Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Risking Medicinal Side Effects is Like Licking the Hand of Someone With the Flu

Would you willingly lick the hand of someone who has the flu? I feel like I just did.

I went to my new doctor today. Turns out I have lost about ten pounds in the last few weeks from all this stress. (Not the kind of diet I would recommend to anyone) I gave him my history of anxiety. He was really great about what my interests were concerning my well being and how he could help me. He made me aware of other alternatives besides medication such as counseling but also informed me all about the different kinds of medications I could take. We decided to stick with the Zoloft and the Clonazepam because it has worked well for me in the past. My only concern with Zoloft a.k.a. Sertraline is the side effects. So to help reduce the chance of getting the them we decided I would take only half a pill a day for the first week to better ease it into my system.I do think I will take another look at counseling, as long as the therapist specializes in anxiety and as long as we a.k.a. insurance can afford it.

So, I just took my first half pill of Zoloft a few minutes ago, and I am so worried about the side effects of (just to name a few)
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • diarhea
  • upset stomach
  • trouble sleeping
happening to me like some of them did last time. Knowing that I could spend the next week more sick than I already am, I still took that pill. L-I-C-K!

I did it because I am hopeful that it will really help me in the long run when it finally kicks in.

----------------------------------------Middle of the Night------------------------------------------------------

Woke up with a panic attack around 3 am. Very unusual for me. So I took a clonazepam and didn't really feel any better so I took another one an hour later (they are only .25mg each) I finally fell back asleep but woke up around 7 still panicking so I took another one. Hard to function this morning but its my daughter's first day of preschool so I had to get up and at'em. I am hoping as the afternoon wears on I will start to feel more normal but last night/early morning is really rough. Cant hold anything down to eat so I feel really weak and tired and lightheaded. I am going to go to the store to pick up some Ensures because they always help me in times like this.

I just keep telling myself just endure it a little bit longer and things will get better soon. I appreciate all of your warm thoughts, prayers, and well wishes my way. I can't count the number of times I have prayed for all of you to find some peace in your lives.

Take Care of Yourselves,



Tiffany said...

I'm not quite sure what google search brought me to you but I'm glad I found you, although I'm not glad you are dealing with this again. I have had generalized anxiety all my life, and had my second panic attack in December. Did I deal with it then? No. Of course not. So, after ignoring my symptoms for several more months I had a debilitating set of panic attacks which made me stop functioning.

Right before we adopted our son 1 1/2 years ago I tried Zoloft to manage my anxiety and also had severe side effects. For me, that was constant heart pounding. Like, running away from a murderer heart pounding. I didn't sleep for 3 days. I do hope that you can work through the side effects and the zoloft works for you. I won't be trying it again. I was disappointed because I wanted it to work.

After 3 days of not functioning I decided to seek counseling. I don't have health insurance right now but I was able to find a local University Master's program where they charge on a sliding scale. I pay $15 per visit and it has helped me more than I could have imagined. I'm not back to normal, but I realize now I had so much to work through that I have avoided all my life. I won't be going back to normal, but I have faith that this happened for a reason and that I will be better for having experienced it. Already, I have so many tools to help me and I'm starting to build confidence that I can go some places without having a panic attack.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, they are valuable for those of us working through this. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I hope you get to feeling better soon!

Lady Delphinium from

Dustin Fletcher said...

I, too, fear medications. I have a whole shelf full of blood pressure meds that I refuse to take. Thankfully I've only had one doctor who tried to take me off of clonazepam. All others realize it has works for me, and there's no sense in fooling around with that. I've never had any doctor take side effects seriously, though. They barely will discuss them with me. It's great you have found someone who will talk about them and even try to minimize them.

I don't know if you remember me but I used to write the brainfriendenemy blog. I quit doing it because I realized that while writing about anxiety seemed therapeutic at the time, it was actually slowing my recovery. I'm glad to see that you've slowed down with your posting. I assume it means you have been feeling better in general. I still write sometimes, just not on blogs and certainly not daily. I definitely feel better than I used to, even though my life has sort of gone to hell, haha.

Well, I wish you luck with the therapy. It works with some and doesn't with others. I've known lots of people to have success with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm sure you've heard of that.

All my best to you.

Jeff said...

I feel for you and wish you the best. I started lexapro in April with a sample pack. Went through he'll the first 2 weeks living off ensure. Couldn't eat couldn't sleep yet couldn't get out of bed was just some of the fun. Then found out insurance wouldn't cover lex, decided to pay for it myself cause I didnt want to go through the start up again.

Still get a bit of anxiety when certain events come up but not as bad and at least the day to day stuff is gone. Diet and exercise have helped a lot as well I believe.

I found your blog back then when I was doing research on anxiety and have been following since. Hope things turn around for you

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog last week and I have been reading it since. Your story is so similar to mine. You have helped me tremendously, and I do not feel so alone anymore.
I wanted to send you a HUGE thank you for being brave and caring enough to share your story. You are so amazing.
Hang in there, and always remember that things get better.

