If you’ve been around for a while, and I mean like at least a year because 2016 has the year that I don’t blog really, you know that I have struggled with anxiety for quite some time now. I got back to school this year and I couldn’t sleep through the night. I didn’t have too much going on yet, but I would still wake up in a panic thinking I had slept through my alarm or forgot to do an assignment but really I had handed in the assignment the day before and it was 3 am so I obviously hadn’t slept through my alarm.
It was interrupting my life in a way that it had never done so before. My school (and I believe most schools do) offers a free counseling center for students. Since I am a senior graduating in May, I figured this was the time to start going while I still had the opportunity to go for free. I got in nearly right away and had an appointment with a woman who is now my therapist. On the first day, since I had gone so longer trying to regulate it myself through giving up caffeine, breathing techniques and a variety of other solutions I had found on the internet that did not work, she said I should consider talking to the psychiatrist.
For the longest time this is something that I heavily opposed. I did not want to be medicated, I didn’t want a medicine to regulate my mood, but I wasn’t sleeping and that was effecting me as a person and I couldn’t do it that way anymore. So alas, I decided to pay him a visit. At our first session he said that I was a good candidate for medication and to be quite honest, I was really just tired of fighting my anxiety on a daily basis. The way he explained it to me is that my brain is like an accidental bicycle path. One person ran through the grass, so another person did, and then another, and eventually there was no more grass there and that’s what my anxiety did to my brain. The medication he said would be like the grass seed, helping the grass to grow, it would help my brain to return to its original form almost.
Going into the appointment I wasn’t really sure the route I was going to take. It was a lot to think about, but the exhaustion I felt from being anxious all the time was overwhelming. By the end of the appointment I decided to try medication to see if it would change anything in me.
The Battle in My Brain
I kept going to therapy, every week like clockwork. I would talk to her about my issues with newspaper, friends, and other concerns and fears that I face in life. It has been extremely beneficial to have a third-party listen and give input to what I have to say without bias other than to make me feel like I’m not crazy. However, there was still that little voice in the back of my head telling me everything I was doing wrong, making me feel like I couldn’t do a lot of things, and really just messing with me still. I have a very busy schedule right now and it has made it easier to push to the back of my mind, however, it was still there. The panic attacks lessened and I was less anxious, but any downtime that I had, I reverted back to my old ways of anxious feelings and emotions.
Back to the Psychiatrist
After a month on being on my medication, and not having the improvements that should have occurred while taking it, the psychiatrist suggested that I up my dosage. While I was hesitant at first, I am so glad that I decided to increase it. The past few days, I’ve barely felt anxious and I’ve been very happy. With the last dosage I was inexplicably happy when I would forget to take my medication which really made me want to go off of it. However, by increasing it, the past two days especially, I have been on cloud nine. I have felt extremely positive about my life. Of course it’s not perfect, I still get anxious and annoyed when I’m in a situation that I’m uncomfortable in, but it is light years away from where I used to be even just a few weeks ago.
The Take Away.
Please talk to someone if you are suffering with mental illness. My own anxiety kept me from going for so long. I was afraid of what they would say, but at the end of the day they aren’t there to judge you, they’re there to help you. If you are in college, chances are it’s probably free and it will be extremely beneficial to your mental health. Don’t wait until you are at your breaking point to go. If you in any way, shape, or form feel like your mental health is suffering– talk to someone! Chances are you will feel so much better.
I’ve decided to share this because I can only hope it will encourage someone else to do something about their mental health situation. At the end of the day, I don’t want this to be a secret, everyone close to me knows, I put it in the newspaper, because it is an amazing resource that we have readily available as college students. Medication is up to the individual, I hope that this is not a lifetime thing I need to do, however, if it will keep me from being anxious, at this point I don’t care. I want to feel better, and I want everyone suffering from mental illness to feel better.
At the end of the day you need to surround yourself with positive people who care and love you. A strong support system will really help you get through anything, even if that’s a little encouragement to talk to someone. So to my personal support system– online and off, thank you.
Take care of yourself.