It’s been a week of cutting down my daily Xanax dose and the brain fog feels like it’s clearing and I’m wide awake in the morning rather than feeling sedated. And that would be awesome if the time I was spending aware and awake was not also time that I was spending feeling like I was vibrating out of my skin and grinding my teeth into powder. Everyone is different and everyone metabolizes drugs in different ways so I’m hoping that this intermittent frenzied panic that I’m battling is just a side-effect from coming off the medication and that it will pass, but I worry that it’s just how I am…that it’s the person I was underneath that made me start taking xanax in the first place.
And that sucks because then I’ll have to make a choice between being too terrified to live comfortably in my own skin or to being too zonked to be aware of being too terrified to live comfortably in my own skin.
I have hope that this will pass.
I have hope that I will get better. Or that I will adjust. It’s not faith…it’s hope. And there is a difference.
This weekend I left my house and Victor and Hailey and I went to the park and I ran out all of the excess energy burning up inside of me. It’s the first time I’ve voluntarily run in years and I felt both relieved that I had the energy to do it and also embarrassed about what I was running from. That I was running to make myself too exhausted to fight myself. That I was running from me. That I was running toward a normal that I don’t know exists for me.
Hailey and I ran through the dry creek bed and at one point I found myself on one side and she was on the other. The bridge had washed away long ago. The path was gone but I could see the other side.
I can still see the other side.
I’m just looking for the path.
213 thoughts on “There is a fine line between crazy and sane and I live there.”
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I vote for not feeling zonked Jenny. Chocolate helps with the feeling terrified. That, and you can also share more terrifying stories with us and Victor and Beyonce.
Hugs – many many hugs.
I’m also looking for the path. Here’s to our hope. Thank you for writing this. I needed to read it today.
Isn’t it great when things present themselves to us and we suddenly feel a little less heavy a little less weight on our shoulders…I love when this happens. Fresh air and fresh outlook. Thank you!
As long as you can see the path, it’s always there for you to go down when you’re ready. 👣
That’s kind of how I feel about my type 2 bipolar. They tell me that the worst part of my personality, the damaging part, is my disorder. But then that means the best part of my personality, the dirty little fun haver…the part of me everyone loves and gravitates to, is my disorder as well. That part of me in the middle, the shy introvert who everyone ignores and who just plods along, that’s the “real” me. And that’s fucking depressing.
I’m also looking for the path. Here’s to our hope. Thank you for writing this. I needed to read it.
You have to cut the path. You will.
Xanax is so hard to come off of. I nearly destroyed myself trying. Sending positive thoughts your way.
No guarantees, but when I try to cut down on Xanax, the jitters are bad for the first week or two but they are usually pretty much gone in about a month. I know that seems like a long time and believe me it can FEEL like a long time, but try to give it at least a month if you can and see if you feel better. Run if you need to. Do jumping jacks at home. Whatever works for you. And keep talking to us and we’ll keep saying “Go Jenny! Go Jenny!”
I’m looking for the path too, I have hope.
You are brave and beautiful and your candor and truth sometimes keep me tethered to this life and not the black pit in my head. You matter. Hugs.
I think it was Red Green who said it best, “Keep your stick on the ice and remember, we’re all in this together.”
I lost sight of the other side a long time ago, it is just hope that keeps me going.
I’m sorry this is so hard. We really do all feel like this sometimes, it is normal, even though it feels like fucking insanity. Here’s a thing I got recently to do when my hands need to work (let’s all hope I don’t prove that one CAN die by 1,000 paper cuts): https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1786270250/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Trust the Force, Jen.
Forget looking for the path, you are already making your own path. Already successful. Remember, broken brains are trained to lie. Yours will remember it’s truth. And come here and let us help too. You’ve got this!
Great shot! Words and photo are both very poetic. 🙂 I have faith you are fine, however you choose to be in each moment. 🙂 My mother used to tell me, “Sometimes you make decisions about who you are yearly, sometimes monthly, sometimes daily, and sometimes it’s minute by minute. But you’re still you, and I love you.” Wise words. I think I speak for many fans when I say, “We love you, Jenny!”
I’m rooting for you to find a balance!
I remember well the vibrating when I tried to wean myself off of Effexor. Never completely made it although my dosage is very low. That feeling that you are about to jump out of your skin for no apparent reason and just generally feeling like crap! I firmly believe that these are withdrawal symptom’s, not my “normal” state sans medication but I haven’t been able to get past it to find out for sure.
Good luck Jenny, you are stronger than you know and you will find that path. Let us know how it goes. Maybe you will inspire me to try one more time.
This will Pass, and will take a time, things that make anxiety worse, you probably know all of these, but it can’t hurt to tell others maybe: Alcohol!!, coffee even decaf depending on the person, but its your trying to get away from the butterflies and jitteriness, then its worth a try.
things that help.
A LOT of exercise, and meditation, boring isn’t it?
This too shall pass!!
Keep running, it really does work, especially long term. Everyone that starts on Xanax ends up where you are now! Exactly the same place… doctors know better.
I know it sucks not seeing a path sister!
Maybe you weren’t running away from the real you. Maybe you were running toward the you who will feel awake, but not so jittery, once you find your balance again.
Hang in there.
It’s rocky, but it’s not all uphill. I’m just thankful for the level places.
You’ll be okay, give it a little time. Your body’s adjusting and it can’t do that overnight. hugs
Came off a long spell of being zonked myself, your post has made me realized that I’ve spent a little too long in the following skin vibrating phase because I didn’t even know the normal inbetween existed. I’ll be running with you.
Maybe even literally.
I hope for you.
” That I was running to make myself too exhausted to fight myself. That I was running from me. That I was running toward a normal that I don’t know exists for me.”
I feel like this is why 80% of runners run in the first place. It’s one of the most valid things I can imagine. Doing something that’s good for you – your body, your mind, your soul – is what we might call a GOOD coping strategy!!!
Clarity, even when scary, is better than being zonked. I’m an addict in addtion to being bi-polar and I know the drugs eventually sucked all of the hope into a black hole.
Sometimes there isn’t a clear path, you just need to see what’s on the other side waiting for you, and you can blaze the trail yourself.
I could not love this more. That you have the vision to see the other side, that Hailey is there with you, that you recognize that even though the path is gone, you can still get there. All the feels. We’re all here with you.
what a beautiful picture and metaphor, hoping you get to the other side safely.
Sometimes you don’t need a path. You’ve got your eye on the other side so you just wade in and fight the current to the other side. It’s hell but it’s do-able. I tell myself that these days as I fight my own physical battle. The doctor hasn’t figured out how to help me yet and I’m scared out of my wits, but I keep on keeping on. Hope. Yeah, I like that.
I am so grateful that you have Victor and Hailey and other extended family to help you find your path. I’m in a quandary myself, without such caring helpmates to see me to the next phase. I have hope, and, as you said, it’s not the same as faith, that the path is there for me. In time, I will find it and learn what it takes to embrace it. Namaste, Jenny. I honor the divine in you.
Beautiful thought. I often feel like I am vibrating out of my own skin. I find that exercise actually does help a lot. Of course, I don’t run, but I walk as quickly as I can handle until I am tired and the vibrations settle down. Podcasts and music help to distract me too.
