Anxiety: The Symptoms Return

Do you ever feel like a failure for taking yourself off medications that you “don’t need anymore” only to end up right back on them?

That happened to me recently. I took myself off my anxiety medication a few months back. When the anxiety got so bad I could barely leave the house, that’s when I couldn’t lie to myself about the necessity of it anymore.

My anxiety symptoms seemed better, so I took myself off medications. Then they came back.

Return of Anxiety Symptoms:

I started blurting out random words and phrases to cut off the chatter in my head. Blasting music through earbuds to help me ignore all of the people talking to me. There are sounds that make no sense that just spill from my lips, sounds that derail the train going round and round in my brain. I hide in dark rooms crouched in corners, trying to keep the panic from finding me. It always does.

When I could no longer fake normal, that is when I realized that the dreaded anxiety medications really were necessary. Lying awake for hours, reviewing every conversation in my head for mistakes – that’s when I knew that I’m not okay. I still pretend. Three times a day is really annoying for taking medications … so I miss doses. It’s foolish, you don’t have to say it. I’m already telling myself that. Even as I’m hiding from everyone who cares for fear of being annoying, I’m pretending that the anxiety isn’t an issue.

Wait, what?

Didn’t we just have this conversation?

It never ends, you see.

We – me, myself, and I – always have this conversation. The anxiety gets unbearable, and keeps us locked inside our mind. Then we go back on the medications so we can leave the house again without panicking when someone walks by. When the medication does its job and we feel better, we stop taking it. It isn’t necessary anymore! That is the lie that we keep repeating, wishing it were true and trying desperately to believe it.

Sometimes I do believe it. Until the medication is out of my system, anyways. So for now, I’m back on anxiety medication. We will see how long it lasts this time.

Changing Together and Finding Ourselves

At the end of January 2017, my husband and I were married for a year and six months. It wasn’t until those last six months, though, that we started finding ourselves together – as a married couple.

Leaving home doesn't mean that you drop everything you were taught - but sometimes it's better that we branch out and do our own thing. These are some things my husband and I have changed together.

The first year of marriage, everything was different. New town (for me), new people (also for me), new home (for both of us) and of course new lifestyle – neither of us has ever been married before, or lived with a partner before. That first year was a lot of adjustment. Even though we both felt that our marriage seemed to come naturally – it didn’t really seem strange to live together, or wake up in the same bed; it seemed right – we were still learning how to live together. So during that time, we primarily did what our parents did when we were growing up – shopping in a similar way, spending the way our parents did, doing the things we had watched our parents doing.

After Time Away:

A year and a half later couldn’t be more different from how we started. These past six months we have found our own routines and preferences, things neither of our parents did (or that we are aware of them ever doing).

  • We buy “fancy” cheese (a few we have tried include “blueberry vanilla goat cheese” – a favorite, “rosemary and olive oil asiago cheese” and “balsam and fig goat cheese” – yum) a few times a month at the grocery store, and eat it on mini toasts – a fun semi-healthy snack that allows us to try many new flavors.

 

  • Also, we go to a “cultural” restaurant once a month. For us that means choosing a restaurant outside of our culture/experiences/and sometimes our comfort zone to try other foods. We tried a Thai restaurant due to starting this practice, and LOVE it! Hopefully we will be trying an Indian restaurant soon.
Different Spending Patterns:
  • Shopping for clothes once a month, regardless of whether we need clothes, helps our budget. There is a price limit that we can spend per person a month. It does NOT roll over to the next month. Growing up, we outgrew or wore out our clothes close to the same time. Then we had to go buy new clothes all at once. With our method, we always have clothes that are in good shape/fit us and can spread out the clothes buying. It’s also kind of fun, and if we are particularly broke one month, it wouldn’t be a big deal to simply not buy new clothes that month.

 

  • We have budget meetings where we sit down and discuss our spending and financial situation together once a month. Sometimes we miss a month when it is particularly busy, but then the next budget meeting we do the month we missed as well.
Branching Out with Dinners:
  • We don’t necessarily eat the same dinner every night (or even most nights). When my husband lived at home, he ate whatever his mom fixed for dinner. When I lived at home, I usually fixed dinner and could choose what I wanted to fix within reason. Everyone ate it and would complain if a certain meal was featured too often.

The first year of marriage especially, I made dinner nearly every night (or we had leftovers, but those were usually lunch, not dinner) and we ate the same things. A year and six months later, I usually prepare dinner about once a week (except for special occasions). I cook a big casserole/pot/whatever and we enjoy those leftovers when desired. Other than that, we “fend for ourselves”.

