#peace

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.

Angry, Stressed, Frustrated? Here’s A Simple Exercise To Quickly Return To Joy

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Nicole LeBris Creative

I was recently disappointed by a work situation that left me feeling unappreciated, annoyed, frustrated, stressed about money and all around pissed off. I know I’m not alone in these feelings. Who hasn’t felt this way at one time or another?

It’s part of the human condition, but so is the choice to do something about our pain, work through it and come out of the situation wiser, stronger and happier.

I have learned the hard way (through traumas and tragedy) that life is extremely precious and too short to spend it suffering. That’s not why we are here on Earth. When I am feeling out of alignment now, (stuck in anger, frustration and feeling irritable), I allow myself to feel those feeling deeply (no self-medicating with food, alcohol or shopping, or numbing myself out with mindless reality television).

It is vital that we let ourselves feel our feelings first, otherwise the pain will just resurface at a later date with a vengeance, negatively affecting our careers, relationships and health. I know, I used to suppress my feelings in the name of “put on a happy face” and “suck it up.”

When I give myself sufficient time to work through whatever painful emotions come up for me, I then remind myself to return to gratitude as quickly as possible.

Even when we are in a really dark place, we can be grateful just to be alive, have a place to live, food on the table, clean clothes, friends and family who love us and fancy gadgets to read blogs like this on. We certainly have it pretty darn good!

But when we are deep in our sadness and anger, these luxuries we are afforded don’t seem to be enough at times.

That’s when we have to turn to a greater power, ask for help, physically stop and take a moment to come back home to ourselves. If you are saying to yourself, “I don’t have time for that,” then you are in desperate need of your own undivided attention, unconditional love and care. I recommend making your health and happiness a priority like you would a newborn baby. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your children, significant other, best friend or all those less fortunate than us.

When we raise our vibration, we raise the vibration of the world, and the world could certainly use our radiance right now!

One of my favorite exercises to stop suffering in its tracks is from life coach extraordinaire and best-selling author Tony Robbins.

When you’re ready, find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes and place your hands on your heart. Breathe into your heart. Notice how powerful and beautiful it feels. Focus for a moment on that strength and beauty. Feel appreciation.

Now think of the situation that is causing you pain, suffering, frustration or grief. For example, “I’m frustrated these jobs keep getting cancelled, and I don’t have more money in the bank right now to grow my business and live the lifestyle I desire without getting into debt.” Be specific.

Keep feeling your heart and listen carefully to it. What is it trying to tell you in this moment?

With your eyes still closed and connecting to the power of your heart and mind, pay attention to what comes up for you. Then ask yourself:

In this situation, all I need to remember is: (I’m safe, for example)

All I need to do is: (Trust)

All I need to focus on is: (Doing my best.)

Take as long as you need. There are no right or wrong answers. The important thing is to simply let yourself feel and be open to the truth pouring from your heart/Higher Self. For me, the truth is that I am safe, and all I need to do is trust and focus on doing my best.

Many of us spend our lives overstimulated and exhausted just trying to keep up to survive. That could mean we forget to return to our breath, slow down and listen to our inner knowing. Our heart always knows the answer. We just have to give it the time and space to speak our truth to us.

I find this exercise to be a quick and powerful way to end our suffering around whatever situation is making us feel out of sorts. It is free, relaxing, takes just minutes and can be done again and again with any situation to help transform our lives.

When we are in gratitude, we cannot also be in fear or anger. Choose wisely!

I also love this exercise because it’s a great reminder that we are 100% responsible for our life experiences. What an empowered place to live from! Certainly setbacks and disappointments, trauma and tragedy can and will arise, but we don’t have to stay stuck in a low-vibe state of despair. Our hearts and minds want to work together to bring us a fulfilling, joyful life that lights us up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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