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  • Lauren Summer

An Update (Part One)

If you're reading this, you either already know my story, or came here to find out. As I stated in my first blog post, I've been dealing with this fun little thing called Panic Disorder; A widely misunderstood mental disorder with extreme physical side effects. Back in January, I decided that 8 years on medication was long enough. There are no studies that prove that SSRI's are even successful to take long term, so here I am, in 2018, finally deciding that maybe, just maybe, it is time for me to start weaning off. I was so hesitant to start medications in the first place. I did everything under the sun to try and make myself feel better holistically, but unfortunately, my case was far too severe for yoga and herbs alone. It took a while, probably a year or two, until I found a dosage that really helped to mask my symptoms. The key word here is "mask". Medication doesn't fix anything, leaving you with a huge gash and a small little band aid. Last summer, however, was the best I have ever felt. Little to no anxiety, my career was thriving, I was traveling, meeting new people, working out consistently, but then January came around. I felt good, not perfect, but good. I was doing some talking with those close to me and decided that now might be the time that I try and begin the weaning process.

I'll be honest, the first few weeks were way too easy. Aside from the occasional dizziness, my moral and overall health were amazing. Luckily I had an amazing support system every step of the way, (and still do). I was still going to the gym, still sleeping normally, still being social, and then something changed. I think my body realized what I was doing and finally started freaking out. Mind you, I had gone down from 15mg daily to 10mg. A pretty significant change, even at a higher dosage. (TIP: When you get down to the lower doses, it's better to wean off much, much slower. Eventually doing it by 1mg at a time. NEVER cut off your medications cold turkey. It is not safe and you will feel like absolute poo.) I began to feel anxious at the gym, unable to finish sets or even walk on the treadmill. A new symptom arouse, and it was absolute overpowering full body fatigue. I'm talking can't-even-hold-your-phone-up fatigue. I began getting so weak. I couldn't keep my head up, and it would come with no warning. I specifically remember sitting on the leg press machine at the gym and feeling my head begin to fall. This continued for another week or too, and then, WE MOVED.

Moving is stressful enough as it is. Imagine packing and moving into a new place all while you can't even throw your own two feet forward. It was a lot, but I did pretty good. I think the motivation kept me going throughout the day. As we slowly started to settle in that first week, I could better monitor my symptoms. I would was waking up every day around 8 or 9, and by 12 or 1, the fatigue would hit. Every day. No matter what I did. At an evening gym session just last week, (mind you we have only been moved in for 3 weeks, there are still boxes everywhere send help, SOS), I was so motivated and ready to get back into my consistent gym schedule. I sat down, did two reps, and like a huge punch to the face and stomach at the same time, I was hit with a wave of anxiety that I haven't felt in a long time. In one movement, I swiped up my gym bag and ran away to the ladies locker room to sit down, hide, and panic in peace.

Brains are a complex thing. All it takes is one chemical imbalance to completely throw off your entire body. All of these symptoms that I, millions of others, and maybe you, are feeling is due to nothing other than a chemical in our brain that isn't working like it should. Weird isn't it? Lately when I've been feeling down or tired or hopeless, I think back to what I told all of you in a previous blog post. It's our brains that are making us feel this way, so only our brains can help to fix it. I've started doing yoga every morning, drinking more hot tea, and reading instead of aimlessly scrolling through social media (Which we all know is far too full of negativity). These all seem to be helping in their own ways, as much as they can of course. The past few weeks have been hard, and new. Which is honestly, scary. Being self employed is amazing, especially in this situation because if I start to feel bad, I can go home, or nap, or make tea. On the other hand, the immense pressure I feel to make my own content and create posts for Patreon or Instagram turns that anxiety right back around and the vicious cycle starts all over. Luckily, I have a plan. I'm blessed enough to be living with a medical student who just so happens to also have a bachelors in psychology, so I've been in pretty good hands as far as advice and directional help. After months of researching and trying to find a way to rid of this for good, we think we have finally come up with one last try.

CBD Oil.

I was so hesitant to even agree to this at first, because like a lot of people, I didn't know much about it. You'd think CBD oil from a cannabis plant automatically means two things. One, it's illegal, and Two, it'll get you high. Luckily, neither of these things are true! CBD is classified as a nutritional supplement and legally must contain less than 0.03% of THC to be sold. I remember seeing a video floating around a while back of a man with Parkinson's Disease being treated with CBD oil and almost immediately stopped shaking. It's miraculous. I've read case after case of CBD oil successfully treating so many different things, and one of them being, Panic Disorder.

My fingers are crossed, and I'm praying to every single deity out there that this stuff works. It arrives this weekend, and I cannot wait to give this stuff a try. If it works, or even if it doesn't, that means I'll have even more updates and information for those of you dealing with this or something similar! You can never have too much information, and I'm here to provide. I'll see you all in, a hopefully successful, Part Two.

Love you all so much.

XOXO Lauren

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