Once you wean off the Xanax, a different medication might be a possibility. But this part is super scary and I’ve been there too. It would be awesome if we didn’t have to use ourselves as guinea pigs to find out what makes our brains work better.
Jenny, your truth breaks me down in a beautiful way, into all the things and into nothing all at once. You’re not alone, you’re understood, you’re appreciated and championed, by me and a gazillion more. I hope that knowledge helps, if even in a small way. I hear you. I am for you.
If you cannot see a path, make one of your own. You have been doing that all the years I’ve been reading your posts/books. We, all of your admirers, will be there for you always.
Have you tried the app Headspace??? It really helped me and they have little 3-4 minute mini meditations for anxiety as well as the full program
A therapist I had a long time ago told me to visualize moments like these like riding a waving when I am surfing.
They, like the waves, go up and down, but do end. Just take a deep breath and ride the wave. 😊
Everything you are describing from my own knowledge, is very normal. You are handling everything brilliantly. Be proud!
A good friend of mine just took himself off of prescription painkillers and is currently fighting through some intense withdrawal, so I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him — I am really, really proud of you for doing this.
Hang in there, Jenny. You will make it to the other side.
Try Ativan instead of Xanax. It didn’t leave me feeling hung over and fuzzy like Xanax and worked very well for anxiety. If you can wait out the withdrawal symptoms and come out on the other side feeling clearer, that’s great. If you still need some help managing, try Ativan. XO
Xanax allows me to be the person I am, vs the person that scares me & is a total wuss
You’ll find the path. We all will. Hugs to you Jenny! Thanks for this.
The hope is what keeps us all searching for a solution. I really hope you find yours, wherever that path may lead. My brain is doing the same to me right now, and I was just about to use the same strategy— run off the burn in my brain.
Love and light to you always!
Good luck Jenny
I would give yourself another week coming off the Xanax. What you are describing sounds like withdrawal. Especially the teeth grinding. I have found chewing gum or hard candy helps with that. And yay you for running and being so brave and amazing.
Almost 25 years ago, I had a psychotic break, and it was terrifying because my mother had suffered from schizophrenia. Every day I woke up waiting to see big neon roads that would say go this way, or do this. But there were no big neon signs, and each day I just kept going forward and trying to figure it out. And then, after a few years, I looked back and I realized I had created a path without even realizing. So, I keep going forward, not quite sure, but creating my road forward.
That’s how I feel sometimes..like I’m vibrating out of my own skin. Like there is electricity running through my muscles right under the skin. Doctor’s like “Screw me..I have no idea why this happens. Try exercising and eating less and losing weight.” Same damn answer every time because I’m a woman and I’m overweight..CLEARLY all my problems are caused by being a short, fat, nearly pre-menopausal woman.
OMG – I’m crying for you and for all of us that feel the way you feel! Sending hugs and hope and light… I’d send chocolate if I could – that helps too!! xo
Thank you for this. I’m currently trying to help my 14 year old daughter through severe anxiety and depression. It’s such curvy road with ups and downs. I pray your path becomes clearer and clearer….it’s so hard.
Gentle hugs by baby sloths and lots of puppy-breath pupper kisses. My brain seems to be OK right now, but my body is being an asshole.
I’d say that if you and Hailey take one step at a time toward each other, you’ll have a very fine path, indeed. 🙂
I love this Toilken quote:
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Jenny, it is ok because wherever you are is the right path. 🤗
I’m so right there with you.
How fast are you tapering? When I tapered off Paxil I cut my dose down by 10% of the CURRENT dose every few weeks. It took me 9 months to get off a 20 mg dose (and even that was a little too fast). A fast taper can be hell and could make things worse. It’s the difference between hitting a wall once at 50 mph and hitting a wall 10 times at 5 mph. Neither one of them is fun, but one choice causes a lot less damage.
I have ups and downs with my meds too. Then I talk to a depressed sibling or remember a anxious relative lost to suicide and keep taking them. Not everyone has great genes and we have to deal with what we’ve got. Hang in there, Spring is coming!
Such a great picture. My husband is working on balancing his meds as well, so while I don’t exactly know what you are going through, I know that it sucks to have someone you love have to go through it. But he is better most days. Not every day, but most, and that is pretty good. Also, those shoes are super cute, where did you get them please?
If you don’t find the path, you can forge one! Big hugs
Find the path, it is there.
What if you think of it, not as running from yourself, but running towards something? It might just be running to the bridge, a road, the park. You are very brave, whether you feel it or not. It takes a lot of courage to share your struggles and humour (which we all love), with complete strangers and for that we are all very grateful. I don’t believe in God and I feel thoughts and prayers are horsehit…but I am sending you all the best mojo and vibes one could possibly have.
You got this, girl.
Beautifully said! I absolutely can relate. I had crippling anxiety years ago, but never used medication. I went to therapy and was able to overcome it, thank goodness. Really, the only reason I didn’t take medication was that I couldn’t have afforded it. So I soldiered on. I’m not super brave, but I’m very stubborn, and I was sick and tired of anxiety ruling my life. So I kicked its sorry ass. I wish you all the best. Anxiety is that creepy stalker who keeps wanting your attention. I hope you can keep moving forward, staying ahead of it. But remember. It’s like a bully who will chase you as long as you run, but who will dissolve if you turn and fight. All my best wishes. Peace be with you. ❤️
Idk, this sounds like you needed to expend energy and you ran to expend energy. Good problem solving!! You did it!No judgments or metaphors needed.
And there’s no drop so you just walk on the grass in the photo til you get to the concrete on the other side there.
You will be ok. It will all work out. Hugs.
do you know how much you help? you help. hugs and love to everyone here. we are all stronger than we think we are. jenny, thank you.
I’m rooting for you Jenny. I’m glad you have hope. Big hugs for you. Do what makes you happy. You’ll get through this.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to live between feeling uncomfortable in one’s skin and being too zonked to care all the time. I commend you for being brave every day and choosing to fight one more time. I can tell you that even those of us that haven’t been diagnosed with a mental illness/anxiety sometime find ourselves running from ourselves and trying to run to a normal that we know doesn’t exist for us. I ran from my brother and his mental illness and the dysfunction of my family for years, but it was always there, right behind me, and I realized I could never be “normal” the way I thought other people were, because the dysfunction and my brother’s illness shaped who I was. I learned to embrace the weirdness of my life, and I sign off on a lot of my blog posts with, “Stay weird, my friends. Normal is boring.” I actually mean it too. I’ve finally embraced the weirdness that shaped me. I actually LIKE that I’m not like other people, because good writers don’t come from boring lives, and my greatest hope is to be a good writer some day. I’m glad you embrace who you are too, even if you sometimes have to fight yourself for it. Thank you for being a voice for so many who don’t have one.
I have faith that you will reach your non-Xanax journey. After being on it for 10+ years, I managed to wean off within a reasonably short time. I may still have some sleep issues, but with help from some antihistamines and my beta blockers for blood pressure, I’m doing OK in the anxiety department. Now if only I can curb the restless legs and constant GERD/gastroparesis, I’ll be good to go. Never a dull moment, huh?
I love the visual metaphor of the path connecting the two of you. It will always be there. Hugs to you!
