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Dx with GAD, promptly ignored it, not so smart...


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So I was diagnosed with GAD as a teenager and I was put on Paxil. I took it for a couple weeks, felt like a zombie Stepford wife so I did the teenager thing and just stopped taking the meds. I haven't had a panic attack since high school so I'm not worried that they will return. However, in the last few years I found that I am feeling more day-to-day anxiety. When I was younger, I would have intense, short episodes but now it's more like a steady pulse of anxiety. I wring my hands constantly, I obsessively worry about certain things (for instance, if I think someone's mad at me I will worry a hole in the concrete), I just feel intense and sort of permanantly puckered from guilt/worry/mentally harping on ridiculous issues, etc.

I only noticed the severity when I had an injury and was put on a combo of meds. It struck me that I was, for the first time in a long time, truly relaxed. That could have been the Vicodin talking but honestly, I felt like even on the Vicodin I was just evenly balanced. Which made me think-how screwed up am I? I have had a fear of dealing with this ever since I was diagnosed; the reality of seeing a "defect" on paper is disheartening to a raging perfectionist. I've had anxiety problems since childhood. I would have these series of mental traumas and uncontrollable fears (fires, ghosts, kidnappings) and I would lie awake praying about them. I feel like these little bits of nutty only grew into adult-sized portions as I got older.

I'm wondering if maybe I should go back and try and handle this. I have changed my diet since I was diagnosed, I exercise regularly, and I try to keep my unecessary worry in check but it took this injury for me to realize that I'm stretched tight as a drum but I've gotten amazingly good at hiding it and can only truly relax when heavily medicated. Not my idea of a happy life - I don't want to become a Paxil zombie again. Can anyone relate/help/distract me?

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Hi.

I would congratulate you for your ability to recognize the patterns here.

I think that you recognize the using pain meds to mask anxiety problems is not a good idea.

There are good meds that can help with anxiety longterm. The SSRI's in the same class are Paxil are often used. Now, all the psych meds have side effects, I won't lie. But, to be fair, two weeks on Paxil is probably not a reasonable trial of that med. We have to be thinking along the lines of a couple months to see how they are really doing.

Now, Paxil may not be the drug for you. Maybe something else would have less side effects. But you will never know till you try. There are other short term meds that a doctor might give you for acute anxiety, and/or to tide you over until the other med takes effect.

Your family doc may be able to work with you on this. Certainly a Pdoc would be quite familiar, indeed the expert with anxiety disorders. You might also consider seeing a therapist along with meds. Even a short term of talk therapy might help in dealing with the 'anxiety anxiety', as well as with the anxiety triggers.

Good luck,

a.m.

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Hi:

I have had anxiety problems all my life, but only in the past 5 years have begun to deal with them. A combination of meds and therapy have worked well for me. It sounds like you have a good plan of exercise and diet in place. That's good. But therapy is really great at getting this puppy under control.

There are meds besides SSRI's to deal with anxiety. I can't take them and take instead, a simple blood pressure medication. It works better than anything else I have tried, but I have a rough time with meds as I am very sensitive to them.

There are so many great therapies out there too. I have done EMDR several times for different issues that pertain to my anxiety. I can honestly say I am getting a lot better.

Good luck. BTW, I take Vicoden too and have for years for a back problem. That "great feeling" will go away. Bummer huh?

Breeze

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Isn't it strange that you never realize just how severe your anxiety is until you are temporarily free from it. Then it comes back full force and you realize you can never go back to living like that again. It's a blessing in disguise really. A glimpse, if you will. Now you have more motivation to get the help you need. Knowing how great it felt to be free from it.

I personally did not do well at all on SSRI's for my anxiety. But a combination of benzo's and talk therapy have done wonders. I'm not saying don't try AD's. I'm just saying therapy does way better with meds for anxiety than just meds alone.

Wish you well,

Croix

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Thanks, all. I am a college student, and we have free and confidential access to counseling services and psych services at my university. I'm so wary of talking to someone, though. When I think about it, I come up with so many excuses as to why I shouldn't even bother. I think I'll just go fill out the damn form tomorrow. If it's a bust, so be it. I just have flashbacks to sitting in an office with a woman who kept asking me if I was "bored at school"

["yes"

"why is that?"

"...because it's boring?"

"lalala here's some drugs." approximate quotation of course]

What would I talk about? How sometimes I'm perfectly fine and collected and other times I feel that old familiar flush of pins and needles in my cheeks? Being that way my entire life, I just assume it's normal and with the pain meds (I had a cocktail of an anti-inflammatory, vicodin, and a muscle relaxer on tap for about 2 weeks which cannot have been good for my body) I realized that it's really just batshit crazy.

I am batshit crazy. How do you tell someone that? It's just now really started to bother me because I notice exactly how wrong it feels to feel so wound up all the time. Even though I know that mental illness is like brown eyes in my family (we get along so well because we're all nuts - eating disorders, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, you name it, one of us has it) I'm still so very reluctant to admit that I need help getting rid of all these little things so that I can finally feel normal for a change. I wonder why...

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How do you tell someone that? It's just now really started to bother me because I notice exactly how wrong it feels to feel so wound up all the time. Even though I know that mental illness is like brown eyes in my family (we get along so well because we're all nuts - eating disorders, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, you name it, one of us has it) I'm still so very reluctant to admit that I need help getting rid of all these little things so that I can finally feel normal for a change. I wonder why...

Why don't you start there? You aren't the one with all the answers. Just go in and start talking.

Breeze

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I did the teenager thing and just stopped taking the meds.

hehe. I love this. being a teenager and hating my meds, god. that's a great way to put it. ;)

anyway... you just sound like you've had some bad luck. there are some really kickass therapists/counselors out there, and some equally cool psychiatrists. (of course, there are the shitty and the stupid ones, too, but...) hopefully, even if it takes some guess and check, you can find someone who can really work with you.

I suffer (have suffered all my life) from GAD, and my little miracle pill, a benzodiazepine called Ativan (lorazepam) has done amazing things. SSRIs do a decent job controlling my mood (I have depression, too) but they never really have touched my anxiety. don't give up just because an SSRI didn't work -- there are still a lot of other options. and you've only tried one. it might take a few tries to find a good medicine without too many side effects and while the guessing and checking sucks, it comes out good in the end.

best of luck. don't worry! (heh...)

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I am batshit crazy.

No you're not. Anxiety is all about worrying about things completely out of proportion. Did you go talk? It is weird at first. I had no idea what to expect, hell I even wrote her a 6 or 7 page letter outlining all my "issues", just to save time..... ;)

And ya know, we really didn't talk about them all that much...the big news for me happened sort of "in passing". And not everyone needs drugs. I was able to get most of my anxiety under control with a few simple relaxation techniques.

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