The Same Old Baggage -- My Anxiety Story Part 3

I took Sertraline (Zoloft) through the rest of my college days and into the first few years of my teaching career (I taught middle school and high school art for ten years before I had my daughter). 

After a few years on the job and after settling into married life, I felt very stable. I felt confident that my mental health was under control. So, I weaned slowly off of the meds. 

*Wean slowly, people.* 
There is a reason there is an explicit warning not to stop suddenly and to consult your doctor!

A few months went by. I was doing well for the most part, but eventually I relapsed. 

My body became so conditioned that I would have panic attacks at the same time every day (7th hour when a particular student that was a behavior problem was about to come into my room). 

I was a wreck. 

I remember many moments sitting in my class room convinced that I could not handle life; I sincerely felt that I needed to be in the hospital. I felt like I was going crazy. A few times, the only thing stopping me from leaving my class room to tell the guidance counselor I needed to leave for the hospital was the fear of what people would think if I actually did that! 

My poor husband had no idea what was happening. He dated me and married me while I was on the meds and feeling stable. This was a whole new and unpleasant side to his wife. Needless to say, my anxiety caused some strife in our marriage.

At this time in our lives, Mike was leading worship in a charismatic church that was very emotionally unhealthy. Basically, I felt that if I went back on medication, I was lacking faith that God would heal me. That added a whole new stress and anxiety of its own. I felt very lonely in that church and very judged -- which is the antithesis of how we should feel in church! I promise I will post more on that experience and will give hope and encouragement to the anxious christian in future posts.

Eventually, things got unbearable and I went back on Sertraline. 

A few years later, we wanted to have a baby. I was very concerned about being on the meds while pregnant so, I went off. I honestly don't remember the in between, because I think all I cared about was getting pregnant. It was a horrible pregnancy due to the morning sickness, chronic pain, and having to inject insulin because of gestational diabetes, but anxiety wise, I actually felt fine.

Then, I had the baby. 

Postpartum anxiety and depression hit hard. Of course, I knew my hormones would be messed up. I was warned that I'd be weepy, but I was not just weepy. I was crying every hour. I was feeling completely trapped and petrified. I was wanting to run away, and I didn't feel bonded to Gwenyth, which added mountains of guilt on top of the anxiety and depression.

Recognizing these behaviors, I wasted no time in getting the prescription. Again, I got stable. 

I stayed on Sertraline through my second pregnancy. Postpartum was a totally different experience. I felt bonded to Reuben as soon as I laid eyes on him and that didn't change when we brought him home. I certainly had weepy, hormonal moments after birth, but for the most part, I was able to laugh them off. Overall, joyful was the newborn experience with Reuben and the year (plus) that I stayed on the meds.

After Thanksgiving, I look forward to finishing my anxiety story. I'll explain how I got to this point -- a point of acceptance and sharing. I will share my experiences with natural remedies and then ultimately why I choose to medicate. I want to encourage people that struggle with anxiety and to educate those that don't understand it.

I'm so grateful that you have stopped by to read.

It's so cliche, but our struggles make us who we are today. I'm am not defined my my anxiety, but the experiences have certainly had bearing on my person hood, and for that I can only be grateful. We learn from our experiences and grow through them enough that someday we can help and support others (even though we also continue to struggle). I am thankful that I have come that point in my life. 

Do you relate? What struggles have you gone through that you have learned and grown from? Let's be thankful for them and encourage each other in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm going to take a little blog break. I'll be back with a new post on Monday.


  1. Chris I had no idea you struggled so much after Gwenyth. I wish I would have been there for you more. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  2. Oh, thank you. No worries. I am BLESSED with a huge support network around me. Not that I wouldn't have loved your help : )