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Avatar universal

Anxiety is taking over my life....

I have suffered off and on for years with anxiety, mostly health anxiety.  I do so well for a while then I will have a bad period.  I have always chosen to not do medications because I'm petrified of the side effects.  I also struggle accepting that I have anxiety and that its not something medical wrong with me that has been misdiagnosed or put off as anxiety.  I recently started 0.25mg of Xanax for when the anxiety get too bad, which I barely take and if I take its usually half of a pill.  I've also started therapy.  I just hate that almost daily I'm afraid!  If I have a weird feeling I automatically think something is horribly wrong with me.  Anyone have any advice that I may try to help me get a better handle on this.  I've started missing work, will stay home and just try to sleep. I've started to not really get out and go places because I'm afraid I will start freaking out.  Thanks for listening!
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Avatar universal
The therapy is what's left to you if you don't want meds.  It will take time.  And make sure your therapist specializes in anxiety treatment.  The best is supposed to be CBT.  Talk therapy can take years to work, CBT is quicker assuming it takes with you.  There's also the natural medicine approach, which would combine therapy, natural remedies treating different areas of your body involved in anxiety, dietary and lifestyle changes.  Also takes time.  If you get to a point where you can't live life anymore, medication does work more quickly, and antidepressants work all the time.  So if it gets beyond you, sometimes you have to bite the bullet to get some distance from the crisis.  But if you work hard on the therapy and the therapist actually knows techniques to help, and it works, you're better whereas with meds you're just controlling symptoms.  Hope you find what works for you.
2 Comments
Thank you for your response!   My doctor has mentioned Prozac but I’m just so afraid to take it, I’m afraid of the possible side effects.   I don’t want to just per se put a band on it.  I want to fix it.   If that makes sense.  
If you do decide to take medication, I'd recommend seeing a psychiatrist for it, not a regular doc.  Some regular docs are really good and some psychiatrists are really bad, but this is all psychiatrists do and they do extra study of it, while regular docs do a little bit of everything and don't do extra study.  Because these medications are genuinely difficult to take, it's just better odds to see a specialist.  If you see a good psychologist for your anxiety treatment therapy, if they believe you're not functioning well or getting better they will probably recommend you consider medication and will probably refer you to a psychiatrist they have some experience working with and trust.  I will tell you, while the side effects of antidepressants can be devastating, usually they are tolerable for most people.  Not much solace if you're one of the ones they're bad for, but if they are bad, you stop taking the medication.  When one doesn't sit well with you, there are others to try.  But some side effects aren't mentioned often to patients, and those are the worst ones, which are that if you take these meds for long periods of time it's very hard for your brain to work without them if you want to stop using them.  Again, this only happens to a certain number of people, but also again, no solace if you're one of them.  So stopping them is the really hard part, not the side effects of taking them.  Prozac is one of the easiest to stop taking but not necessarily the most effective for anxiety, but a good one to start with to see if it works.  But if you have the discipline and are willing to work hard and since you are still functioning okay in life, I'd give therapy a good hard try or two first.  If, however, your life starts spinning out of control and life isn't working, don't let your fear of meds prevent you from having a life.  Peace.
Avatar universal
I really feel for you.  I know exactly what you are going through.  I feel like my life is 24/7 fear and anxiety and it is horrible to live like this.  I finally went on Prozac.  First month was hell with side effects but things settled in and it started to work.  It was worth the wait thru side effects.  I am on a low dose (10 mg) and have my doctor's permission to go to 20 if needed. I had been on Lexapro before but I gained a lot of weight and felt like a zombie.  I do not have those effects with Prozac....I actually have more energy and a lower appetite.  I also tried to stay away from Prozac and did try therapy but should have asked for a different therapist.  For now, the Prozac helps.  I wish you much luck...living in fear and anxiety is exhausting.
3 Comments
She gave me 10mg for a week then said to go to 20mg.  I’m trying to work up the courage to at least give it a chance but so far no luck.   I know I need to see my therapist regularly for it to work.   I have a lot of physical and mental work to do on myself an hope that one day I won’t live in so much fear! It is very exhausting! May I ask did the side effect cause you to not be able to work or go out? I just can’t afford to lose my job!
None of the side effects kept me "at home" or unable to function.  I am retired but started taking it right at rhe holidays...when I had company staying with me and a lot to do, but the side effects, as rough as they were, were not anything I could not talk myself through, knowing that the Prozac would kick in at some point...and it did.  Knowing the side effects would go away really helped to get through them.  
Thanks for letting me know!  I’m just always afraid I’ll have the worst side effects possible lol
973741 tn?1342342773
I hate anxiety too.  I have more cyclic anxiety that is hormonally related. And when it spirals, ugh.  I do not like things like Xanax that numb me.  I'm not a drinker either.  And all of that kind of goes into the same category for me.  I do know that Xanax has it's place though.  I also think everyone needs to keep in mind that nothing will ever fully alleviate all anxiety.  Having stress and periods of anxiety is normal. I've accepted that.  And even on medication, you are still going to have 'more' anxious times.  But it is when it is stopping our life or feels so bad we can't stand it!  Then doing something about it is important.  I like what Monica is saying about her medication. That is a good choice for her and for many.  Whether it is for you or not, I'm not sure. That is for you to decide.

I do manage without medication.  But again, my anxiety is not daily.  The things I do is journal and know triggers and prepare for it. I try to exercise and get enough sleep.  

I have a son with anxiety and he is currently working with a therapist.  Wish I knew what they talk about.  Ha.  but he's a teen and that is between him and his therapist.  but he is meditating and using an app called "head space". His psychologist is trying to help him not go to thinking of what could happen or obsessing over what did happen and to 'stay in the moment'.  And learning that THIS moment is okay without jumping to the next one that might not be. He's also learning to relax his body.  

Prozac has a pretty good reputation.  Well tolerated and works.  But, of course, every person is so different. This is a little trial and error and that can be a little scary.  But I'd rather take something like Prozac than Xanax.  Personally, that's how I feel.  
2 Comments
I’m really hoping this new therapist will help! I don’t like even taking the Xanax.   I barely take them it’s really only if I get so worked up I can’t calm myself down.   I really don’t want to be on medicine but know I may need something for a while to get through.   I just want to be normal again.  I know I need to do a lot of work on myself physically as well as mentally.   I just keep praying I will one day overcome this.  Thanks for responding.  
Taking Xanax just occasionally as needed won't give you the bad effects of taking benzos.  But if you take them regularly on a daily basis, Mom is right, rather be on antidepressants.  
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