God Bless Pharmaceuticals

 My real story is too long and tiring to type here, but ...

I received a prescription for Klonipin a few years ago, and it wasn't until I started taking it that I realized how severely social anxiety had been affecting my life.  

It was crazy.  The day after my first dose of Klonipin, I went to work and suddenly realized that I wasn't putting off tasks that required me to go talk to people.  I just didn't really care as much.

It really was like this huge weight had been lifted from me.  It was also kind of shocking to realize how much energy I had wasted battling the anxiety, when I could've received medication for it earlier in my life... it made me wonder how my life would've been different.

I don't think I'll be taking Klonipin for the rest of my life, since I've been in therapy which has really helped sort of integrate the lessons the drug has taught me into my brain...

... but I don't kid myself-- even on Klonipin I still have social anxiety at times.  One of my long time tricks was to pretend that I didn't have anxiety, and act normal.  No one really noticed.  Just suffer in silence.  That can be a good coping method sometimes, but it's pretty painful...

Another trick is to just avoid anxiety-producing situations.  That turns me into a hermit temporarily, but is also useful sometimes...

I'm trying to learn to just watch the anxiety as it's happening, and not feed the flames or totally snuff them out... just let them burn.  It seems natural that a little anxiety fire will burn now and then, so I shouldn't worry too much...

I just don't like the times when I lose control and get swept up in the anxiety so it makes me do neurotic things.  Bleh.

tochka tochka
26-30, F
5 Responses Sep 12, 2008

I agree it takes practice and cognitive behavior therapy from a skilled phsycologists or phsychiatrist. Meds will not do it alone. In my early stages of this condition I had to force myself out of my house and to work. I had no choice. If I didn't get out of my house, my life I had spent 28 years building would be over as I knew it.<br />
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So after about 2 or 3 months of constant anxiety and panic attacks I began coping better and better. I am on meds and seeing a phsycologist from time to time still. I have been going thought these extreme symptoms and fears for just over a year now and I can say that my life is dramatically better now, however, I am still not back to my normal self.<br />
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If I was only seeing a physcologist and taking meds, but not forcing myself to get out and try to function normal, then I definitely know that I would not have seen the changes that I am seeing now. The only way to get better at something is to practice. You need to get out and practice socializing (even if it is a just smile and a hello at the grocery store).<br />
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I have a long ways to go - but I will get there! I may sound like a positive person here, but I can assure you, I struggle with the same negative thought producing storms that you all do.<br />
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Anybody, feel free to send me a message if you want to talk or have questions. EP is another way to cope with this. <br />
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thanks EP!

@UndergroundMan-<br />
My psychologist explained to me that it takes actual practice to learn how to be more of a social, non-isolating person...<br />
Not really the answer I wanted to hear, because while you are "practicing", it hurts, is scary, has psychological repercussions even after the "practice"... <br />
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But I have found it to be true. It just takes a really long time. And sometimes the easiness comes without thinking about it. One day I realized that I was bantering with a stranger in the grocery store. And then I realized that I had done it several times before that, without noticing. <br />
That wasn't something I had ever tried to practice, but I have been working on other things that go on in my brain, and sometimes there is a sort of spillover of benefits, I think... :)<br />
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I think social interaction behaviors are another thing that so so many people take for granted (those people who don't struggle with depression/anxiety etc). They take it so much for granted, in fact, that they can't even understand what we are missing, sometimes. I mean, trying to explain the full gamut of emotions that accompany social anxiety to someone who's never experienced anything like that or given it much thought? Impossible.<br />
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So yeah... Maybe take some pride in the fact that you are even working with medication (not saying that it's right for everyone, just that you are taking what you perceive to be positive steps), and pride in knowing that you will continue to practice something that is not an easy task.<br />
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So... a toast everyone here, doing this hard work...!

I really liked your story. I'm also on Klonopin, and though I've noticed a few differences in my case I don't have enough of a life to really see. But I know I'm better off on Klonopin and Effexor (which may also have saved my life) than without them for now. I'm glad you're able to work and are aware of the less positive ways you deal with your anxiety. I've been an "avoidance" person for so long that I've been isolated far too long.

Hmm, neurotic things... my anxiety changes the way I express myself to people, the way I perceive my own actions, the way I spend my energy...<br />
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I have a chronic illness, so one thing I treasure is my energy and I hate it when anxiety makes me spend it, by spinning around in circles in my head... it's exhausting.<br />
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You know, I do believe that klonipin (and benzos in general) are medications to be respected. Yes, I know that when the time comes, it will be difficult to wean myself off of klonipin, but I'm not afraid, because by the time it comes, I will be equipped to handle such a challenge.<br />
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I actually haven't heard of brain zaps with respect to klonipin, but I had heard of them related to going off of Effexor (an anti-depressant). I was on Effexor for years, and it saved my life (literally, I believe), but then its effectiveness sort of petered out... I have a great psychiatrist, and I we decided to try switching to Cymbalta, since it's similar. I was apprehensive about the switching, fearing the brain shocks, but we switched extremely rapidly (over the course of a couple days) and I had no adverse reactions. I was so surprised-- I was expecting much badness from the things I'd read on the internet.<br />
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I truly believe that these meds affect people *so* differently, that the best plan is to find a very very good psychiatrist and just work with them, and try to be courageous about it. I think that we (you know, us "special people" ;) don't get enough credit for what we do when we seek medical help for psychological problems. People who take psychoactive pharmaceuticals therapeutically are really walking on pretty untested ground, despite all the studies... everyone is so so different, and you can never know how things will affect you. We deserve freakin certificates of achievement or something.

what kind of neurotic thing are you talking about? I'm on a generic for celexa and it seems to help a little bit, but not that much. I'm pretty sure that I have read that you have to be careful with knoplin and getting addicted to it. Not really so much addicted, but once your body gets used to it, it is hard to go off it. I read on the internet people who have had a hard time getting off it and they said they experienced something like "Brain Zaps". They described it as strange electric twinges in the brain... I don't know first hand...