I truly hope you feel better. I know what it feels like to wish you could escape from yourself but can’t. It feels like the agony will never go away. You are brave enough to put yourself out there and talk about it. You give the rest of us hope. Thanks for your posts.
I too walk a fine line.
Okay. So I’m a reasonably “normal” person. I have a phobia of ice, but not all I’ve, only if the ice hasn’t been wet, because it sticks to you, you know, ew. I don’t even know if an ice phobia is a real thing. But I have chronic pain because of multiple injuries, which makes you not so nice and weird and worried that it will never stop.
So I used to take narcotic pain meds but hated the fuzzy groggy way I felt so I went off of them and it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t crazy like TV depicts it, all vomity and the likes, but I didn’t go cold turkey, I waited until my symptoms got bad and took half a pill and so on into infinity….
Now I can manage without narcotics and am more me than I was. I still don’t like ice though.
I support you. And I feel this feel. Yay for not being in a fog!
I took up running 3 years ago when I tapered off my Prozac in an attempt to conceive. Conception didn’t work out, and it took about a year, but running transformed from a fear activity (running from myself) to a fitness activity (cut the pounds) to its current form – meditation and centering and running toward myself.
You are brave, and you will reach the next stop on this journey soon!
You can see the other side – that’s half the battle. On my worst days, I can’t see the other side, let alone a path. Then I either just keep walking blindly or hunker down and wait for my view to change. Thank you, Jenny, for being so honest about your struggles. You’ve helped me more than you can know. (((Hug)))
My hope for you is that you find a balance – relief from the teeth-grinding, but also from the dopey feeling. I, too, have started exercising to deal with my anxiety when it builds up. I work with venomous snakes, so I have to be alert, but there are times that my anxiety threatens to burn through my chest like acid. Exercise helps me. I feel much more relaxed when I am done.
You are not alone in this place. I live here, too.
That is one of the most evocative photographs I have ever seen… Because you saw the image, you have already seen the path.
I have faith that it is just the weaning off the Xanax. I was on a stomach medicine that had tranquilizers in it (I have anxiety as well) and it too gave me serious brain fog – so much so that I would forget things like my work schedule (which was the same every week), drive past exits I took every day, and much worse. Weaning off of it was a similar experience to yours and it was paralyzing. Once it was done it was such a relief. I hope it is the same for you. Hang in there.
I’m glad to hear you’re trying to get off meds. Cleanse your system. And here’s just a little fyi that I hope makes you feel a little bit more comfortable in your skin: EVERYONE is running either to or from something. EVERYONE is afraid. You are not alone. Meditate. Look inward. Calm your mind.
You are an inspiration to me, having had depression my whole life, a few bouts with an eating disorder, and developing rheumatoid arthritis 3 years ago. Thank you for writing funny stuff and making me happy.
Hope is a good thing, Jenny, perhaps the best of things.
Or so I’ve been told.
The truth is, you’re not alone; millions of people are fighting the same battle.
Together, we’ll all survive to snark again tomorrow.
Keep running. It will save and soothe your soul
CBD oil has been an absolute lifesaver for me and my anxiety/depression/OCD. I don’t know if you can get it in the state you live in, but I HIGHLY recommend it. I don’t even need Xanax anymore
Love you ❤️
Come over to the crazy side with me. I have cookies, and it’s never dull.
Therapeutic cannabis (legal in many states) has really short-circuited my fear of everything. Its a strange place to be not running from myself. And life. I’ve found that a CBD rich strain will leave me clear-headed and calm. There are specific strains for sleep. Comes in capsules, tinctures and flower. Helps me with pain and muscle spasms, too.
Thank you for sharing, Jenny. I am hoping for you too!
Benzo detox is a bitch. Things will even out in a few weeks. I think you’ll see your path then, and probably realize that it’s been under your feet the entire time. 💜
Good lord woman! Are you running in those shoes? I mean like really running? Cool shoes, but running? Or are you one of those women who can run in heels? I can’t even walk in them.
You’ll find the path. Hailey will wait. And cheer you on. So will we.
I’m in the same boat. I can see the other side, but I’m looking for the path that gets me there. Best of luck to you, and me, and everyone else in this situation <3
Allow your body to continue to detox & when you’re ready I imagine you walking through your fear and forging your own path. You can do it. This is your path to build and you can reach the other side. xo
What a great analogy for battling anxiety. Hang in there. If you can check out the book My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel.
She has some unique ways of understanding her anxiety along with beautiful drawings.
Oh Jenny I feel that vibration. Think of it not as running from yourself but to your sanity! Use your energy to take advantage of those happy drugs our brains make when we exercise! I hope you find your balance soon. Thank you for sharing these stories! They help so many.
I was on xanex and i had the same problem. I also found out that xanex can cause dimentia and lead to other things as well. I then got off that meds and got onto Hydroxine which is better and doesn’t give you that foggy feeling. Lots of love and hugs
Gosh, this hits home. The way you describe feeling is the reason I was afraid to start taking anti anxiety/antidepressants in the first place. My doctor and I finally found one that works but some days, I’m still looking for the path. Do you mind if I share this? I’ll give all credit straight to you!
Remember to talk things out. Get support from your friends, family and councillors. Your path is right there, it’s just a little out of focus.
I’ve been so far off my path for so long that I’m in another world where I stand surrounded by my fear of everything. I haven’t seen the “true me” since I was a little kid and I don’t even remember much about that time at all.
Many hugs! I wish I had better words of encouragement.
It’s always stressful to have to change your meds. I know one week there was a BIG hiccup at the pharmacy and I went 5days without any of my antidepressants.
It was like falling through plate glass, all these jagged edges and chaos in my head. It was like, “Is this ME? Is this how I would be all the time if I didn’t have medication?”
It’s terrifying. If I wasn’t in a place to help balance my brain through medication, I’d be an unbearable person. The kind that winds up screaming at a lamppost for being too bright. (I mean, I still might do that when drunk. But this would be me sober.)
My only consolation is just remember you aren’t alone. Millions of us are fighting similar demons. It sucks. You never know when the fight will end or how you’ll feel when you get out of it, but you can do it. It will get better.
I get the running thing. I don’t DO it, but I get what you said. Don’t forget about endorphins – running gets them going.
plural noun: endorphins
any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides that activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.
p.s. this too shall pass. It sucks, but IT WILL PASS. I ❤️ you.
Even if there is no path, just keep doing the next right thing (for you).
I feel like my life with mental illness is like the weather. Lots of sunny days and lots of overcast. Thankfully the weather, and my annoyingly damaged/wonderful brain, are always changing so I’m not stuck in one place forever. Current forecast: I’m foggy but getting much clearer. Keep your chin(s) up Jenny and just weather the storm. You’re doing fine. Xo
I understand where you are and I’m happy you still have hope. I’ve been in my rabbit hole so long, I’ve lost all faith and hope. I’m currently in a state of existing, and that’s it. Your stories help me feel better because it let’s me know I’m less alone than I feel and the more your post, the more I feel understood. Medication withdrawals suck! I really do hope you get better soon.
