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Yolanda's Story

by Yolanda
(Tennessee)

"After reading Jessie's story, I thought to myself "That is me." Since the birth of my son 4 years ago, I have had issues with anxiety and "paranoid thoughts." I too believe that any illness that I have is an automatic death sentence, which of course is not the case. I would search Web MD and the worst possible scenario that was listed, I assumed that applied to me. The anxiety finally came to a screeching halt when I called my mother crying and told her I was convinced I had cancer and was going to die. I told her I was going to make out a will and name her as my son's guardian- I sounded like a raving idiot! My mother had enough and insisted on going with me to my doctor's appointment. Since I have a history of this type of behavior, the Dr. wasted no time in prescribing me Zoloft. I have since had to have my dosage increased. I am so ashamed that I have to take medication just to function normally. Hopefully one day, I will be able to function without the use of medication. By the way, I do not have cancer and I am not going to die. I found out I have Interstitial Cystitis, which is very treatable."

Susan's Comments:

It is not uncommon for people with anxiety to search the web for answers to their troubling symptoms. Since people with anxiety don't feel in control, they at least want to prepare for the worst case scenario.

One thing people with anxiety don't like is surprises. They hate nothing more than to be caught off guard with anything. The idea of being unprepared is anxiety producing in itself. They have a tendency to stress about every possible reason for their symptoms. They do a good job convincing themselves that they have the specific illness they were researching online. It is not uncommon for people with anxiety to feel the physical effects of what they tell themselves. The mind and body are extremely connected. What effects one, will effect the other. So they can even experience symptoms they didn't have before. The mind is more powerful than you realize.

It's important, when you are at the height of your anxiety, to avoid searching your symptoms online. By doing so, you are only making matters worse and adding more anxiety and fear to your mind.

Like Yolanda, many feel ashamed for taking medication. I want to be sure that you understand that there is nothing to be ashamed about. So many people feel that if they need medication then it means they are weak in some way. You must understand that this is not true. It's a lie that keeps people from seeking the aid of a medication when they could actually use one.

Doctors often prescribe anti-anxiety or depression medications at the first sign of a disorder. Problem is, many don't refer their patients to a therapist so they can actually work through the problem that got them into this mess in the first place. You should never be on this type of medication without being in some form of therapy. Although medication has it's uses, it's never the answer to your problem. Educate yourself always before making serious decisions that will effect your health in any way.

If you are on medication, please know that is not a reason for personal shame. If anything, you are doing what you think is best for you. Medication is always a choice and it takes a strong person to make personal choices for themselves.

You must also know that because you are on medication now, it does not mean you will be on it forever. In fact, many people have successfully worked through their problems and have weaned off and are living med free today. Whether you are on medication or not, what is important is that you do what is necessary to be healthy. This means, you become proactive by working on your positive self-talk even when the medication has dulled your symptoms. Do the work! Don't allow medication to make you lazy in your efforts.

If you are on medication, never come off of them without being under the supervision of your doctor. It is very dangerous to stop these types of drugs abruptly and specific care is needed when doing so. Your pharmacist can also help you understand the best way to come off these drugs. Tapering very slowly will help minimize withdrawal symptoms.

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