For years, all I knew was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Purging and binging in everything I did, creating extreme ecstasy, then feeling brutal come downs. Suffering from depression and anxiety from about 14 to 19 years old, I unintentionally let it take away a lot of experiences from me. At the time in my life that I should’ve been enjoying high school and preparing for my future, I was struggling staying motivated to do any of that. Of course my doctor, concerned, prescribed me Prozac and Xanax and a variety of other medications that numbed my symptoms, in hopes it would help me make it through the day.
That’s when my codependency on medication began, and without taking at least 1mg of Xanax a day, I would surely have a panic attack and be unable to go to work, communicate with peers, go to school, or even deal with people in public until I could calm down. My tolerance grew over years of consistent use of the medication, and that 1mg became 2, then 3. Finally, it stopped working for me entirely and I continued having panic attacks even taking higher doses. This is when I knew I couldn’t continue putting a bandaid over this deep wound. And that’s when I, alone, chose to discontinue taking my medication. I’d like to say, this can be very, very dangerous and I’d never recommend anyone to discontinue taking they’re medication without consulting their doctor. Withdrawals from Xanax can actually cause seizures, and with that being said, I’m lucky I didn’t face any issues detoxing from my own medication.
The first days of no longer taking any prescription drugs, I experienced extreme panic attacks where I would hyperventilate, cry, scream, and just feel literally everything I was avoiding by numbing myself for four years straight. Slowly, my mind began to heal and feel more balanced without these chemical dependencies, but still I experienced debilitating feelings of anxiety when introduced to certain triggers, though less depression was prevalent.
I knew that I had a lot of healing to do, and so I decided to try regression hypnotherapy to heal past traumas in my subconscious. I found that I was able to deeply shift some experiences I had in the past into a more positive perspective, where I was able to remove feelings of victimhood and feel in control again. Along with that, I changed my diet, away from processed foods, loaded with chemicals, to Whole Foods, mostly plant-based. I began taking Ashwaganda, an Ayurvedic herbal supplement, and adaptogen which helps the body’s organ systems react to stress more harmoniously. I introduced a few more positive habits to replace my old habits, like a love for meditation, and yoga. Diving deeply into my own mind through this practice, I have been able to objectively resolve some negative thought patterns that caused anxiety. Replacing coffee with hot herbal teas, that do not contain caffeine, has been a revolutionary ascension into my health as well. As caffeine sped up my nervous system and also triggered a release of cortisol from the adrenals which caused a fight-or-flight response in my body, it actually caused more anxiety. Click here to read more about how and why I quit drinking caffeine to help my anxiety.
Eliminating my coffee consumption, also boosted my hydration, allowing my brain to function more clearly and effectively. Along with that, I have been more mindful of my water intake and drink my body weight in ounces of water per day, which is something I NEVER did in the past.
In the days of my depression, I had the tendency to sleep all the time. This meant I wasn’t outside much, and now I consciously sit in nature daily, either reading, working, studying, or just enjoying outdoor activities. This is something that has helped me rewire my mind tremendously for the best. Studies have shown that moments of “Awe” are integral in your health and wellbeing, and what a better place to be awestruck than the magnificence of nature? Not only that, but nature provides another very healing, grounding phenomenon called Earthing. Earthing is done by standing barefoot on the grass or soil, allowing the Earth’s vibration to ground your electrical nervous system much like a grounding cable does on a plug. A grounded nervous system, is a calm nervous system.
There are millions of things that your body is communicating to you. As you notice discomfort and unease, depression and anxiety, your very intelligent body is telling you something is not right and until you change that, you will not heal. This healing is an endless learning opportunity to form a relationship between your mind and your body. If this article has helped you, or you know a friend that could use some tips to help them heal from their anxiety or depression symptoms in a more holistic way, please share.
Wishing you eternal wellness, and peace of mind!