I’m with you there sister. My drugs aren’t doing it for me either. I can’t wake up and I spend all day looking out the window at work waiting to go home to I can just go back to sleep again. This is no life. May take the plunge and get an appointment at a local mental health center. Maybe they have a better clue than my MD as to how to make me feel alive again. Hugs.
You’ll be ok Jenny. I hope you start to feel more like you soon.
Oh Jenny. I want to help you so badly. Or is it, I want so badly to help you. Maybe just I really really want to help you. I don’t want to bad help you, I want to good help you. Omg. I’m now beginning to confuse myself. I love you!
You and me both with the anxiety…I hate this feeling. No drugs but just trying to find ways to calm myself down when my fears spin out of control.
I totally get where your coming from and love that even in the frenzy you still see beauty. Peace to you in every way.
Seeing the other side is amazing! The path will appear. Or, you forge one. You are an incredible person, woman,mother,wife, sister,daughter, writer and maker of laughter. Priceless. Hang on.
Peace to you in every way.
I suck at running, but I continue to do it. Mostly running is proving to myself I’m tougher than I think I am. I keep putting one foot in front of the other and at some point I’ve gone a mile, or two. And it took me a while to make it up to a mile, as I’m not athletically gifted, at all. Each run is a battle of should I stop or should I keep running. And every time I keep running to my goal for the day it is a boost of “I’m stronger than my own mind who wanted me to give up back there where it got hard to breathe.” Running is an F You! to my internal dialogue that is less than positive. It is a middle finger to the part of me that says I suck at life. Every run is a battle against giving up. Every time I leave the house to run a little bit is a win. I don’t know what my path is, but f you brain if you try to tell me I can’t make it. I’m a runner after all, and if I can do that, then you, brain, are a stupid lying piece of shit for trying to tell me otherwise.
I have hope for you. You will cross that path when you are ready. This fight isn’t yours to battle alone. You’re never alone.
DON’T READ THE SHINING RIGHT NOW!!! I went cold turkey after 7 yrs and made the mistake of doing that.
It’s called Benz Withdrawal Syndrome.
Good news? Xanax is one of the easiest to get off of. 1-2 weeks.
I you’re in TX, sounds like you could use an Indica strain “special” gummy bear
First, this WILL pass. Everything changes. You can’t make it NOT change. It’s just a matter of waiting it out, or running it out, or writing it out, while it changes.
Know that you have literally millions of people rooting for you. That’s really something, although it may not help in any given moment.
I have given up hope, myself. That is not a depression statement or a bad thing. What it means is that I have decided that I am already ON my path, because there’s nowhere else I can be. We are always on our paths. We cannot NOT be on our paths. Sometimes you like it and sometimes you don’t, but it is always changing. Rather than hope for the future I try to focus on being in the present because no matter what, there is always something, however small, that is completely OK about the present moment.
As always you remind me that I’m not alone in this fight. You’re also a tremendous inspiration! Trying to find the balance with meds can be so frustrating. I’m dealing with that right now too. I have hope too. For you. For me. For the millions of us that are fighting a million different maladies each day. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for giving me the inspiration to embrace my mental health issues. Thank you for reminding me of the healing power of laughter.
Took a variety of meds for anxiety/depression for 30 years, until the perfect combination made my heart stop (3 times!) one day. Well, that led to a pacemaker and a brutal stopping of those meds (which really weren’t doing the job anyway). Finally got a diagnosis of bipolar I and put on off-label prescription of Depakote, an antiseizure med. Perfection! I went from 9 meds to 1 and have never felt so “normal”. So, even though it took FOREVER, I found my version of good. Here’s hoping you get to your own version of good soon. Don’t give in, don’t give up.
Your post reminded me of a quote from my favorite movie:
“Remember Red, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best things, and no good thing ever dies.”
You will find your path. You have a marvelous tribe, and an even more marvelous family.
Also, my phone wanted to correct ‘thing” to ‘thong” and I kinda need Morgan Freeman to read some fucked up auto corrects. And I also keep thinking that your thinking that I’m thinking your going to die, and that’s not it at all. It’s my favorite movie and a wonderful quote and now my mind is a cluster because my favorite blogger is going to read this thinking “this crazy ass chick wants me to die?! That is not helpful AT ALL. Not the kinda hope I was after” BUT it is based off something Stephen King wrote and he writes some weird shit…but still not that weird.
Morgan Freeman wouldn’t mess this up. So just read all of this in his voice.
I need chocolate. . And beer. Happy Oberon day Michigan peeps.
Cuddles to you. I’m mostly concerned about the voluntary running. Run from bears. The end. https://possumscatsthingsgnawingatme.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/queen-of-all/
What I’ve experienced, is it takes for.ever for the drugs to wear off. Meanwhile, these new or returned feelings feel outsize and sharp-edged. I feel like I look foolish when I navigate People and Things.
But there’s a great little thing said in my Support Group, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” For me, the big secrets I’ve learned about Life have been 1) There is no Normal and 2) Everyone we meet is in pain. That helps me stay upright.
I’m getting more done than I could two months ago or even one month ago. Every new month has been an improvement. It’s true that the problems to tackle get bigger -but I notice that that just means I’m stronger. “The way Out is the way Through.”
Stay hydrated, so your brain can work. Get your sleep. Deep breaths to calm you when you feel tense. Get inside some hugs from your darling family. Snuggle your pets. –And remind me I need to do the same in my world… xoxoxo
It’s a very fine line. I live there a lot of the too. I think many people do.
Hang in there!
I got the stabbing jolts of electricity as well as the general feeling of awful from stopping Paxil. I used a low dose of some other antidepressant for a few weeks then weaned myself off that. I had to go cold turkey on the Paxil because my face started swelling. It takes a few weeks but your normal self is still in there.
You know what I think we all live there..some people just hide it better than others…hugs…
I’ve seen that path and I’ve run that run. Hang on, there’s always a better day. Hugs…
Just Run…run if it feels good, run to quiet your mind, run to not kill people. Oh wait that last one might just be mine 🙂 I started running to quiet the noise in my head, working in a trauma ER for 14 + years I had so much in my head it had to come out. My therapist suggested running and it saved me. In the beginning I would run for HOURS until I was exhausted enough to sleep. Then I ran to keep the noise from getting too loud. Now I don’t run nearly as much but it comforts me to know it is there. So….don’t worry about WHY your run just run 🙂
This speaks to me a lot right now. I think I’m also coming to a point of reducing some meds and having the variety of side effects that come along with that transition. You put my experience into words so well, I’m sad that I’m glad to commiserate. Nevertheless, I hope we both create paths to the other sides we know are there. Thanks for your writing.
Maybe you’ve already said this along the way and I just missed it—Can you take a lower dose of Xanax to try to find a happy middle ground?
It doesn’t matter why you were running, it matters that you ran. You were excercizing and getting in shape and creating endorphins!! Hey
Sending hugs and hope. Jenny Lawson, you are a gift to this world and we are so lucky to have you.
Right now I’m at meds renewal time, and while antidepressants have made a huge difference in the last few months, I’m starting to feel a little bit of the heaviness returning and getting headaches.
It’s tiring trying to find the right path, but sharing our searches helps. Hope you find your balance too.
