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Anxiety: Part Four of a Zillion

If you missed the previous posts, click on my Anxiety Page for the links.

Once I had been on antidepressants for a while, I felt like I could really feel the energy of my truest self flowing through my actions without having to first pass through the sieve of anxiety. Having anxiety is like standing beside a cock-blocker at a bar; you want to go out and have some fun but a really mean ugly girl keeps clinging onto you, making the both of you completely unapproachable.

Oh, wow. I should be a doctor.

Anyway, the medication was golden. Bottom line. But… the side effects were a bit shady. Where it normally took me three and a half minutes to have an orgasm, it took me a week and a half to have one on medication. All of my senses were dulled and anyone out there on SSRIs know exactly what I’m talking about. I remember sitting in my doctor’s office and telling him that the whole world could be dying around me and I’d just be like, “Oh well!” And it’s not like I was taking too many milligrams, as it took me many months to find the right dose to give me relief. These were just the side effects. Side effects that were totally worth it, because the pros outweighed the cons, a zillion to one.

I also gained a bit of weight, but I have to say that I loved it. I loved my big boobies and my squishy belly. I felt like a woman! There was no greater joy than holding my two boys on my lap while I read them a book. I was soft for their little bodies. I was mommy, and my body was perfect.

We got pregnant again, and then lost that baby. Then pregnant again, and Katie was born in 2005. The boys started school, we moved out to Abbotsford, and in about 2008 Jason and I decided that we needed to see a counselor for our marriage.

Once we started counseling it became very apparent that I needed therapy for my own shit and so while I started digging deep and working on my life, my anxiety started to alleviate. Over the course of the next two years I went down on the Paxil and up on the cognitive behavioural therapy. By the year 2010, I was no longer taking medication all the while going through the toughest time of my life.

Support from my counselor, family and friends, long-distance running, and also the new skills I had acquired in coping with irrational thought patterns got me through that phase of my life and made my once fragile mind much stronger.

Feel free to keep telling me your stories either in comments or in emails or in your own blog posts!

Has anyone tried cognitive behavioural therapy?

Were you or any of your close friends a cock-blocker at the bar?

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Susie @ SuzLyfe September 29, 2015, 4:24 am

    I am not a cockblock by any means. I am great wingwoman and I also flirt shamelessly with assholes and then turn my ring around and crush their dreams.
    Re orgasms: yup.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 8:20 am

      HA HA HA! I love your writing, you saucy minx.

  • Heather@hungryforbalance September 29, 2015, 5:30 am

    I’ve never tried cognitive behavioral therapy. Is that where they teach you to approach a problem differently instead of medicating you? I should look into that or something or anything because I’m tired of feeling batshit crazy.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 8:20 am

      Well, it’s not *instead* of medication. It should be used in combination with meds, exercise, etc. I’ll write more about it soon.

  • Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine September 29, 2015, 5:49 am

    I am a big advocate for CBT and I am so glad its helped you so much! There’s a lot of research supporting it, but its always good to hear that it works for real people. I use those skills all the time when I start to feel the anxiety creeping in.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 8:19 am

      I was skeptical at first because I thought all this mental crap was so airy fairy but once I started learning about it, and applying it to my life and seeing how well it works I was sold! I use it on my kids, too.

  • Megan @ Meg Go Run September 29, 2015, 5:50 am

    What kinds of stuff did you do for cognitive behavioral therapy? I would like to know a little more about that if you are willing to share. 🙂

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 8:18 am

      Yes! I’ll write about it for sure.

  • Maddie @ Dixie Runs September 29, 2015, 7:29 am

    I had the exact same side effects and thought I was losing my mind until I googled it and then stopped taking my SSRIs immediately. I forget what I was taking, but it didn’t last long. I finally found something that works for me be it took about a year and a half of trial and error and 4 different medications to figure it out. I think dealing with anxiety all together is a bunch of trial and error. Everyone I know who deals with anxiety issues copes with it differently, and maybe that’s why it’s so hard to diagnose/treat in the first place!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 8:18 am

      They’ve come out with some newer SSRIs that have next to nothing for side effects, thank goodness. Cipralex is a good one for minimal side effects.

  • Jamie September 29, 2015, 7:33 am

    I have been on and off medication for anxiety for the past 8 years. I find that I can balance out emotions with running and receiving help from friends and family, but there also comes a point where I can no longer unload my worries on my loved ones as I know it starts to have a negative effect on them. I just started taking medication again about 5 weeks ago, and I feel so much better. Although I get pangs of anxiety and stress, they are dulled and much more manageable. Although I don’t have negative sexual effects, I get pretty sleepy at the end of the day and will sometimes get headaches. But in the end, it’s totally worth it to not feel like the world is falling down on me 🙂

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 8:17 am

      YES! And it’s such a good feeling knowing that if we really need it, there’s relief right there available to us. And yes, friends and family tend to know when we need it more than we do. Their perspective is a little less convoluted.

