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(If you are in a rush, skip to the end for my question!)
Hi all, I've spent most of the morning reading your posts on this topic. I've gleaned that everyone should expect side effects while getting used to the drug, but that is actually not my concern in this case.
I'm a 41 year old male and I smoke and drink, both within moderation (though I aim to quit smoking this year). I eat pretty healthily and my BMI is ideal. I'm not very active, but doing physical activities is something I generally tolerate very well.
I've been coping with very on/off mild to moderate to severe anxiety for about 10 years. Before realizing what I had was anxiety, it was much worse. At one point I could barely go outdoors, and though I was terrified of hospitals (I think I have a PTSD-type condition after a pericarditis situation trauma, where I was along and sure I was dying of a heart attack in the ER) I was also terrified to be more than a 5 minute drive from one.
Eventually I got over my panic attacks for the most part - the key for me is actually a little morbid but I'll share anyway. Short of actually being suicidal, I did "give up" fighting the imaginary battle against impending death. That is to say, my reaction to panic (in my case a feeling that I'd 100% definitely die of a heart failure at any moment) eventually became one of "well fine, if I'm gonna die, then just get it over with already". It also sort of led to anger and taunting of a supreme being I actually don't believe in. "You want me (god)? Come and take me, then!" Anyway, I digress.
After several weeks and possibly months of this new laisser faire attitude toward my own survival, I noticed RAPID diminishing of my panic attacks and anxious feelings in general. This lasted about a year or so, with virtually no anxiety. Then I moved.
I had a lot of stress with the move; new job situation, money stresses, extreme loneliness and other issues. My anxiety came back with a vengeance and my old tricks weren't working.
For a year or so the anxiety came and went, I continued to use alcohol as self-medicating which actually worked pretty well (never drinking to get drunk, just a couple/few drinks a night to take the edge off).
Fast forward to a few months ago, and I started getting a lot of chest pain. It seemed to go away with burping most of the time, but old habits die hard and every sensation, tingle, stab or uneasiness sent me into panic mode.
My ears got hot, my pulse raced, I felt I couldn't breathe and got very lightheaded - I wanted to teleport home from wherever I was, and if I was driving at the time you could amplify those symptoms by a factor of 20. The underlying fear was STILL that I'd have a cardiac/pulmonary problem and not be able to get help, and would die. Traffic was rough. I'd be looking for ambulances stuck in traffic with me so that I could keep pace with them in case I had a problem. Absolutely ridiculous.
I finally got a family doctor, an advantage I'd not had since I was living back home with my parents 23 years ago. We did blood work, but it was a month of waiting as no one seemed able to find my results. My blood pressure was EXCELLENT and nothing indicated that I had any heart related problems.
Last night I finally got the results from my bloodwork. Even my liver and kidney function was now ideal, despite the drinking (my previous bloodwork a couple years ago showed very fatty liver). I was over the moon. My doctor said my health is actually exceptional. I was in "significantly better health than most people" he said. I feel like I can do anything now.
Here comes the dilemma. He prescribed me 5mg of Citalopram last night to even me out. I hesitate to take it, as I feel like my newfound confidence and excitement about life might be enough in and of itself. I feel like I can beat anxiety on my own, which is not to shame those who cannot. By all accounts, I should have probably been on SSRIs since 5 years ago and my life probably would have been a LOT better for it.
What do you guys/gals think? Should I wait it out or "just take the meds anyway"?
Great forum you have here, I will try to contribute as much as I can!
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