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Anxiety Message Board

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Hello! I am new to this board, but used to be active on the Acid Reflux Board a few months ago. I recently start seeing a therapist for my anxiety problems. I have always been a "worrier" but it has progressively gotten worse over the years. I had my first panic attack at age 19 (I am 34 now) and have suffered with it on/off over the years. Once I had kids, I have noticed that my anxiety and stress levels are to the point where I lose my patience easily, I feel on edge, I lose my temper easily, I feel so rushed and anxious, everything has to be perfect, I can't sit still, and I do have mild OCD with cleaning and with getting fixated on things to the point where I spend hours researching it on the internet and worrying and feeling paranoid. It usually passes once I see that the worse case scenario I think is going to happen doesn't happen. Then I am able to let it go. I feel like I am not being the mother and wife I know I can and want to be. I have so much to be thankful for, I love my kids more than anything, but I feel that my stress and how it effects my emotions is interfering with how I act around them, my attitude towards them, how I handle things in general, and most importantly, keeping me from enjoying the moment. I am constantly thinking about everything I have to do; cleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, paying bills, working, etc. I sometimes put those things first to make MYSELF feel better, before I spend quality time with my kids. Because if I don't, it's always in the back of my mind that I HAVE to do whatever it is...dust, vacuum, pay the bills right then and there. I work full time, so every minute with them should be number one priority. This is why I decided to seek help.

At my lowest, which was in the early fall last year, I reached my breaking point due to my husbands drinking problem, which has been going on for years. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I also developed a stomach ulcer at the same time, which made me feel miserable and sick for months (which is why I was on the Reflux boards) and that added to frustrations. I just couldn't deal with it anymore, but I never said anything. I ignored it, and just kept burying it inside. This on top of my anxiety issues was just eating me up and I didn't want to take out the anger I felt towards him, on my kids. He has always been a good father, never violent, or beligerant, but he would spend his free time out in the garage drinking, rather than with the kids, and I resented him for choosing alcohol over his family. I saw my doctor and he referred me to the therapist (it took me 6 months to take the first step to make an appointment!). He also prescribed Xanax to take on an "as needed" basis for my bad days. He explained that if it got to the point where I needed it every day, he would want to see me about taking something else every day.

Fast forward to now...I have since opened up with my husband about how I feel, and we had a very long serious talk about it and I felt an immediate weight lifted off of my shoulders. I then started seeing a therapist which helped even more; just talking about my issues plus the issues we had in our marriage really made me feel better. He is doing great and has really cut down his drinking tremendously, and changed his whole attitude, his involvement with the kids, and being more supportive and helpful to me with them and with the housework, and things around the house. I have noticed a huge improvement in my mood, and my worrying, but it's still something I have to work on. After a few sessions, my therapist suggested I follow up with my doctor to talk about being on daily meds. I went to see him yesterday and he asked me how I felt and what I thought about it. I told him I didn't think I needed to be on something daily and that I was leary about it. I have never been one to be quick to take meds, and I was concerned about the side effects. The thought of taking something that alters my brain chemistry scares me. It may make me feel better, but I am too afraid to try. I told him that the therapist is a professional, she thinks I need to be on meds daily, I don't think I do, so what do I do? He said there really is no way to say "now is the time" but we talked about everything and based on our conversation and my demeanor, he seemed to think that continuing with therapy and continuing with the Xanax as needed is a good choice for now and if something changes I could come back to talk about trying something else. The Xanax he gave me in the fall (30 pills, 0.5 mg) have lasted all this time (7 months), so it's not something I have had to use often - he gave me a refill for it and sent me on my way.

I saw my therapist after my doctors appointment and she seemed almost disappointed that I didn't want to take meds. That made me second guess my decision. She then suggested GABA supplements or 5HTP as an alternative. I am also leary about this, and was wondering if anyone has had experience either of these. She told me to start on 100 mg 2 to 3 times daily, see how it worked, and if needed, increase the dosage anywhere up to 750 mg daily. Or the 5HTP 100mg, up to 400 mg daily.

I am also beginning to doubt my decision. I am having a real hard time admitting that I may need to be on medication to control this problem and to make me feel more "normal". I am also having a hard time determining if I really do "need" it.

I wanted to add that I have good days - probably more good than bad. But the thoughts and worries, and day to day routine can be very stressful for me somedays. I always think that it's normal - everyone has a bad day, everyone gets stressed, everyone with two young kids can get pushed to their limits..But it's hard to say if what I feel is "normal" or if it isn't?

I am just so confused and don't know what to do. Can anyone give me any advice or guidance? I want to be happy, I want to not worry anymore, I want to be calm, and I want to enjoy my boys and be the mom they deserve EVERY DAY. But I am not sure if continuing with the counseling is enough, or doing the supplements/counseling, or trying meds/counseling is the way to go. I have only seen the therapist 4 times, so it is still fairly new. I feel it has helped me a lot, but I am still not at the point I really want to be at.

Thanks for reading - any feedback would be appreciated.

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