July 17, 2012
I am reinstating TMI Tuesdays to answer any questions people might have for me. It is helpful for me as well, because I can get a better understanding of what people would like to read about. To ask something, just go to my Ask Me a Question page and type in whatever you want to ask. If you check off Hide Your Name your question will be completely anonymous.
Hi, I have just now found this blog. Thanks for writing it. I suffer from SA and struggling just now so reading your blog helps. I would like to learn more about the progress you have made. Cheers.
First of all, thank you for reading. I am still in disbelief people actually find my blog helpful in any capacity. So that means a lot. Secondly, I have made a lot of progress in some ways, but still find myself struggling overall. The biggest improvement I have made is definitely just the realization, that my automatic or negative thoughts about myself, or the way I feel others perceive me, is not necessarily accurate or the reality. Although, it still a constant battle to not believe the negative thoughts, I can now at least label it as being a negative thought, and can talk myself out it. Whereas, before I would have just accepted the negative thought as the truth. I hope that made sense.
This may seem like a silly question, but have you experienced serious avoidance behavior?
This is not a silly question at all. I have definitely experienced serious avoidance behavior. It is still occurring. However, I'm working on not avoiding the events or social activities, I know I would be thankful I attended afterwards. For example, this past week, I wasn't feeling up to going to my Uncle's birthday party, but I went because I knew it would be a nice gesture. Afterwards, although I was tired, I was content and proud of myself for going and putting that effort forth.
Are you a virgin?
No, I am not. However, my experience is still quite limited. I have talked about this in great detail before on my blog, but I have since taken down all those posts, as well as many others. But I will address it again in the future, as sex and social anxiety is always an interesting topic and dynamic. I just had this instinct to want to start this blog entirely over again.
How much money do you make from this website?
I do not really directly make money from this website. I used to make a couple dollars a day, when I was using Google Adsense, but they since disabled my account with no real explanation. I assume it is because of some of the dark subject matter. Right now, the only potential of monetizing I have on here, is a website called Chitika, but only make cents from them per day. I'm not really looking or expecting to make a profit from this, but my other blog, Young and Pennywise, is more focused around that goal.
Do you smoke cigarettes?
I do not smoke cigarettes and I never will.
Would you say that your immediate family are understanding and sympathetic about your SA?
They are as understanding and sympathetic as they could possibly be. However, it takes having a social anxiety disorder or clinical depression, to truly understand what is feels like. So rarely do I feel understood. Although, we might have different ideas about what I should or shouldn't be doing, I know they only have the best intentions.
July 10, 2012
Before I divulge into my story, I want to be clear this post is in no way, shape or form, meant to be taken as medical advice. I am not a medical professional. I am just a person who struggles with mental heath. The goal of this post is not to influence anyone's opinions on anxiety medications. Recovering from any mental health illness is a unique and individualistic process, suited to each person, there is no one-cure fits all. I simply just want to share my experience.
I have made the decision to no longer pursue depression or anxiety medications. I have been quite nervous, consequently, to speak to my psychologist at the hospital. I do not want the professionals helping me, to feel as though I do not value or respect their opinions or the treatment plan they have come up with. However, I no longer have the same desire to attempt this path of treatment. Therefore, I did something, most professionals would advise patients against doing, and I stopped taking the recommended dose of my medication.
To backtrack a little, I have tried five different anti-anxiety and depression medications to date. In order, I have taken, Cipralex, Pristiq, Wellbutrin XL, Celexa and Cymbalta. Furthermore, after trying these medications for over a year and a half, I have not noticed a substantial enough difference, in my general mood and anxiety-level, to justify taking these types of drugs anymore. In other words, I do not feel all that different, from how I initially felt before I started this whole process. That being said, when I was at my lowest moment, I was in a suicidal place and I am no longer in that dark of a place or in the same general vicinity. However, I do not believe the medications, truthfully, were much of an aid in the process. I believe all my progress is a direct result of cognitive behavioral therapy. As a result, these medications, just feel like an external force messing with my body.
Although, my feelings towards these medications are valid, the one improvement I could have made, was consulting with my doctors first. For that reason, I went into my appointment, fully expecting a lecture on this very issue. However, I was more than relieved, when he was completely supportive of my decision to stop with the medication and encouraged me to keep the lines of communication open, whenever I may need it.
It is important to note, I did not abruptly stop taking my medication or start reducing it blindly. I did a lot of research, before I came up with a plan to stagger myself off of the medication. It is crucial to gather all the information possible, before making a decision to come off or reduce anxiety medication for two major reasons. First of all, it is common for people to stop taking medication and relapse, consequently, because the meds were more effective than they realize. Therefore, it is vital to recognize any signs of relapse and monitor your mood and any thoughts of hurting yourself. Secondly, you should know what physical withdrawal symptoms are normal and to be expected.
Overall, apart from some pretty miserable nausea, my transition to being med-free has been pretty smooth. My energy level has improved. I have been able to tackle more exposures than in the past. My depression symptoms have not worsened. My social anxiety is still very much prevalent, but I am working on making it more manageable everyday.