Withdrawal and Resetting

It’s not cool when you’re prescribed a pill, walk out the door one day, and realize it’s becoming an addiction.  I don’t care what the pill is for.  Pain, anxiety, whatever.  We put a lot of faith in doctors, especially when we truly don’t know where else to turn for help.  When you’re led down a path you think is safe, and later learn that it wasn’t, it is discombobulating and disgruntling.  It can even be life threatening.

About six months ago I went on anti-anxiety medications.  I wasn’t in a great spot in my life.  This is something I recognized, so I went to a psychiatrist looking for help.  He offered a prescription, and I took it.

About a month ago, I recognize things in myself that hadn’t been there before.  Extreme irritability.  Moodiness.  That weird rush I’d get after taking my pill.  The abnormal light headed feeling I used to only get while working out.  I found myself being a lot more forgetful about things that had just happened.  It felt like I had short term memory loss, even when nothing had occurred to affect my mind.

I also noticed that when I was stressed out, I would think about taking another pill.

In my childhood, I was raised to know about the affects of drugs and addiction.  Medication wasn’t something our parents offered freely, unless my sisters and I were very sick.  Our parents told us stories about loved ones who had fallen into unhealthy relationships with drugs.  There were very strict consequences for drug use in our home, and we knew that if we ever touched drugs, our parents would be after us.  So, when I started reaching for another pill, I recognized the warning.  Instead of taking the medication, I pulled my hand away from my purse, and assessed the last six months of my life.

The big questions:

What positive influences did this medication have on my life?

What negative influences did this medication have on my life?

Did one outweigh the other?

Yes.  It did.

So, what did I do?  I heeded my own advice.  I started taking my pill once a day, and two Fridays ago decided it was time to stop.  (May I note: I did not speak to my psychiatrist before hand.  Please don’t be me! Talk to your doctor! I only learned these sudden changes could be life threatening days after I stopped taking the medication.)

What I didn’t expect was the terrible withdrawal I am currently going through.  I think the worst is over, but my body still has to take it slow.  I have never felt so depleted than I did last week:

My energy was gone.  My head felt like it was made of air, and my tongue cardboard.  The nausea was unbelievable, and I could barely move without fear of puking.

Today, over a week off the medication, I feel better.  I’m still tired, and have bouts of nausea.  My head is still light, and I have dizzy spells, cravings, and random bouts of irritability and anxiety.  But I am also somehow less anxious, and more hopeful.

I guess we will see what happens with time.

For now, I need to remind myself to take it slow.  My body truly needs time to recover, and pushing myself might overwhelm my entire system.  As I noted before, I also didn’t consult a doctor before going off of my medication.  That gives me even more reason to be careful, and not push myself into overdrive.

Sometimes, we want to leap to achieve so many dreams but need to take small steps to get there.  I posted last week about “moments”, and having to get back to my life. I do!  I won’t deny that.  But I’m going to start off slow.

I don’t care how long you’ve been on a medication.  If it’s addictive, and if you’ve started to feel those affects, it’s okay to want out.  If your medicine helps, that’s wonderful! Stick to it.  But if it doesn’t, try something new.  I was only on this medication for six months, and believe me, I had no idea I’d go through this kind of withdrawal.

Thanks for you time and support, guys and gals.  I love getting messages and texts from friends, family, and strangers telling me how inspirational my blog has been for them!

Shannon

If you’re afraid for yourself or someone else with signs of addiction:

Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor.

Contact an anonymous line for help:

American Addiction Centers has a 24/7 hotline for phone and live chat!

National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center is a mouthful! but also offers a 24/7 phone, e-mail, and live chat hotlines.

And there are many other resources out there!

Knowledge is key!  Educate yourself :).

Moments

Sometimes you just don’t feel well, and it’s hard to think, and hard to eat, and hard to be healthy, or keep any sort of routine.  You’re exhausted and want to sit in a corner, and quit.  Hide behind blankets and never step into the sun again.

We have to remember it’s just a moment.  The sooner you recall what makes you feel alive, the quicker you’ll be back on track.

For me, that means:

  • It’s time to get in the gym, after a week of skimping.
  • Drink your water, your tea, and remember healthy eating.
  • Daily stretching routines need to begin again.
  • You have responsibilities, and that’s a good thing!

Moments don’t last forever.  Don’t let them control how you run your life.

Shannon

It’s Friday, Friday

Happy Friday!!!!!

Let’s go into the weekend with a positive outlook, and a mind to recoup!  These are the days I am so thankful I am no longer working a part time job.  It is heaven to have the weekends to live my life, and do my own thing!

As an update, I know I have not posted three posts this week, and only posted two last week! I have not yet met my goal.  I was under the weather this week, and absolutely exhausted.  However, I do have posts in the works!

I will talk with you guys soon, and in the meantime, everyone enjoy your weekend!  Whether you are working or not, find some time for yourself tonight, tomorrow, or Sunday.  Personal time is underrated.  We all need it!

Shannon

Lessons, Not Regrets

 

We talk about regret, and wanting to take back the things we did wrong.  But I believe regretting the things you do can lead to a cycle of self-destruction.

