Anxiety, depression and addiction are terrible condtions. They are very real and can be very debilitating. I would like to share my story of in hopes that it may inspire or offer hope to those who feel hopeless in their fight against mental illness or substance abuse. I hope it helps someone out there. Please respond with questions or comments. Feel free to PM as well if you are more comfortable with that. Thanks.
I have struggled on and off with anxiety and depression for most of my life. Up until I was about 19 I was able to hide my anxiety and at that point my depression was not too bad. During my sophmore year of college the anxiety developed into panic attacks. My first panic attack landed me in the ER...I thought I was having a heart attack or stroke. (I know many have been there...and even though the Dr. says you are physically healthy...being left with the knowledge that your mind can make you panic so severly only compounds things...at least it did for me.) I consider myself lucky to have happened upon an ER doctor with a very kind heart who went above and beyond. I didn't say it, but he could tell there was an anxiety problem present and directed me to visit my college's mental health center. He also prescribed me Ativan, my first medication for anxiety. At the time it was a Godsend.
Begining with my school's mental health doctors I began trying various anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. I spent about 3 years jumping from medication to medication with very little help. During this time I tried 3 different doctors for second opinions. The following is a list of the medications I tried and my personal reactions:
[NOTE - Everyone reacts differently to medications. I know many of these work wonders for a lot people. I am in no way against the use of these medications. They save lives. Unfortunately, I don't react to well to them]
Ativan - Worked well, but could not tolerate memory issues with school and work.
Lexapro - Disorientation, out of body zombie-like feeling, sexual side effects
Buspar - Increased anxiety, tremors, extreme headache
Paxil - Increased anxiety, aggression, sexual side effects
Celexa - Disorientation, zombie-like feeling, sexual side effects
Prozac - Severe panic, shaking, disorientation
Zoloft - Severe aggression, tremors, increased anxiety
Wellbutrin - Severe disorientation, increased depression and suicidal thoughts (completely out of character for me)
Xanax - Worked well for anxiety, but caused clumsiness and memory issues in school.
Depakote ER - Slight help with anxiety, but needed a very high dose of brand name Depakote ER...even with insurance the cost was not worth the minimal benifit.
Seroquel - (misdiagnosed as Bipolar by an Internist) Felt uncomfortably sedated, confused, disoriented, scary for me.
Lamictal - (from same Internist for Bipolar) Headache and nausea, dizziness
Zyprexa - (from same Internist for Bipolar, no clue why he gave me this) Only taken once, incredibly frightening experience, disorientation, blurred vision, hallucinations, loss of motor functions
Adderall XR - Eliminated anxiety by helping me focus, however anxiety increased as medication wore off which I could not tolerate. Also horrible insomnia and complete loss of appetite. (Disappointing because the help with school and work it provided was very benificial)
Strettera - Increased anxiety, aggression, aggitation, suicidal thoughts
Clonazepam - Effective for anxiety, but also caused memory problems...too much of a hinderance on work and school for consistent use.