If I’m preparing something I offer to fix him some of what I’m having, but if he isn’t interested he makes himself a sandwich, a bowl of tuna salad (we eat just the filling with no bread), has cereal, or eats a leftover out of the refrigerator. Usually I make myself a salad, since salad is my favorite food. We keep fresh broccoli, tomatoes, bell pepper, and lettuce/spinach in the refrigerator for these salads. When I cut up the produce, I slice the broccoli stems (he doesn’t mind them), a few pieces of the broccoli head, and some bell pepper and bag it for him to snack on later.

 

  • Many of our meals are meatless, which kind of goes along with the point above. This is not because we do not enjoy meat, but because meatless meals are much more affordable. We both come from families where meat is featured in virtually every dinner.
Loving Where We are Headed Together:

These are some of the ways that we have differed in our marriage than from either of our parent’s marriages. I’m interested to see where we are six months or a year from now; if we have kept these practices or established new ones. These practices are fun, but spending ones can also easily be dropped for a month or so if money is tight. They are especially meaningful to me, however, because they make us more unique as a couple. We are not “following our parent’s footsteps” – we are striking out on a different path and finding our own place together.

 

How has your lifestyle changed if you are living on your own or together with a partner?

 

Lola – Melissa Scrivner Love

Failing to see who the true leader of the small gang, The Crenshaw Six is could be a huge problem for the Mexican cartel. She lives in the shadows, with everyone misjudging her as harmless – but Lola should not be underestimated. There are huge decisions to make, sides to choose, and punishments to deal out.

It's a man's world - but in this thriller, some women should not be underestimated. Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

Lola really brought to light how invisible women can be. A great example was on pg. 53 “She doesn’t fear Lola, because in Mila’s mind, they are equals. Women in a man’s world.”

Positives & Negatives on Details:

A fast paced and interesting read, some parts were pretty intense and had me wanting to throw the book. Lola was a well-developed character, and I liked reading Lola narrating her own tale. In some parts I appreciated the glossed-over description, where what could have been quite gruesome wasn’t too bad to read at all – but in other parts I wished for more details.

I also wished to read more of how the story ended. There were a few parts that felt a little unfinished. That aside, it was nice to read a tale from the wrong side of the tracks, to see the world how Lola sees it. To see that not everything is black and white, not everyone is all good or all evil – and sometimes those who appear good really aren’t good at all.

Recommendation:

Lola was a very good read, although I would not call it a thriller. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to see the world from another perspective. The narrator grew up in a bad area, the victim of bad parenting who decided to make something of herself – not good, but not “all evil”, either.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Greek Yogurt Avocado Tuna Salad

Last year my husband and I went breadless with our tuna salad, and ate it from a bowl with less mayonnaise than our previous version. This year, I learned there are ways to make tuna salad even healthier – while it tastes better!

A fresh tasting, delicious alternative to traditional tuna salad.

In all honesty, I was very nervous about this tuna salad. Avocado has never been one of my favorite things – or even something I usually eat. We happened to have some that I had forgotten when making homemade sushi, though, so into the mix it went. It made me feel much braver when my housemate tried it and said it tasted “super fresh”. I tried a little bit at that point – it really did taste fresh! This is my new go-to tuna salad recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans tuna in water, drained
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 small handful dried cranberries
  • 1 stalk green onion, diced
seasonings to taste:
  • salt & pepper
  • dill weed
  • garlic powder
  • Creole seasoning
  • celery seed
  • hot sauce (optional, lemon juice would also be good without spice)
Directions for Yummy Tuna Salad:

Drain the tuna, mash the avocado, dice the cucumber and green onion, and mix all of the ingredients (together with your preferred seasonings) together in a small bowl. I used a cereal bowl and it was the perfect size.

You can eat it directly from the bowl, or (if you are not ready to go breadless) this is delicious on toasted whole grain English muffins with a little bit of butter. Don’t force yourself to avoid your favorite things so much that you end up bingeing – permanent change comes from moderation, not avoidance.

Servings:
  • In a bowl, this makes about 1-2 servings. 
  • On English muffins, this makes about 4-6 servings. 

P.S. Before trying this tuna salad, I thought avocado wasn’t really my thing – I’ve definitely changed my mind since, and am now looking to try it in other things. Maybe homemade mayonnaise would be a good candidate to experiment with! We’ll see.

Greek yogurt avocado tuna salad on a toasted English muffin.
If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!