I always regretted not sticking to ballet when I was little.  I quit track in high school after three weeks.  I was never on any sort of sport team, and did not participate much in clubs.  I mainly wanted to be with myself in high school, so I went home, and did just that.  I read Harry Potter, watched some television, relaxed on my bed.  I cried and I grieved.

I have lost friends, for unknown reasons.  Sometimes people slip away, and no matter what you do, it can only be their decision to come back.  I have been hurt by men.  Many have left, many have been abusive.  The dating scene in college was not exactly romance and Hershey kisses.

But regretting my decisions, and how I handled situations at the time will lead me nowhere.  At this rate, I would be regretting most of the past ten years of my life.  And what is the point of that?  Because regretting the past ten years of my life will only lead to self-hate.

Those experiences I had have shaped me.  They have made me insecure.  They have made me scared.  But they have also produced the strength in me to live a life I want.  Instead of regretting, I decided I must learn.

What would have made me happier in high school?  Running.  The Gym.

So now?  I go to the gym.  I run.  I lift weights.  I work out.  I stretch.

What would have made me happier in college?

The same.  But also, making my decisions based on learning from my past, instead of regretting my past.  Because my regrets made me hate myself.  And hating myself led me into a path of self-destruction that is by no means easy to get away from.

I cannot hate my past.  Hating my past will make me hate who I am.  I know this, because I have experienced the cycle first hand, over, and over, and over again.

In college, I would have been happier if I had been more open.

Now, I am more open.  To experiences, people, and love.  To ideas, even the ones that do not sit right with me.

In college, I would have been happier if I stopped fighting, and started living.

So, now I am living.  I will not keep trying to beat the past.  Today, tomorrow, this very moment, is about creation.  It is about who I am now, and how to continue becoming a better version of myself.

Everything in life is a learning experience.  To learn from our lives, is there any room for regret?

Shannon

 

Be a Friend

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We have all walked by an individual in need of a loving hand.  Who has not ignored someone we disliked when she was upset, because of our own private prejudices against her?

Let us challenge ourselves to be better, and to be a friend to anyone in need.  I am talking about anyone with different ideologies than you.  Anyone who has made fun of you to your face.  Anyone you thought was a close friend, and ended up further away than you ever expected.

We do not have to invite each other over for wine or pizza nights.  They do not need to be in our weddings, and we do not need to share our personal information with them.  But if someone looks like she is in need, it is up to us to rise above ourselves.

Living is living with people. That is not going to change.  So, let us try to make living a little more joyful, by giving a hand to someone in need.

It is as simple as giving an apple to a homeless person on the corner.  As simple as helping someone with a piece of equipment at the gym.  Saying hello to your new coworker, and introducing yourself.

If you think someone could use a friend, be one.  Choose to be kind.

Shannon

Realities of 23

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The turtle knows.

The reality of life at 23 is not as glamorous as I had expected it to be.  I remember promising myself that I would never move back home after college, that I would find a job wherever I went, that I could work two or three jobs if needed.  I remember thinking I would have a pet and bring it on road trips with my girl friends.  When I was young, meaning in middle school (yes, yes, I know I’m young guys), I fantasized about living in Ireland in a small cottage by the Shannon River.  I would work at a local bookstore, and make money on the side writing stories and articles.  Perhaps I would be a historian, and write about the cultures of the world around us.

The reality is, I live at home.  I do not have a pet of my own (although Sophie, our family chocolate lab, is quite the cutie).  I do not have money for road trips, for eye surgery (20/20 vision anyone?? so sick of contacts), and barely have enough money to pay my student loans, put gas in my tank, and feed myself.

The reality is, being in your 20’s is kind of brutal.  What would I do differently if I knew what I know today?

Well, I would probably take a year or two away from school, to get a real world perspective on things.  Maybe then I would not have changed my major four times, and transferred colleges.

I would have been way more true to myself in college, and stood my ground instead of succumbing to peer pressure.

I would have been involved with more of what I’m passionate about.

I guess being true to myself, and finding out what my values are early on, is what, ideally, would have happened.

But let’s face it.  Do I even know these things now?

I’m still as lost as ever.  Although, maybe I’m not actually lost.  I feel far from independence, and the dreams I had as a child.  But everyday I get out of bed and go to the job I chose to commit to.  Every single day I am sticking to commitments I truly care about.

I told my students just yesterday, that keeping a blog can help me with my writing, with my professional life, and feeling fulfilled!  I told them, three posts a week could really help me.  Lately, I feel like my posts are not even well written.  I am sincerely sorry for that.

Today, I have decided: I am making a new commitment.

So:

  1. Service Position
  2. Gym
  3. Blog -> 3 posts a week.

I would say that is a pretty good start to beginning a fulfilling and healthy life style after years of depression and anxiety. I learned from a counselor in Fredonia, that pushing yourself too hard too fast can actually put you on a quick path back to destruction.  So, I’m taking it slow.

And, also, guys,  I’m only 23!

Like, Woah.  Time, much?

Peace.

Shannon