So, it’s been a few weeks now and the anxiety meds are completely out of my system… and I can tell. It’s a rather bittersweet experience and makes it very clear how much I both gain and lose when medicated.
I don’t talk about my anxiety here very much, partially because it is relatively mild and partially because it is (was) controlled. Off the meds, I am seeing some old behaviors resurfacing, and I have very mixed feelings about it.
For example, little things bother me more. I am honestly sitting here at work thinking about how I will clean the bathroom mirror when I get home because it is driving me crazy. It’s hardly the end of the world, but I keep thinking how much I want to clean it just so it will stop bothering me. Generally, this urge expresses itself in spontaneous cleaning binges- I take care of one thing and next thing I know I’ve gotten half a dozen things done. It means that my home is cleaner and more organized, but it also means that I am worrying about little things that really don’t mean anything when I need to focus on other tasks. The medication helped keep my moods even, but it also sapped some of my focus and motivation.
All this irritability and anxiety sometimes spurts out for ridiculous reasons because it has been building up. I find that exercise is a great way to get my head out of a rut and release tension, so you can imagine what happened when I was stressing out last night and found out that my new treadmill is not working… I wanted to put a fist through the wall *before* that- after I’m amazed that I didn’t completely ballistic (*and* our Internet was down, which is why this is being posted today instead of yesterday). Little frustrations suddenly turn into life traumas. I hate the feeling of being reliant on medication, but random anger for no good reason is not fun, either. It’s hard to find the good side of mood swings, but while the medication kept my lows from being too low, it also mean my highs were regulated as well.
Another example is the air gauge on my tires. With the cold weather my low tire pressure sensor was triggered. I drove on low tires for much longer than I care to admit before I did something about it. The indicator bothered me, but not nearly as much as I was anxious about filling my tires myself (I had never done it before). Honestly, last winter it got so ridiculous I had it done at a service station- I was willing to pay someone money to do a simple task rather than face my anxiety about filling the tires myself. This year I was determined to beat my anxiety and do it myself and finally did yesterday, but I recognize that it was a huge production over a fairly minor thing. I always have a tough time doing something new for the first time- I definitely didn’t miss this process of agonizing over something until I worked myself up enough to just get it done. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to figure out a positive spin on this, yet.
And I guess that sums up why I don’t talk about my anxiety very much- it’s so hard to do. When I write it out it sounds so trivial, but when I have an anxiety attack or burst into tears over a flat tire because I just can’t handle one more thing… so, yeah. The medication I was taking was not meant to be a maintenance medication, but I am seriously considering starting again. I have an appointment coming up in two weeks when I’ll talk about this with my doctor- until then I’m going to keep working on my coping mechanisms, but I’m having to relearn how I handled this before the meds and it’s a bumpy ride.