Severe anxiety and depression have been my companions all of my life. 18 years ago I realized I was using alcohol to feel normal. When that no longer worked i failed at a very serious suicide attempt. That led to three years of a cocktail of zoloft, wellbutrin, adderall and ambien. I was so sedated I was missing my children growing up. Since then it has been an extensive search for normal without those drugs. Yoga and meditation helps but they are not miracles. I think we are all in some way searching for that path. For now I am concentrating on being present in each moment including the anxious ones for all those moments are pieces of me. Somedays I succeed and I am ok with that.
” It’s the first time I’ve voluntarily run in years and I felt both relieved that I had the energy to do it and also embarrassed about what I was running from. That I was running to make myself too exhausted to fight myself. ” This is the real reason I run. But I’ve always thought of it as getting rid of things that are preventing from feeling like myself. Some people call it “running off the crazy.” I know that when I’m crawling out of my skin whether it be from medication, lack of medication, anxiety, depression or just plain life it helps. As someone said above it’s a pretty damm healthy coping mechanism.
I’ve also been switching meds over the past couple of weeks to try to take down my suffocating wall of depression and the terrible feeling of wanting to run away from life. It’s just great when these 2 feelings hit full on at the same time! So, I get how you feel, Jenny. It sucks! Back to the med fun: my GERD stomach problems prevent me from taking any useful amount of anti-depressants (or SSRI)s and so I’m on the lowest dose of Zoloft (after horrible side effects from the lowest dose of a few others, Cipralex causing me instant flu symptoms just for added fun). Oh yeah, my doctor told me Cipralex is the best tolerated for the majority of people (over the years I’ve learned that I don’t belong with the “majority” or the “normal” group). Anyway, tried to top up the Zoloft with an add-on prescription drug and felt like I was literally drunk when I woke up. All I remember is my husband asking if I felt drugged?? WTF. I remember saying “I don’t know..I can’t think to answer” all the while wanting to scream and cry and laugh trying to answer him. He told me later that I was talking about how we needed to get the jam out from under the sink so our dog didn’t get it. Huh? Absolutely no recollection of that. So, that wasn’t working for me obviously. I think we’ve finally found a decent add on, as I’m able to handle my depression better these days so far and not be completely swallowed up by it, while not feeling drunk. Yay!
By the way, I love your last book “You Are Here” it really helps me when I need to be mindful, which my doctor keeps telling me to be and it’s really hard when life just wants to press you down constantly!!!
Sending you hugs and thanks for the laughs and mindful moments from your books! 🙂
After your last post I researched CBD oil and I think it will help me, maybe you too. It’s illegal in my state :(. See if you can get it where you are. You are running away from Xanax, unfortunately it’s in your brain for now. I’ve been off Xanax for a couple years and I really think it changes something in our GABA receptors that is hard to fix. Hugs & hoping you can wind it down pretty quickly!
Hey, your RA, Fibro, etc. didn’t keep you from running! WTG, gurl!
I’m proud of you, Jenny. Changing Meds and doses is scary AF. Taking the leap and trying is a win in itself. You have hope, and I have faith in YOU.
I’m right there with you. I read your post last week thursday night and quit xanax friday. Something was terribly wrong between the memory loss, brain fog, and vibrations. I thought all if it was from stress, so I took more xanax. Then things quieted down and I took less, then I started feeling awful again. Then I read its solar flares, or maybe allergies, or peri menopause. All I know is I needed to sort this out and pronto. Thank you for posting about it and good luck to you!
I took Cymbalta for awhile and it made my brain feel better but I ground my teeth all flat from it. So I stopped. That wasn’t all that much fun, either. The teeth grinding is bad though, headaches and tight muscles and who knows what else. I hope you can figure it out. Good luck!
Good luck with your weaning! It will take time for your body to adjust to the changes, so hang in there.
I have removed myself from my meds. Something else (hugely unexpected and shitty) cropped up, requiring a continued period of recovery and high dose meds, and mentally, I just couldn’t take my regular ones too. I feel crummy and short tempered, but my current physical problem is crappy and life changing (not life shortening though), so it could easily be that. So far, 2018 has sucked big time, and I don’t quite know how I’m going to get through it.
So sorry that you are going through this. I’m thinking lots of good thoughts–you hang in there.
You make me feel not so alone. You are an inspiration to myself and others like me. Take it slow and steady. Hoping for your best, you are strong lady.
OH BABY you WILL find it! Hugs and Love.
Keep Calm and Love Farting Rainbow Kittens. It’s a thing. Really
Thanks for keeping it real! I feel like we are all searching for the other end of our path, and hoping we find it … when the time is right. Like, what if I find it, and I’m not ready?
Lost and miserable, angry and agitated. But at least I know Im not alone. Others are here too and know what I’m going through. Thank you for sharing your journey. When you find the way out send up a flare!
You just described my life perfectly. The running to escape myself, the feeling of jumping out of my skin, the brain fog, all of it. This is me. I’ve been taking Xanax for 20+ years and I can live with that. The fact that you are so articulate and cogent in your understanding of your situation gives me hope. You’re not alone and you will get through this.
Be yourself Jenny, you are wonderful as you are.
Hang in there….. the real you is there and it is neither of those things. Deep down, you know your real you. You are sweet, funny, irreverent and thoughtful. You care about people and you are a fighter. The illness isn’t you it is just a thorn that is under your skin.
Big hugs to you for seeking the path – it is there…honest it is.
Marco….. (I am waiting for you to yell “Polo” back to me.)
Love the shoes! Looks like it’s a gnarly bumpy road ahead, but the prize on the other side? So worth whatever you need to do to keep walking. 👣👣
Maybe you’re not running from, but toward something new. And you have your kid along, so it’s a good adventure. Honestly, nearly everyone I know who runs started it as a way to get out of their own head. You’re in great company.
I generally assume that any change in body chemistry is gonna mess me up for a bit. When I take a Tylenol PM, I even feel that for days. Medication changes are brutal but they are often for the best.
I was on a daily dose of Klonopin for more than 5 years. One of my doctors said it was time to stop taking it. The withdraws were real. Its hard. Just keep going.
I did step aerobics trying to unload the Paxil. God it was awful! Fat older ladies have no business jumping up and down like that. At least it made me wish I was dead for a different reason.
I tapered off 3mg of Klonopin using Valium as a replacement because, as it turned out, 3mg of klonopin = 30mg of Valium. Way easier taper. It’s called the Ashton Protocol. Minuscule taper, over months… it was still awful, mostly because of the terrifying message board they used to have. Some of those people had a really horrifying time. They fed off each other. I recently had to start Valium again after eight years, but only 2.5mg. I couldn’t tolerate the cpap mask without it. Although weed works too. Legal weed b*tches! I love that stuff ❤️❤️
It gets better. It does…but you might have to cross without a path.
Sending soooo much love and hugs your way!! Coming down from medication can be so freaking horrible and frustrating, I hope it gets easier for you soon. That is a very beautiful and serene picture. (Also, my mind is now coming up with all sorts of different scenarios for why you have involuntarily run in the past….)
For what it’s worth, your symptoms are pretty common for withdrawal from Xanax, so there’s a good chance they will get better.
What a beautiful analogy.
I run towards and from so many things, and sometimes the sound of my feet hitting the ground is the only thing that drowns out the screaming in here. Running is what holds me together. May it take you to a more peaceful place.