Aimée said...

Wow thank you so much for all of your kind words. @Dustin of course I remember you. I was sad when you quit but I understand why. When I am not anxious, I don't post because I don't want to spend my time thinking about it if I don't have to. When I am anxious than I post a lot because its all I can think about. It may not be the best for rankings, but its what works best for me personally. I hope your life comes out of the crapper soon haha. You are always so funny.
@Jeff I have heard Lexapro is really expensive and your side effects sound very similar to my plight these days.
@Songbirdtiff I am glad counseling has been working for you. I am considering trying this again.

I wish you all the best!

Sannah said...

Good luck with it, I hope that things settle down soon for you, and that you find something that works without too many side effects. I was lucky that I managed to get my anxiety under control by participating in a University Study where I was taught mindfulness, and as a result I havent had to use medication. It must be very difficult to deal with the side effects, with the hope that it will start working. Good luck, my thoughts are with you.

Samual said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful post. The effects of excessive worry and stress can have a range of different physical symptoms. Often times they can come on suddenly and are very intense such as anxiety disorders problem.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about trying a different medication? i have had generalized anxiety disorder since i was 13 and was on zoloft until i took myself off at 18. i was fed up because i was making no progress with it, still having panic attacks and therapy wasn't helping much either. until last year i thought that i didn't have a problem with anxiety because i wasn't having panic attacks. boy, was i wrong. i had a debilitating recurrence and was diagnosed with OCD. i always knew something else was going on. anyway, my point is, they put me on celexa. it has virtually no side effects, and because i have OCD i am on a high dose 40mg. i also take xanax daily- not something that i wanted to do initially (i still have the "i don't want to be medicated to be normal" thoughts) but it has turned out to make my life so much more productive and enjoyable. and i absolutely love my therapist. he specializes in anxiety and i found him on psychologytoday.com. you can set up different search criteria, review bios, etc. i don't have insurance and we agreed on an out of pocket rate. sorry to write so much. i just wanted to offer you some of my experience. i haven't had a major meltdown in over a year. hope you feel better!

Wendy said...

Hi, I with you all the best. Keep breathing, be patient with yourself, and honor how you are feeling. I struggle with anxiety and have been on Celexa for about 2.5 years and it has changed my life. But i still struggle and continue to meditate and practice deep breathing. I am thinking of you.

Natural remedies for anxiety said...

I have to say, that getting off medications (Valium and every other benzo that exists) was the best thing I've ever done.

Even if one of these drugs does work, you have to wait for the day that you hear that the company who makes them is being sued because of all the weird stuff that happens to the people who take it.

In my opinion, there is only 1 (ONE) way to get rid of anxiety forever, and that is without any medication that is just going to make you feel worse anyway.

It is good though, to know that I was not alone and hopefully it is good for others to know that they are not alone in the fight against anxiety and panic.

EllieJay said...

Hi Aimee-

I too experienced some bad medication, Lexapro and Klonopin were not good for me, so I went back on Zoloft, I am very lucky in that I have few problems on zoloft. The best thing for me was CBT, but it was expensive- but you can do a lot of it without a counselor. The book my counselor had me use was "Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic Workbook" by David H. Barlowe. The book is easy to follow but helped a lot.

Also, a new thing I discovered that is VERY helpful is massage. I did some research and many people can get off meds with the help of massage. However it can be very expensive but I found out that pretty much all massage schools offer very inexpensive or even free weekly clinics where the current students practice with teachers watching, etc. I have to say I have had all good experiences and it has helped me a LOT, especially with sleeping. Definitely recommend seeing if there is one in your area. Best of luck- thinking of you!

Emma said...

Hi I am new to this site,found it this morning as I woke up feeling anxious and wanted some advice. I'm 29 and gave been on effexor for 8 years,however I'm coming off to have a baby. I was doing well until a month ago when my mood started getting worse and panic attacks started up again. This was very frightening after years of doing so well on the effexor. Anyway I went back to my Dr and he put me on sertraline (zoloft/lustral) because it was obvious I couldn't come off antidepressants completely. It's been just over a week now and I do feel a bt better but not as good as I was a few months ago. I'm a student nurse and start back in 2 weeks so am really worried that I won't be able to go back and as far getting pregnant I'm not sure I can do that either :(

Anonymous said...

I have suffered from severe anxiety for five years and know its effects on sleep can me HELL. I take a very small dose of seroquel which stops my mind from racing so I can sleep through the night. Its not a drug often used but has helped me greatly.

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cami said...

I have found great results with Lexapro. I don't have any side affects. I'm at a dosage that is minimal and need to go up some.. but I've been so pleased with it. I wasn't sure I wanted to be a pill popper.. but this anxiety stuff cannot be talked away all the time. It's a seritonin issue and if we had diabetes, would we stop using insulin? probably not. Are you still using Zoloft? Are you doing okay on it? We are all built so differently and so are the medicines.. maybe a new one? I like having clonopin around for the major funks.

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