybe I’m slipping in some of the political and theoretical sides of myself, then you’re absolutely right).  Other times, however, I feel a little silly—there is nothing worse than the self-important blogger who finds it necessary to post the most trivial details of her life (“today, I wore this blue dress to dinner ya’ll…”).  I don’t want to be one of them!  But the worst part about blogging is the realization that the only things worth blogging about are the really personal aspects of my life.  No one benefits from knowing what kind of gum I chew (see above comment on self-important trivial bloggers…), but I’d like to think that by sharing some of the more personal parts of my journey, I am giving company to other women who may sometimes feel alone or ashamed of their experiences.

Speaking of trivial posts, this stevia-sweetened soda almost got its own blog post! It's Virgil's cream soda, and they also make cola and black cherry. Sugar free, calorie free. Awesome!

So again, I am faced with the decision: to share, or not to share?  But as always, I am reminded that the parts I am tempted to censor are probably the most important parts to share.  After all, if I feel the need to hide something, then certainly there is a reader who could use my company. So in my journey to find a healthier existence, and in my discussion of health, I have to address the issue of antidepressants/anti-anxiety medications.  And the fact that until recently, I have been taking one.

As I have mentioned before, this entire journey was born from an attempt to eliminate the anxieties that were plaguing not only me but my entire household.  What I realized was that my anxiety was just a manifestation of a system designed to make us anxious.   Americans are in such a hurry.  Almost all food advertisements are addressed to busy people who don’t have time to cook.  Nearly every packaged food product is designed to save time in some way.  We are busy people.  And when we get too tired to be busy, we have coffee and energy drinks to facilitate our hurried lives.  Busybusbusy, rushrushrushrush, caffeine, repeat.  And I wondered why I felt like there was never enough time in one day to do all of the things required of me!

 

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone who knows my perfectionistic, over-achieving tendencies that I ended up on anti-anxiety medication.  In fact, they were recommended by a doctor who is typically reluctant to consider medication an option.  I figured that if she thought I needed them, I must be really bad off.  So for nearly a year, I have been on the minimum dose of Prozac.  And let me tell you, it seems to do its job.  But in the back of my mind I have been left to wonder if any of my attempts to slow my life down and rid myself of anxiety could have been effective without the medication.

 

I looked up one day and realized: oh shit, I’m a suburban Prozac mom!!!

I tried, unsuccessfully, to stop taking it.  I loathed the idea that I couldn’t do it by myself.  I hated the idea that I was being altered in some way by medication.  And I hated wondering if I truly needed it.  But within three days of my last dose, I would feel so bad that I took it again just to avoid the catastrophe.  I felt like I could never be rid of it.   I bake my own bread and make my own pasta, for crying out loud!  I don’t eat packaged foods!  I have eliminated toxic meat from my diet!  And yet I subject my body to a toxic drug!?  I felt like such a hypocrite.

 

Add to my frustration the fact that I am now suffering from what appears to be hypothyroidism.  I am waiting on results of a blood test to determine whether or not I have hashimoto’s thyroid disease (more on that in a later post).  The worst part is, I will never know if Prozac could have had something to do with the onset of the disease, whose cause is still unknown.

 

Recently, Mike and I sat down and really talked about it.  It’s time to get past the withdrawals and actually see it through.  It’s time to stop the medication once and for all.  So we made a plan and decided to work together to make it happen.  It’s been exactly a week, and still no anxiety.  Still no attacks of doubt, or worry, or even negativity.  For the first time, I have approached this with a supportive partner, and it seems to be going well.  I have made it beyond my previous points of failure, and I am feeling pretty good about it.  Having a partner through it has been important—we are both mindful of the fact that a major change has occurred, and we are both on the lookout for any sign of negativity so that we can nip it in the bud.  And it’s going well.

I will write more about this in future posts.  Who knows where this one will lead?  I’ll be honest about it, whether it continues to go well or if it totally fails.  But what I think is important to point out is that I don’t mean to suggest that medications are totally bad and unnecessary.  They do what they are supposed to do, and some people may really need them.  Who knows, I may be one of those people.  But I feel strongly that there has to be a better way for me.  I also need to point out that I have my doctor’s support—she feels that the changes I have made to my lifestyle and environment should facilitate this decision.  Please don’t make any changes without considering all of the pieces and talking to your doctor about it first!

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Today’s recipe of the day is for oatmeal pancakes.  If you are looking for a quick, easy, and tasty way to get your eggs and oatmeal down in the morning, look no further!  These pancakes can also be made into muffins, and topped with any sort of fruit you have lying around the house.  I like to use berries, apples, or bananas.

 Basic pancake recipe for a single serving:

                                          ½ cup whole oats (NOT INSTANT!!!) 
                                          2 eggs, whole

                                          optional ingredients:
                                          cinnamon
                                          sweetener
                                          chopped nuts
                                          raisins
                                          shredded coconut

 Mix ingredients together in bowl, cook in frying pan over medium-high heat, about two minutes on each side.

                                          Fruit Topping: 

                                         One serving of fruit 
                                         1 tbsp honey
                                         ¼ cup water 

 Bring water and honey to a boil; add fruit and cook over medium heat until fruit becomes soft and mushy (about ten minutes).

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