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Anxiety back. Take the tablets or ride it out?

(11 Posts)
TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 17-Feb-17 09:32:56

I had a bad spell a couple of years ago of anxiety and depression culminating in several weeks signed off work and a citalopram prescription as well as some counselling. Work stress was the initial trigger but I ignored it/tried to deal with it myself for quite some time, I was in a really bad way before I got myself to the GP - not sleeping, palpitations, panic attacks, incessant crying, no joy in life at all.

I came off the meds six months ago (after very gradual tapering off) and had been quite well, armed with various techniques to nip it in the bud before it took hold. Or so I thought. Then a series of things happened before Christmas - sudden death of my DF, increased workload, problem with a neighbour - and I still thought I was doing ok. Till the last fortnight or so and I can tell it's starting again. I'm waking up at 3am and obsessively ruminating, unable to go back to sleep or to distract myself from focusing on all the negative thoughts. Meditation helps a bit but not enough to let me sleep. During the day, it's a bit better but I'm tense and negative and irritable (probably partly because I'm really tired.) I'm withdrawing from friends and DH and the DC. DH has noticed and asked, very gently, how I am and if I've thought about going back to the doctor.

Part of me feels this is a grief reaction and well within the normal range and I just should ride it out, but I'm aware that last time I left it too long before getting help. On the other hand, there were side effects with the citalopram (side effects I was willing to tolerate because they definitely worked for me) and it took so long to come off them before. It's not helping that my grieving DM keeps going on about how she doesn't need pills, she just needs to accept that grief makes you feel terrible sometimes and masking it with medication won't do any good. (I know rationally that she isn't judging me, but I feel judged because when I feel like this I take everything negatively.) and I know if I go to the GP they will give me citalopram again because they can start me on it right away, whereas counselling sessions will have a waiting list.

It's now something else to be anxious about! I can't seem to make a decision. I know you can't make it for me, but have you any experience of recurring anxiety when you thought it had just been a blip?

Joto369 Fri 17-Feb-17 10:50:42

I've been in a similar situation and I decided to ride it out. I've had anxiety on and off but following a car accident and relationship problems at the end of last year I ended up not sleeping, anxious and with low mood however underneath it all I feel positive and am still working and doing things to keep me going. Things are slowly improving and I have good days and bad but the bad are getting easier. It is your decision and if you feel you want to do the medication route that is up to you and perfectly ok. Maybe give yourself a limit on how long you can try managing?? I know the 3am thing well but I am now managing to get back to sleep. It is a very personal decision but if I felt I was going downhill I would do what was needed flowers

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 17-Feb-17 11:02:36

That's really helpful to hear Joto. Thanks, and I am glad your bad days are getting easier. If you don't mind, can you tell me what strategies are working for you? For me, meditation and journaling helped before but it's somehow not working right now.

Joto369 Fri 17-Feb-17 11:43:34

Right at the start none of those worked! I did deep breathing distraction and resting when it was at its worst. Talking to mum and sister. I also tried not to magnify which I can be guilty of!!! When my anxiety levels calmed a little writing things down, exercise and even sleeping earlier to ensure I get a good few hours. Nit too much though steadily away xx

hiccupgirl Fri 17-Feb-17 13:07:05

I'm in a similar situation as well. I've had anxiety and panic attacks for nearly 5 yrs now, all related to not dealing with trauma in the past. I've tried 3 different ADs, none of which have had tolerable side effects and I had a very bad reaction to sertraline which means I can't have another SSRI.

I've been seeing a counsellor privately for just over a year now and that is helping to unravel things. I've done lots of reading around the causes of anxiety - I found 'Rewire your anxious brain' to really help in terms of understanding why I was reacting as I was and how to change it. It's not easy but I can sit with my panic most of the time now and when I can't, I can work out why. I also do lots of breathing exercises and listen to guided meditations. I do have diazepam which I take if I really need to, but that's not often.

I wouldn't underestimate the impact of grief and your DF's death on you and if you need to take the pills again to cope at the mo, then do. Much of my difficulties are down to my DM's death over 20 yrs ago that I didn't deal with at the time.

AnxiousCarer Fri 17-Feb-17 17:26:21

Over the years I have learnt to go to the Dr as soon as I start to dip. I've never been as low as I was the first time but I have been off work a few times. If you decide to ride it out I would suggest a mood diary where each day you rate your mood and anxiety out of 10. Then over time you will see if things are getting better or worse. And set a time limit as suggested by PP.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 17-Feb-17 21:12:17

Thanks, Carer and Hiccup. Good advice. I have been journaling my moods but setting a time limit is a good idea, even if it just helps take the pressure off and puts off having to make the decision fir a while. I don't think I'm on a downward spiral, it feels like I'm having a run of bad days at the moment, but it's useful to see if there is a pattern.

Joto369 Sat 18-Feb-17 07:52:46

The nature of anxiety is ups and downs! This morning I've been awake since 4 and just had a panic attack. Usually I'm up and at it for work this morning with nothing to focus on I've let my mind wander and go off on one!

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sat 18-Feb-17 09:17:12

Oh no Joto! Hope your day gets better. Distraction with something other than work maybe? I managed a relatively unbroken night last night (woke up but only briefly, no churning stuff over) so I'm feeling more human, which is good because preteen DD1 is in a foul mood and I'm going to need my wits about me!

DropZoneOne Sat 18-Feb-17 09:24:50

I had a dip, went back to my GP who ran their questionnaire again. Wasn't as bad as the first time I'd been but she was still concerned. I agreed to a lower dose for 6 months to help me get through the specific event that has caused the dip. For me, it helped take the edge off so I could focus and be in control.

There's been other times too when we've done the questionnaire and it's come out borderline and she's asked what I'd like to do and I've managed it with mindfulness and exercise.

Joto369 Sat 18-Feb-17 13:38:20

Thanks! Went for a lovely walk with the dog as sun is out and about to clean the car and potter in the garden. I did the quiz but only got posssible mild depression which bearing in mind the stressors they didn't want to medicate which is ok at the moment. The thing I get annoyed with is the spaced out feeling as under all that I feel pretty much ok!!!

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