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes September 29, 2015, 9:20 am

    Part of the reason my former gyno put me on anti-depressants for my PMDD (I only took them when I’d get my period) was to dull my senses so I wouldn’t get severe cramps. It worked for a few months but then the cramps came back, and I had gotten better at managing my emotions, so I stopped taking the Sarafem.
    Also, I’m so sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage so many years ago. I’m terrified of miscarriage, which for me is likely since my body doesn’t have enough progesterone to support a pregnancy when I’m off the pill. It breaks my heart whenever I hear that someone I know experienced that.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 9:36 am

      Miscarriages are way more common than you think. Not that it makes it any better–I’m not saying that at all. It doesn’t make it better, but it makes the idea of pregnancy less intimidating, I suppose. Because if it ends in pregnancy, you know that many women before you survived it, and healed from it. And honestly, miscarriage is just the beginning of a lifelong string of heartbreak. Not that children are heartbreaking, because the joys and the gifts they bring us outweigh the heartbreak a thousand to one but heartbreak is inevitable whether it be physical or terminal or emotional or whatever. The thing we need to hold onto is love. Connection. That we can all get through anything as long as we have each other.

  • heather September 29, 2015, 11:10 am

    Wow girl you are like my twin. I am on Paxil and a couple other things for sleep. My story is a lot like yours. Being a police officer and seeing all the things I saw really messed me up. I have not tried cognitive behavior maybe I will because I just feel blah most of the time. Thanks for sharing. My boobs are super huge, I hate them.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 11:55 am

      I’m actually writing up a post about my boobs and body image. Stay tuned, sisterfriend! xo

  • Allison September 29, 2015, 11:14 am

    I never tried any cognitive behavioral therapy. I don’t suffer from anxiety but I do have times in my life where I’ve struggled with a bit of depression. The running does help, to some extent!

    Hmmmm, cock blocking friends…in college, I had plenty!! I met my husband when I was pretty young so he was the cock blocking friend.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 12:05 pm

      Running totally helps to alleviate the physiological effects of built-up stress and anxiety. That’s why I do it!

  • Steve September 29, 2015, 2:16 pm

    Answers to your questions: I CBT my own ass all of the time…but never under professional guidance. Who needs a cockblocker? I found that having my own foot in my mouth a good portion of the time did that job admirably.

  • Lauren @ ihadabiglunch September 29, 2015, 4:54 pm

    You have no idea how much these posts mean to me 🙂

    I’m not depressed but definitely struggle with anxiety and I’m doing everything I can to avoid medication, as I’ve said before. The side effects scare me! I guess I’m lucky enough to have the luxury that I even have the option of seeing what else is out there besides medication…because for some people it’s SO BAD and they’ll do whatever it takes.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com September 29, 2015, 6:37 pm

      I’m really glad these posts help you! I love how the more we talk about our struggles the more we realize we aren’t alone.

      The side effects aren’t really bad at all, but it was worth mentioning.

  • Ange @ Cowgirl Runs October 2, 2015, 9:36 am

    CBT has been so helpful to me, but I learned the hard way this winter (generic meds, new meds, half dose meds) that no meds is not an option for me. I’m on the lowest dose possible (Cipralex) and it just makest the world of difference in being able to function and approach life.
    Thank you for talking about this!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com October 2, 2015, 9:53 am

      I love Cipralex! Barely any side effects, and works like a charm for me. Everyone is different and each med will affect each of us differently but I’m really glad you found one that your body meshes with. It can take a long bloody time to find the right one and it’s hard enough for a healthy person to be patient with stuff let alone an anxiety-ridden person that can’t frigging eat or sleep!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com October 2, 2015, 9:54 am

      Well, CBT isn’t the be-all end-all and ideally it’s supposed to partner up with medication, exercise, support from family and friends, family doctor, Hugh Jackman, etc etc. 😉

  • Nikki @ will run for pizza October 2, 2015, 10:35 am

    Oh I WISH I could get my Hus to go to therapy! He will only go to his shrink and use meds, but ever since he got sober (a little over 4 years), he hasn’t found the right “cocktail” of meds…he keeps changing them constantly!! It drives me nuts! He has complained about the same thing you were – just slowing down too much, and then he hates the feeling and goes off the med. Or changing the dosage on his own…I feel like he is relying on meds to make him 100% better and that just isn’t gonna happen. I try to tell him that he is still gonna have off days, but it’s like he has this feeling in his head, where he was super happy, and he is looking for the right meds to give him that feeling 100% of the time. It just really hurts watching him struggle with it all…I wish I could deal with his bipolar myself so that he didn’t have to…

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com October 2, 2015, 3:11 pm

      I know the feeling of wanting to chase that high and then panicking when we have bad days. I remember when I had started my medication and I had an almost sleepless night. I phoned my friend crying and she asked me Suzy? Do you want to be a robot or do you want to be normal? Because all healthy people have sleepless nights once in a while. And that bit of advice helped me immensely.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets October 5, 2015, 3:39 am

    I think cognitive behavioral therapy combined with the right medication is the way to combat anxiety. I find so many people either do one or the other, and I really believe the combination of the two is a real game changer. Although digging deep into our own shit is not always the best of times. It sure helps us understand ourselves and actions a whole lot better though. At least it did me.

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