I Quit Taking Antidepressants For Good, And Have Never Felt Happier

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When I was 29 years old, I went to see a new doctor for my yearly exam. At the time, I was working as a TV news reporter, and my doctor immediately recognized me from the crime-filled, disturbing stories I had been covering.

He also noted that I seemed on edge as I sat in his office that day. His comments on my demeanor made me feel like there was something wrong with me, like working long days interviewing grieving parents about the murders of their children shouldn’t overwhelm me.

“That is stressful,” I said. “Isn’t it appropriate I am stressed?”

Was this doctor really suggesting that something was wrong with just me because I wasn’t desensitized to the horrific events that surrounded me? Did I really need medication to make myself numb to my surroundings?

“You’re a strong, brilliant career woman. You can’t be crying at work,” I remember him saying to me.

At the time, I was so desperate to feel “normal” and not cry almost every day driving home from work because I was so exhausted and overworked. I walked out of his office that day with a prescription for Lexapro—a drug used to treat anxiety and major depressive disorder. In a 10-minute consultation, I became part of the statistic on the overmedication of Americans, and looking back on that is terrifying.

As I look back on that day in the doctor’s office, I want to pull my 29-year-old self aside and hug her.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that antidepressant use has skyrocketed over the last two decades, up nearly 400 percent. Statistics show that one in 10 Americans now take antidepressant medication. Among women in their 40s and 50s, the figure is one in four.

Yet 69 percent of people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the primary type of antidepressants, have never suffered from major depressive disorder (MDD). Even more shocking, 38 percent have never in their lifetime met the criteria for MDD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder yet still take the pills that treat them.

I thought that the medication would take the edge off of my life’s uncertainties.

I stayed on Lexapro for several years—even after I left the TV news business. I was changing careers, moving, breaking up with a serious boyfriend, and I thought that the medication would take the edge off of my life’s uncertainties.

It wasn’t until I attended a lecture by best-selling author Marianne Williamson that I had my wake-up call. I listened as Marianne talked about her latest book, Tears to Triumph, and about how moving “with the edge” is our life’s work, spiritually speaking. The edge is made up of those sleepless nights, those cries, those uncomfortable conversations.

She told me that heartbreak is nothing new. Has anyone not had his or her heart broken? Has anyone not suffered a professional failure? Has anyone not experienced the loss of a loved one?

These things may be painful, but they are not mental illness. As I look back on that day in the doctor’s office, I want to pull my 29-year-old self aside and hug her. I want to tell her, “You don’t need an antidepressant; you need to find a new station to work for, a new boss, job, a new career. You need to sit in meditation 20 minutes a day, twice a day, reconnect with your spirit, and pray. You need to surrender your life to a higher power, eat healthier food, rest, connect with your friends and family in a meaningful way.”

I’m not saying that anyone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness should give up their medications cold turkey, or at all.

It’s been several months since I weaned myself off Lexapro with the guidance of my doctor, and I feel like myself again. I have 100 times more energy. I am clear. I am joyful and alive. That lethargic dark cloud that used to follow me everywhere I went has lifted.

Since becoming more conscious and awake, I’ve discovered that our society seems to promote self-medicating and numbing ourselves out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said and heard, “I need a drink.” I’ve rarely heard, “Let’s pray. Time to meditate. I need to feel my feelings so I can release this pain once and for all.”

I am in no way saying that my story holds true for everyone. I’m not saying that anyone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness should give up their medications cold turkey, or at all. I’m simply suggesting that we all take a deeper look into our choices, do our research, ask our health care providers and drug companies tough questions, and explore our options for treating anxiety and depression.

Feeling sad, out of sorts, anxious, or depressed at times is part of what it means to be human. My hope is that anyone who reads this will at least consider looking into other forms of relief. Your brain and heart will thank you.

Attracting Abundance Into Your Life: Simple Steps To Feel More Successful

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When most of us think of abundance, we think of money. But I think abundance can mean different things to different people. For some, abundance means time, connection, support, creativity, confidence.

Whatever abundance means to you, I’ve learned that abundance is always coming to us, it is always present like the sun, it’s just that sometimes we don’t see it because it is blocked by clouds. We create clouds/blocks to abundance with our fear, insecurities and guilt.

Maybe we think we aren’t worthy of financial freedom, or having enough time to care for ourselves. Maybe we feel guilty for having “too much.”

