For most of my life, predominantly when I turned 14/15, anxiety and depression have been a part of me. Then a few years later after a severe ‘episode’ where I believed that I had been attacked to the point where there was police intervention, I was diagnosed with PTSD.
These mental health issues that I have had a profound affect on my life in different areas. Predominantly my relationships with my boyfriend, friends and even family. Just recently my anxiety had escalated to the point where I was beginning to fear the commute to university and would become anxious about what may happen to me. It then began to affect my sleep to a point where I was scared to fall asleep in fear that I might not wake up.
My mortality became my biggest fear, that and being left alone by my boyfriend, family and friends.
It had become so bad that my boyfriend couldn’t cope anymore and he begged me to see someone, in particular my GP. It had become so bad he felt that he could no longer recognise me, I had changed into something else and was becoming less and less the girl he fell in love with. I had to make a change and despite not wanting to medicate myself through having reservations about SSRI’s from previous experience, I hung my head, put my big girl pants on and dragged myself to the doctors. I was told that my stress levels were effecting my anxiety and the adrenaline that my brain was expelling wasn’t being reabsorbed properly. I have been in constant fight or flight mode for weeks and this was the cause.
Treatment: counselling and SSRI’s.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Ihibitor’s. I have taken many forms of these since the age of 14/15. My first ones being Prozac. The reason why I don’t like to take these types of medication is personal.
I don’t think that people shouldn’t take them, I think you have to do what you think is right for you, so what I feel right for me may not be what some people agree on but its important to note that everyone’s mental health is an individual and unique journey. The struggle is different for everyone and my experience on SSRI’s has been atrocious. Hallucinations, muscle spasms, panic attacks, depression, no libido, no emotions and a sense of disconnection from the world and from myself. All of these I have experienced and all of these are the reason why taking medication is just not for me. However, I have tried the natural, herbal route but I had gotten to a point where I was close to having a bath in camomile tea and using herbal sleep aids as bath bombs and still my anxiety and my mood had not changed. No improvement.
So reluctantly, I took my prescription for Sertraline to the pharmacy and went home and took my first pill through tears. I couldn’t believe I was doing this to myself but I would do anything not to lose the person I love and to get back on track with university. I didn’t want to lose everything over something that can be fixed. Within an hour I could feel it, jitters in my jaw, tensing muscles in my legs and disconnection. Like a curtain was closing on me and I could no longer be a part of the world around me. This would go on for up to 2-3 weeks if I was lucky, but predominantly there is no change for 6-8 weeks.
In the days that followed I became more and more disconnected, my boyfriend was unsure if I was happy or sad because I had no sense of emotion. I felt stunted. My apetite was affected, I wasn’t hungry and I felt quite confused about things. I had changed, he knew it and so did I but we walked through it. Slowly.
I spoke with my brother, a brother from another mother but a brother non the less. He and my boyfriend told me of something called CBD. This is something that has been used in America for a while and it was making an appearance in the UK with some pretty profound affects.
CBD is an cannaboid oil without or with a very small amount of THC. THC being the compound in cannabis that gets you high. So this oil, gives other affects without getting you high. They advised I research it and maybe give it a try.
I began to research almost straight away, the need to be ‘normal’ whatever that may be, was imperative to me. I needed to feel like I was connected. All the research I had found on this was so positive, the way that it has had an effect on anxiety but also other medical ailments too. I was stunned that I had not heard of this sooner. Obviously, there were some that had said that it just didn’t work for them and maybe this was down to there only being small dose available, but it was enough for me to try at least one final hurrah with natural remedies before going down the long slow route with prescription medication.
I researched the best ways for CBD to be taken and what people recommended. Some have said the oil was enough, 5 drops under the tongue 2-3 times a day or vape it. The oil was easier to get a hold of so, a couple of days after speaking to my brother and conducting research that I think would make even Sherlock Holmes proud, I bought a bottle of CBD oil and I was to start taking it in a couple of days once it had arrived in store. So that was it, I put my Sertraline in the cupboard and thought hopefully this was good bye!
Walking down to the store to collect I felt strange, nervous almost. I have basic training in medications and the thought of taking something that was still undergoing clinical trials made me feel as though I was doing something illegal. Even though I knew it wasn’t.
I didn’t feel like I could talk to family about it or friends because I didn’t know what they would think. Would they care? I knew I shouldn’t care, I wasn’t doing it for them but hey anxiety does that to you, right? I collected my bottle and felt strongly that I should take it straight away. But I chickened out. So I promised to take it the next day.
The next morning I woke up, looked at the bottle then put it down. I was so anxious. What if it did make me high? what if it made me sick? all at once a thousand anxious voices were swirling around my head and that’s when it hit me. This is why I am doing this. So this can stop. Or would I rather have the prescription medication that makes me feel so horrible that I wont be normal for weeks on end. So I put my big girl pants on lifted my tongue and dropped 5 drops of the oil under my tongue.
WOW! It tasted gross. It was like I had been chewing on a bunch of nettles, but I had to hold it and try not to swallow for a whole minute. It was the longest damn minute ever. But when it was up I swallowed and drank soooo much water I could’ve drown myself I’m sure. The thought of having to do it again in the afternoon was slightly off putting too. But one must persevere….right?
Then a few hours later I noticed it. I was smiling, I could hear clear thoughts. In the afternoon after my other dose I managed to tackle my driving lesson without shaking and panicking as much, then in the evening when I took them before bed I had the best nights sleep I’ve had in weeks!
Today I woke up feeling refreshed, brighter. I took my dose managed to get to the dentist without having a panic attack before during or after. I felt I had a little more control. I still do. I have sat in a bar on my own typing this without worrying what someone might think of me in a pub at this hour!
Now, let me clarify. I don’t know 100% if that’s the CBD or if I’m just having a good day or two because I know it takes time for these things to take full effect and I was advised that it would take about 1-2 weeks to get into my system fully but I can feel something. There are no noticeable side effects apart from the bad taste…YUK! But honestly, I think this is the one.
I am now looking at getting the vape oil. Apparently this is just as effective if not more so as it gets into your system much quicker. But I feel like it might be a good supplement because I can be quite forgetful at times and so I think this will be a good benefit for me. But so far, so good. I haven’t written on here for a while, and my anxiety may have been one of the reasons why but I think this gives me something to write about.
I really hope this worse and I will write about it as often as I can. So fingers crossed this is it! Here’s to recovery!