January has rolled around and with it, the anniversary of when I got put on my medication, Citalopram. For those who are unaware, I suffer with anxiety and dermatillomania which I have had for the majority of my life. Last year, I hit a low point with my anxiety due to a number of reasons and I felt suicidal as a result. After consulting with my doctor, the big M word was mentioned and I got put on a 20mg dosage of Citalopram.
One of the big symptoms of my anxiety is panic attacks, which is what my medication is there to stop. The other aspects of my anxiety have been curbed with various methods, but the panic attacks felt like they would never go away. I was initially afraid of being put on medication as I didn’t want to rely on it for the rest of my life. But on the flip side, many of my friends and family have been on medication for mental health and have been successful with it. I also knew that I could come off it whenever I wanted to.
The first week of the medication was always the most difficult, with all of the side effects I had. I couldn’t eat anything without being sick and I hardly slept. This happened for just over a week and I was starting to wonder if this would even be worth it. But I persevered with it and eventually the side effects wore off. Afterwards, I started to feel numb inside. There were times when I wanted to cry and just break down when things have gone wrong, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The medication seemed to block all of my sad emotions for a while, but like the week of side effects, it eventually wore off.
There have been times where I’ve thought about coming off the medication or coming down a dosage. But when I tried to lower my dosage to 10mg, I had a panic attack a few days later. Maybe I wasn’t ready or just too comfortable on a 20mg dosage, but I’ve accepted that it will be a while before I can come off.
My medication has helped me so much. For the first time in my life, I have been able to say yes to opportunities I couldn’t have before. Normal situations that would plague me with panic attacks are a walk in the park. I never realised how much medication would help me feel and being on it for a year makes me hopeful that I can come off it slowly sometime. My friends and family have definitely noticed a change in my attitude and how my feelings are towards everything. Being able to live my life without fear of panic attacks has allowed me to push myself and achieve my lifetime goals, and plan for new ones. I finally feel truly happy for the first time in my life and I feel something I never thought I would feel…free.
Have you been on Citalopram?