I’m sure it’s a body chemistry thing (stress or hormonal for me, can’t wait until the latter has settled down!). When I have anxiety attacks (the kind that last all day), they’re switched on around 5-6 am, I’m wide awake and terriefied. If for some reason I’ve been woken at 3 for instance, I’m absolutely fine and cool as a cat. I’ve chosen to get by without daily medication and tried to convince myself it’s just “weather” or a random noise. Still feels awful, but it helps a little.
Gonna jump in here, hopefully this helps.
Your body is a pretty amazing machine, and its primary job is to keep all the many and varied systems working together and in balance. Called homeostasis. Because keeping all the hormones, blood and cell components, neurotransmitters, etc in balance is essential to keeping us alive. Anytime we start taking a medicine or other substance that affects that, over time our body adjusts to keeping everything in balance with the new factor included. It gets added into the total equation that equals you being a functioning, living organism. What that means is that when any of those factors gets removed – meds discontinued, diet changed, organs taken out, etc – the body requires time to get back into balance with the new normal. In this case you were taking something that affected your brain chemistry and neurotransmitters, so stepping that down involves the body doing constant recalculations and adjustments to get everything back to normal. This is why it is important with some medications to never stop taking them suddenly – body hasn’t had time to gradually adjust and can just have a cascade failure from the sudden change. In your case, your brain is still working to get everything back into balance. And since this involves a lot of ups and downs for a while, don’t assume that anything is the new normal or until you have had time to get there. Meds aren’t like a dress you put on that covers up whatever is underneath, they are integrated into your body and have to withdraw slowly and allow you to fill in the voids they leave. And all this balancing is designed to keep you alive, so your moods or mental status are sort of secondary to that from a survival standpoint, at least as far as your chemistry is concerned. All this is to say that you need to let the med clear, let your body find its new balance point and then see where you are at. The symptoms you are currently having sound a LOT more like withdrawal – your brain and anxiety is still ramped up to help balance the effects of the xanax and hasn’t found its new balance without the drug on board. Hope this makes sense.
I would just like to say I burnt some toast. Which might reflect how your mind feels? That’s where I’m at this morning. A cat also leaned on the ESC as I worked to type this. Stay tuned for the weather. The coming long weekend forecast calls for a quiet drink at home.
DO NOT feel bad about what you were running from! I actually watched a video by a doctor who said that running, even just in place, is the perfect response to anxiety. He wasn’t one of those people who suggests a run will cure you or anything like that. What he was saying is that anxiety is a fight or flight response and that many people tell you to take deep breaths or something when you’re in the middle of a panic attack, but that often just makes it worse, and that even just standing up and running in place burns off the extra adrenaline that you’re building up because you’re ready to fight or run. So in your case your body is just telling you what to do and you’re listening!
Change is scary. Brain chemistry is scary. Chemistry is about timing and patience, and cleaning up test tubes and beakers. After so long in a Xanax bath , your brains got a lot of glassware to tidy up. As far as that distant path you see…. You build a bridge to it it a board at a time. Run. Breathe. Be patient with yourself. You aren’t alone. Sending hugs and hope.
Oh Jenny…we’re all running from ourselves!!! It’s the one thing we all do the same but no one recognizes because we’re all too busy trying not to fall and look like fools and embarrass ourselves. Maybe you’re just the pace bunny in the grand race of life and this is how you react to the honour…with panic attacks, etc. Thank you for maintaining your sense of humour about this with us. You are uniquely amazingly wonderful and you make the world a better place just because your in it. Please don’t ever forget that! LadyPamelaJ
You can see where the path needs to be, Jenny. Perhaps it’s your opportunity to create the path that others might follow. If you only had any idea of just how many people have found their own paths via your words. Keep trailblazing pretty lady; we will be there with you.
Completely understand. I went off my lyrica and had that nervous energy too. I didn’t run – I just started packing boxes after boxes.
About the path – forge one of your own….. you did it with your books, your blog and your life….
Cool picture. The path is there. You can also make your own path, step by step. You’re doing great.
Finding our “normal” is difficult. That whole urge to run and just keep running is not a fun feeling to deal with. When in that place, I’ve often been on the edge of a not-so-amnesic state where I wanted to just drive, and drive, and drive until I ran out of road. When I arrived at wherever I was running to, the plan was to start life over again. Of course, that often results in another medication induced state. Keep fighting!
Have you ever tried individualized medicine? You probably have. I just wonder because you talk about how medications are metabolized differently by different people (very true). There is now the ability to determine better treatment through genome mapping. I only know this cause I work at Mayo and, well, you know, Mayo…..but it was super interesting and I think it could help a lot of people, instead of just hit and miss, especially in mental health.
Good luck to you.
If you can’t find the path, draw your own.
We all know you can.
That is the most beautiful way to describe the pain and confusion caused by pills that we both need and dread.
You’re my hero just for running in a dress and those shoes. Jesus, woman!
Hugs to you. I am sure someone has said this, but even though there is no path, you can see the ones you love… or some sort of sappy crap I am totally not good at saying. Love you!
I think you just lived a poem… “Two paths diverge” right?
I wish I could see a path
God, I love how you write!!! It’s so brilliant and familiar and explains so much how I feel a lot of the time. When I came down off Xanax, I felt the same buzzing sensation and it drove me nuts. It does go away. And then the path will come to you dear soul. <3
I’m reading yet another book on anxiety and it says to be careful with running etc because it can release more cortisol into the body when what you need is less? Ive done the whole walking til I drop to get rid of anxiety myself, but do yoga now. Then again I’m medicated and can stand still!
my heart is with you.
I can’t begin to imagine the things you have to deal with, but here’s just a thought from someone who still hasn’t sorted out his own crap. I don’t know that excessive energy is necessarily a bad thing, it’s what you do with it that matters. I am also acquainted with the problem of vibrating in bed while trying to get some sleep and running it out might not be such a bad thing. I think that’s the appeal for a lot of people who exercise a lot, they’re so exhausted by the end of the day that they just collapse into an enviable pile of unconsciousness. When I started a higher dose of Buproprion a few months ago I felt almost manically energetic for about a week. I could barely sleep but that was kind of offset by the fact that I had SO much energy. And that energy fueled a creative burst in writing for me that I had never experienced before with any of my creative endeavors, I couldn’t get enough time to write and my mind was exploding with ideas. After that initial week I went back to feeling about normal and I even actually miss that hyper creativeness. If I could balance that out with sleep… then we’d have something. Ever since I read Furiously Happy (which was my introduction to you, hi!) I was impressed and envious that you seem to have been making your own path through life. I’m not trying to be that annoying yet well meaning twat who’s full of sunshine and unrealistic optimism, I’m just hoping to offer another way of looking at things. And thank you for sharing your life with the world.
I run and I lift and I swim and I bike and most days those are the only things that make me a stable enough person to go home to my family and be able to enjoy the time with them. I decided years ago that I would rather generate my own drugs in my head via endorphin cascades and I often remind myself that I’m not running away from myself, but running towards the self I want to be. Never be sorry for running towards a better self.
