Mental Health Roundup Part 1: Anxiety and Sertraline

It strikes me as interesting that mental health is the phrase used in blog posts that are so often written by people who are not healthy--from a mental perspective.

Thanks, Snape!
I guess, there isn't really another way to say it...but there it is.

I have mental health problems. 

It's something that I've been pretty aware of, off and on, for most of my life, I think, but was only diagnosed with around 6 years ago, just after the birth of my second kid.

That diagnosis was Generalized Anxiety Disorder. And this was one of those aha moments in my life. I don't feel like I've actually had too many aha moments but this was definitely one of them.

When I looked back on my life and completed the questionnaires, it just made so much sense. There were elements of social anxiety but the generalized anxiety was the one that fit.

It got worse, just after college (that's when everyone's psyche sort of starts to fall apart. I think that's why so many people go to college for the rest of their lives if they can manage it).

I began to wake up in the middle of the night, filled with existential dread. Thoughts of death and religion and oblivion haunted me during those midnight hours. They were the worst when I was alone but I think they were there all the time.

And of course, nobody likes to think about death but it isn't healthy when you can't step away from the thought ever.

Well, this kind of death is pretty cool, I guess.

(Some of this is related to my complicated relationship with religion which could probably be a series of blog posts in and of itself but I'm not ready to go into that.)

I won't go into too much else about that except to say that I was prescribed a generic form of Zoloft which worked wonders for me. Now, I understand that I was one of the lucky ones and it isn't typical for the first medication that someone tries to be the one that works the best.

It's even possible that there is another medication that could help me more but I really don't want to go off of this stuff(Sertraline Hydrochloride). I mean, I've got kids and crap to do. I barely had time to go to the doctor to talk about this.

I'm going to quickly tell you, what I think, is a pretty funny story about something that happened to me when I first started this medication. In this story, I was sleeping on the couch.

No, I wasn't in trouble but my wife was pregnant and having trouble sleeping.
Also, I genuinely like to sleep on the couch sometimes.
I'm not weird, you're weird!

The doctor and the internet both informed me that it can take around two weeks for the medication to really begin to take full effect.

So I awoke, on the couch, in the wee hours of the night, in a state and time, in which I would have been awash in anxiety about life, the universe, existence, getting back to sleep, and pretty much anything else that popped into my mind.

It was at the moment that I distinctly remember, that it wasn't there. The anxiety wasn't there. Well, I think it was there a little bit but it was a surprising decrease.

Sounds great, right?

The funny thing is that it just felt so wrong. And in a relatively short amount of time, I had worked myself back up into a reasonably unpleasant feeling of anxiety. It was like I had dug it up from somewhere though.

Eventually, I got the hang of it and although I still occasionally have trouble sleeping, my life has improved exponentially because of that. Which is sort of why the ADHD medication was so disappointing, but more on that later.

Over the next couple of years, a couple of different doctors slowly ramped me up to the maximum dose. Each increment seemed to make subtle improvements. I don't think that I ever really asked for it because, like I said, that initial reaction was so substantial I didn't believe it could be any better.

Leave a comment with your own experiences and attempts to treat your anxiety. I know that we aren't alone in this world but there still seems to be a sort of stigma about continually taking medication for mental health.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below...........PLEASE! I need those sweet, sweet comments.


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