For me, the key to attracting abundance is to recognize all the ways in which we block it from flowing freely into our lives. It is our choice whether we accept or deny the gifts that are continuously coming to us.

I’ve found that when my work and desires are in the service of others, (to share my own unique gifts and talents in the form of creativity, time, money, resources, ideas, love with the world), I am given everything I need—money, time, creativity, confidence.

Abundance is simply stepping out of our own way, releasing resistance, being grateful for what we already have and open to receiving more.

It’s not about receiving more money so I can have more material “stuff”, it’s about being given plenty of resources so I don’t have to stress about having enough time and money, for example, while I’m busy trying to help others through my work.

I’ll give you an example. I was stuck in some fearful thinking when I recently lost several modeling clients. I was in a constant state of frustration, sometimes even anger, because I was losing clients for such ridiculous reasons: One client turned me into a computer-generated image of myself, and never hired me again as a way to cut costs. Yes, a computer mannequin version of myself took my job.

Another client decided they didn’t want to work with my agency anymore. One client decided to start shooting on much smaller models. I was dropped. All in all, I lost nearly all of my main clients and the majority of my income for reasons that had nothing to do with me or my performance. Initially, I dealt with it by panicking. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me, and I wondered how I was going to pay my bills some months. I didn’t realize my fear and insecurities were blocking me from receiving abundance.

So how did I get out of my own way?

I surrendered. I asked my Higher Self/God/Spirit/Universe for help. I prayed and then sat in meditation daily (which I still do), asking for divine guidance, asking how I could serve my life purpose.

The answer I received was that I have a much bigger purpose than modeling. That career has taught me what I needed to learn, and now it is time to move on. The lessons I have learned through my triumphs, traumas and tragedies have given me the gifts I need to help others heal through writing, speaking and sharing my truth.

I have been guided to read certain books, take courses, go back to school and connect with other like-minded individuals, many of whom have asked me to collaborate on work projects with them. When I finally let go of modeling being my main source of income, and became open to other opportunities, which serve the highest good for all, I received phone calls, emails and met CEOs who offered me exciting, new employment opportunities that not surprisingly help others.

Even a woman who worked for the client who turned me into a computer-generated image of myself contacted me, asking to feature my work for the new wellness magazine she works for.

Now, instead of freaking out, asking why all my clients and money were disappearing, I say, “Thank you.” I know something bigger and better is taking its place.

I ask the Universe to use me as a role model for peace, love and compassion. Instead of feeling guilty or selfish for receiving, I reframe abundance as the more we allow ourselves to receive, the more we can share with others as we are all connected.

Here are some simple steps you can take to call more abundance into your life:

Trust.

My mantra is, “I trust that the Universe is supporting me abundantly.”

Be in the feeling of abundance.

Allow yourself to sit quietly, and feel the feelings of being financially free and secure. What does that feel like?

How does it feel to have plenty of time for you to get your needs met?

How does it feel to have an abundance of love and relationships that light you and make you feel honored, respected and supported?

Give yourself the time and space to take in all of that abundance. It may be helpful to write about it in your journal to refer back to.

Be grateful for what you already have.

I’ve found that when I am thankful for all the ways in which I am already abundant, I easily attract more of it into my life. A simple prayer is, “Thank you.”

Change your story.

Instead of, “I am not enough and don’t have enough,” lead with, “I am already abundant.”

Strengthen your faith.

Recognize that you can’t create the life of your dreams all on your own. Ask for guidance and support from a higher power or whatever you believe in. Be open, and unattached from how you will get what you desire.

Release fear and resistance.

Engage with the world from a loving, rather than fearful place. Ask your higher power to remove all obstacles to abundance.

Say a prayer.

Dear God/Spirit/Universe,

Please help me to receive everything I need for my divine life purpose. Show me the way one step at a time how I can make the world a better place, and how I can be more at peace.

Mediate and ask for Divine guidance.

Envision what you desire in the here and now, not down the road, otherwise it will always allude you. Create the space for receiving abundance in all ways. You can say it out loud or write in your journal the following:

I deserve to receive good as much as anyone.

It is safe for me to receive abundance now.

I open my arms to receive it.

I will be guided and given enough energy to follow through on that guidance.

I accept the support that is offered to me.

Wishing you an abundance of abundance in all areas of your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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