I vote for exercise. It makes such a difference to my anxiety. It helps me sleep and gets all the monkey-brain madness to a manageable level. I don’t love doing it, but I really, really, like how it makes me calmer.
Withdrawing from a drug = bad, but it may be necessary. Running just once, regardless if you don’t do it again for some time = very, very good. When I stopped Straterra my nights were filled with horrors of being inside a barbed wire cage that was electrified. It took a long time for those to go away. Here’s hoping you may be able to run again. Just imagine you’re trying to get in line for a ferret sale!
I remember having to make this choice too, earlier in my life. I opted for less zonked — and tried to figure out ways to deal with all the anxiety. I’m still trying to do that, but it’s reassuring to remember that I’ve found ways that have worked, which makes me feel that I will be able to do it again. One the the ways I found, very early on , was getting myself lost on purpose. I always figured out how to get back to a place I knew — gaining the confidence to know that I would find it, even if I hadn’t a clue how to get there.
What darling shoes you have !! May they find a good path for you.
Aw, sweetie. There has to be a happy medium in there, someplace? Maybe still Xanax at a lower dose? Maybe the running thing could help; maybe if you felt you were running toward something and not away from you? Easy to say, hard to do. Never easy answers…. which is one of the reasons life is soooooo hard. Proud of you for trying to figure it all out. I’ll hold a good thought!
I’m with you sister. What if this is as good as it gets?
I so get how you feel, I weaned myself off Klonopin and it was a lulu! I know that running feeling, I’ve run from myself so long that running toward something else would seem weird, but I try everyday, and I no longer end up on random flights our of Miami for no reason.
Hope is wanting the path to be there when you take a step. Faith is taking a step and believing that your step will land when you cannot see the path. Sometimes seeing the other side is enough. Even when it is a foggy distant view, knowing it’s out there can be reassuring. Purpose…we parish without it. You have purpose. One way or another, you will place your foot on the other side. I love your writing. Thank you for sharing.
I take many medications and it’s crazy to say that I try to wake up by at least 7am so I can go from my very comfortable bed to my Beloved recliner so I can begin my nap on time – usually about 8-8:30am after I catch a spot of the news. In case you didn’t catch that – I get up early so I can start my nap on time within an hour or so after getting out of bed. And it’s important to nap on time so I can wake up from my nap by about 11-11:30 and do some productive activities so that I can get my next nap on time by about 2pm because I have to be up from nap 2 by 4pm to walk my very demanding dog, whom I love so dearly, but also who knows how to tell time and will wake me up by 4 by staring at me (you know how if someone is staring at you while you’re sleeping, it always wakes you up cuz it’s creepy – my dog has mastered that, except he’s not creepy he’s just very smart and knows when it’s time for his daily routine) or will shake his head to jingle his collar. Then after feeding and walking him I have to fix dinner so that it appears I am productive for the day and then dutifully remain awake with my husband until about 10 pm when we climb into bed and he immediately begins snoring and I lay and quietly read until 2 or 3 am when my sleeping Meds finally kick in. This sad revelation of my daily life has been very helpful as I just realized maybe I wouldn’t need my daytime naps if I didn’t stay up so late at night reading. But what fun would that be? I friggen LOVE sleeping during the day! So, anyway…I’m all for the drugs Jen! But I don’t have children (other than my awesome time-telling dog) and I don’t have a Victor who cares what my life is like, so I guess whatever works for you. Good luck, Beautiful Goddess!
Lord woman, are you running in those precious blue shoes? You’re good!
At least you have exceedingly cute shoes while looking for the path.
I want to say that if I had a magic wand I’d make it so that everyone was on a path of their own making without the hellish mental devils that dog us so. But maybe I’d be taking away someone’s valuable experience, something they need to learn so that they can be so much more than they dream of. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a magic wand because if I did no one would have to run through the forge that makes them steel. Or gold or whatever.
I think I’m a rescuer, I want to save people. Especially people I value. But I think maybe saving people isn’t always a good thing. It’s good for puppies, and small children, but I’m afraid the rest of us must battle our way out of the paper bag. The thing about battling (and I say this to remind myself as much as anyone else,) is that while it might exhaust you, it also makes you strong.
In your case Jenny, you see things is such a unique and beautiful way. I don’t know if that is part of your mental illness, or not, but it is part of you regardless. You way of looking at the world has a way of helping the rest of us who are muddling along. So I won’t wave my wand because I’d be afraid I was taking that away from you. But if there was such a wand, you could wave it for yourself if you wanted.
You can do it! Try not to worry- I’ve been in your shoes.
This is helpful to me, and also very sad. My daughter suffers as you suffer, and I don’t know how to help her and I am heart broken at her inability to thrive. I appreciate that you are able to articulate so that I may show compassion instead of anger and impatience.
You rock, Jenny. I believe in you.
I hope you find the path especially since you see where you’d like to be. It just might not be a straight path.
On a very different note… Your shoes and dress are awesome.
I really needed this. Scared, very scared right now. I hope you are feeling better today.
“Try Zoloft!” they said. I ended up with world’s worst headache for a month and no improvement.
“Try Cymbalta!” they said. I ended up so low that I started to become seriously and actively suicidal.
“Try Wellbutrin!” they said. I had so much anxiety the other day that I can honestly say that I have the cleanest kitchen on the block. Seriously, you could do surgery in there. Soooo…I started stepping my dose down a couple of days ago. It’s still not “great,” but I hope that it will get better too.
I ran out of my meds and had to go through withdrawals. Long stotry, but it’s half my fault and half theirs for making me have to wait so long for an appt to get more meds. I have one in a couple of weeks. But the thing is, I’m not sure if I want to go back, or at least not sure about those particular meds. The withdrawals are terrible for me, ringing and sound sensitivity and then EXTREME mood swings, anxiety, rage, depression. Finally having it all the way out of my system, I’m reluctant to get back on it. I’m finally starting to be able to cope with stress. But I worry that if anything major happens, I’ll break down again. Guess that’s what I’ll have to discuss with my pdoc.
I just want to say thank you to all the people sharing their trials and tribulations with meds on here. Nearly a month ago my jaw had been clenching so much that it got out of alignment and I couldn’t close my mouth. My MD told me to take Ativan for a week to see if the muscles would loosen up. I’m not sure how much that helped my jaw, but it had me horribly depressed so I stopped it. Finally my jaw could close. THEN I started getting stabbing pains in my ears so I went back to the MD. Well maybe there was an infection, so I went on Augmentin for 10 days. Didn’t help with my ear pain. Fast forward to when Jenny made this post, and some of you mentioned that Wellbutrin/Bruproprion causes jaw clenching – BINGO!!!! And once I started reading about that side effect, I learned that the clenching can cause ear pain. Now why did they guy with the MD not know any of this?!!! So I stopped the Wellbutrin starting yesterday morning. A little more weepy, but my ears feel better already. And I DID make an appointment with the mental health clinic to try to get this all sorted out. Thank you again to all of you who understand and who help more than you will ever know!
If you feel drugs are right for you then use them. You have absolutely NO reason to be embarrassed whatsoever!
I applaud you Jenny for sharing your stories with the rest of us who may be a little afraid to open up (including me) like you do, so a huge Thank You to you.
