Do you want to know what’s hugely alarming to me in today’s day and age?
SSRI’s being increasingly prescribed for a variety of conditions such as:
- Skin complaints
- Weight loss
- Attention deficit disorders, which I was a first-hand victim of before GAD and panic attacks took over my life.
At the lowest point in my life, my body was so chemically charged I found myself wanting to try a more natural path to conquering my anxiety disorder, even though my doctor at the time seemed set in his ways of “curing” me with pills. Athletes have different nutritional needs than non-athletes so I had to really work on cleaning up and adding much needed vitamins and minerals that my busy body was asking for.
Iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc as well as a good multivitamin were all necessary for my hectic tennis training days. Also a good B complex vitamin taken with food can help support neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for stress management, and have worked well along with the new changes in my day to day life.
Herbs are also some good ways to fight mild to moderate anxiety levels.
Unfortunately my anxiety levels were so high that herbs didn’t do much for me, but they are definitely worth experimenting with. Kava Kava is a fast acting de-stressor that also acts as a joint pain reliever. Valerian Root is a good remedy for moderate anxiety and can be used to treat nervousness, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Finally, Chamomile, which is best used in tea form and is great for its calming influence on the mind, especially for people who have trouble sleeping.
The days of being a pill addict
It’s amazing what my vitamin cabinet looked like after a while, I was a pill addict and there was no stopping me either. What had I become? How much money had I wasted on all of that stuff? It was sad to see, but in my mind I knew the instant cure for my anxiety disorder was out there and unless I tried it all I wouldn’t be able to find it. But any kind of pill, whether they are herbs or medicines, should never be thought of as a replacement for changing the daily habits that are creating negative experiences in your mental and physical well-being. In fact, the best thing anyone did for me in my search for a cure in pill form was what my best friend Mike did one day when I invited him over for a movie night.
Everyone needs a Mike in their lives…
Mike and I had known each other for just over ten years, and he has been there for me whenever I needed him. He was one of a handful of people I could possibly open up to that would understand what I was going through, but I didn’t. I kept my issues with anxiety and panic away from my closest friends and family. The day that Mike came over, he was frustrated that I was drinking tea rather than sharing a beer with him. He had also noticed the lack of motivation and joy I had showed over the past few months, which of course was dragging him down as well. As he left the living room to grab another beer, he noticed my cabinet full of vitamins, herbs, prescriptions, and more. He started asking questions about them, and I started to explain to him what I had been going through. At that point, Mike grabbed a large garbage bag and dumped everything in the cabinet into it.
“What the hell are you doing” I yelled at him, I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing, I was speechless.
Mike was an upfront guy and someone I always looked up to because of his outgoing personality that people were attracted to. He was someone who made you feel good and you wanted to be around him. He said to me that from that day on I was allowed only one herbal and one vitamin supplement. He was a physiotherapist and was actually quite knowledgeable about anxiety disorders for some reason and had a decent idea of what was best for me, so he recommended a B complex combined with Kava-Kava and that was it. I was grateful to Mike for keeping it simple, and was glad I had someone who I could turn to if I needed and it felt great.
What’s the real relationship between genetics and an anxiety disorder?
The genetic aspect of GAD, Panic Disorder, and Depression is something to be aware of. My dad, who had this unrelenting tennis dream for me, also suffered from the same things I did but to a lesser degree. His triggers were anything related to my development as a tennis player. He would chew gum frantically while I practiced and played matches. I could tell he had a very difficult time letting go of my development and let a real tennis coach take over to further my improvement in the sport.
I believe genetics play a role in our anxiety as well as any childhood trauma we’ve encountered, but that doesn’t mean we need to mask our symptoms with pills and remedies marketed to cure us. But who am I to tell you what type of pill works and what doesn’t? What it comes down to is the individual – this is the single biggest reason some people recover more quickly than others.
It’s mostly due to the mind being convinced that this thing you are taking or what you are doing in your life that is new and exciting will lead to your full recovery, and so it does.
Just like in my past being in a rut going from doctor to doctor and from one website to the other, in that cycle of panic and anxiety, not really sticking to anything for a long enough time to develop confidence in that new habit. It was really important to me not to judge my progress from one day to the next. Realising first that I was in this for the long run and looking forward with confidence was a must. Setbacks will occur as you continue on to your path to full recovery from an anxiety disorder, so take a second and take a longer look at your own cabinet if in fact you were addicted the way I was.