I spent the last 14 years of my life trying to cope with my anxieties and problems the natural way, but with the addition of medication for the last few months, my life has become much easier.
I have always been reluctant to take medication unless absolutely necessary as I prefer to try natural methods first to see if I can remedy the problem. If I have a headache, I will always try and rehydrate and relax before turning to pain killers, the same as if I have a cold I will drink a version of grog (hot water with lemon, honey and rum) to try and relieve the symptoms. This has always been the same for my mental health issues.
I always felt that I was getting better
From the age of 19 when I first shared my problems, I had always felt that I was going in the right direction…that I was in control of my life and to some extent, I was. I don’t remember having a panic attack for about 7 years until I took a flight last April and this was when things began to decline again.
The panic attacks came back and with them worsened my anxieties, also having a knock on effect on my OCD. Here is an example:
I had never had any issues with taking the train to work (other than having to prepare in the morning due to my IBS), but now all of a sudden I found myself panicking on the journey, especially if the train stopped in between stations. This then became a new obsession and something that I needed to confirm would not happen through various habits.
At this point, I felt like I had gone back to a time when my anxiety and OCD ruled my life.
With this huge step backwards and some encouragement from my partner, I decided that it was time to see a professional. I took an appointment and we discussed the problems I was experiencing and he gave me 3 methods to deal with them:
- Exercise – releases dopamine into your brain, which is a natural mood lifter
- Meditation – once a day for 15 mins to find my calm
- Medication – I was prescribed both paroxetine and opipramol to increase my levels of serotonin
To be honest, I only kept up the meditation for a few days, but the combination of exercise and medication completely changed my life again. It took a couple of weeks for my body to adjust to the medication, but since then I have had no side effects.
My OCD improved almost immediately and is now the best it has ever been and I feel much calmer in general. I am on a fairly low dosage, but I can control my dose depending on how I am feeling and the situation I am in. I am still extremely fit and healthy physically and honestly I would recommend at least trying medication if you suffer from similar symptoms to me.