This is me this morning. Thanks for helping me feel like I’m not alone
Sometimes your stories make me smile. Sometimes your stories make me so sad. I have a daughter-in-law with bipolar (who is partner to my transgender daughter), but I am one of the happiest, normal, balanced people I know – and you, and her, make me appreciate it daily!!
I wish I had a shovel big enough to dig a clear path for you all …
I just heard about this book on NPR called “Doing Harm” about the “lazy science” that leaves women “dismissed, misdiagnosed and sick”. It talks about the difference in metabolism between women and men and how it relates to their metabolism. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/03/27/597159133/how-bad-medicine-dismisses-and-misdiagnoses-womens-symptoms
Whenever I feel down I come to your blog and then I feel cheered and not alone. Thank you!
relates to medication! not metabolism!
I connected so deeply to this. For me, there is no better metaphor for living and coping with a mental illness than the image of a bridge (I actually collect them!).
Your photograph is beautiful. Your caption beneath it is beautiful. And you know what’s even more beautiful? That your mind allowed itself to slow down enough to notice that reflection of yourself, in real time, and capture it. It is a rare thing–to notice a moment as it’s happening–and this one is pure poetry. I hope you don’t mind if I add it to my collection. Love to you and yours. xox
After 10 years, I’ve been weaning off of my depression/anxiety med Effexor XR for a variety of reasons, mainly because I felt like I had lost ability to feel, the memory loss and the brain fog. I was petrified because over the years when I missed a dose or two, the dark hole I would fall in was crippling. I’ve been going slow and there are times on my “skip day” that I can feel the tingle of anxiety trying to take over but I fight it and like you, I can see the other side.
Different perspective on the idea that you’re running from yourself. My husband has an extraordinarily high need for exercise, generally. He’s had at least a couple times when he broke out in hives due to anxiety and the only solution was running – within a few miles, the hives were gone. Your body is producing chemicals all the time – if it feels good to expend energy physically to relieve the symptoms of those chemicals building up, then it’s great – exercise is a cheap treatment and isn’t further messing up your chemical balance. Try not to be mean to yourself about it. And to be clear, I am not saying that people with depression or anxiety just need to get outside and exercise or any of that bullshit. What I am saying is that you aren’t running away from yourself – you are facing your problem head-on and working hard to find solutions. I admire you.
I have always loved your willingness to give the finger to the notion of not discussing mental health. You and this awesome community have gotten me through some depressive periods in the past – “Depression lies” has been a battle cry of sorts for me for a while.
I’ve never dealt with anxiety, until a few weeks ago. My sleep went right out the window and some days all I want to do is run until I collapse. My doctor is working on getting me the right meds, as I’ve straight up refused to take xanax (I come from a long line of addicts) so I’ve been muddling through as we wait for my gene test results.
All that you say, I understand. Previously, I’d have had empathy, but now I don’t have to work to put myself in your shoes – I’m running with you. And I have hope we will both get better.
No no. No shame in the running. The running (regardless of reason) is actually one of the best treatments out there (and legit medical studies say so) for anxiety. I have a couple girlfriends that run freaking marathons because it’s the only way they don’t have to live their lives curledt up in the fetal position And it is by far the hardest to get started. Eventually it provides more than enough energy to feed itself but initially it can be very expensive in terms of the number of spoons required to start. So who cares what you think while you run – what is important is that you run.
I can relate so much! I was put on a medication last year (gabapentin) that makes me suicidal if I even miss a dose by a few hours. Turns out the medication wasn’t even necessary, after many years of many different diagnoses a doctor finally figured out that I have advanced adrenal fatigue syndrome and it’s mostly eating and resting that are fixing me. Well, we’ll see how much I can be fixed but having to come off this stupid medication is a special kind of hell and is not helping a goddamn thing. ANYWAYS. I’m sure you’ve heard of this since it was originally published in 1980, but “Feeling Good The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns is helping so much that it’s almost unbelievable. It’s so astonishing that I’ve reached cult-like levels of proselytizing about it. I thought it might help you too. And it’s drug-free haha!
P.S. I’ve come off Ativan before as well. The jitters, the grinding teeth, the painful neck ache (do you have that too?) all went away. Now I can use it just for panic attacks without any lasting fog or memory loss. Now it feels like another tool in the toolbox rather than a crutch which is really nice. You can do it!!
Thank you. This is resonating with me.
I’m an expert on benzodiazepine withdrawal, unfortunately. And I had the PTSD to prove it. After taking benzos for years – valium, ativan, xanax, klonopin – I finally realized that the pills had changed me in terrible ways, Though the doctor who first gave me valium said, You can take it like Pez, I knew I was seriously addicted.
I cut very, VERY slowly. But after my last dose, I was sick for SEVEN MONTHS. Insomnia, bowel problems, visual and aural hallucinations, vomiting (I lost 40 pounds – the hard way) and what I hated the most: adrenaline surges. I’d manage to doze for twenty minutes, then I’d awaken as if a bomb had gone off. The only way to calm my pounding heart was to stomp around for miles, feeling the energy dissipating through the soles of my feet. I’d have to take walks three or four times a day, even after midnight.
The doctors I went to for help listened to my complaints and told me I was imagining things, that MAYBE the sleeplessness was real but couldn’t have lasted more than a couple of weeks.
If I hadn’t found a support group online, I would’ve killed myself. Let me state that again: I WOULD’VE KILLED MYSELF. In the support group were MANY people with the same experiences, and many said that one common side effect is THINKING YOU’RE GOING INSANE!
I’ve dealt with some adversity in mylife – who hasn’t- but benzo withdrawal was the worst experience of my life. By far. I wouldn’t go through it again for a million bucks. I’m so sorry you’re going through it. It WILL end but you’re probably going to feel shitty for awhile. Just remember, it’s the drug, it’s NOT you.
If you ever want to vent to someone who gets it, I’m available sny time.
Beautiful description of how you feel. I have a note to myself on my phone as a reminder.
Me: will it ever not be exhausting to just exist?
Me again months later: yes!
I’m feeling pretty good right now, but last year I wasn’t. And Furiously Happy really really helped. Thank you! And good luck finding your path!
Have you tried klonopin? I use that on a day-to-day basis & keep the xanax in reserve for triggers & setbacks. It’s worked well for my emotional issues.
I also feel much better after exercize & wish I could do that more often. My feet & joints don’t share the enthusiasm, though.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to catch up with your writing, so I’m just coming on board to this. You are going to be all right. My belief is there is no real normal that speaks to everyone; it’s only perception. Unless you’re an actual criminal deviant. Which you are not. Yes, you probably ate feeling magnified effects from weaning off the Xanax. That is very common. Sometimes exercise almost literally exorcises the negative stuff out. My therapist told me I had to make some form of physical activity a priority or none of the other things I was doing to treat my anxiety would work really well. I am lucky not to be also suffering from depression, for sure. But you are still there, Jenny. There’s plenty of you aside from these chemicals and feelings. ❤
Getting off Xanax was awful for me. Getting off cymbalta was much worse. But it was one of the best things I could have done. I applaud you for making the leap. It was scary as hell for me. I hope you’re doing better!
I understand that feeling of coming off of medication and I’m sorry you have to go through it but I promise it will get better