August 8, 2014
A week ago, I started taking gabapentin as an anti-anxiety. The first time taking this medication, it started working within 24 hours. The first few nights, I slept well and through the night. I had no grogginess after waking up and was more alert during the day. Is this my wonder drug?
As the days go by taking this anti-anxiety medication, the more I think that the basis for all mental illness is anxiety.
I took a capsule this morning before leaving the house. I had a good, productive day and felt happy for most of it. At 4 in the afternoon, I realized I hadn’t taken my second dose yet. Within 3 hours of the time I should have taken it, I was on the phone with a loved one yelling.
I felt unhappy and fatalistic. I was ready to dump my friend. I was out of my mind. After hanging up, my mind stewed in its unhappiness. I had started feeling irritable an hour or two before. Why I allowed the escalation of the anxiety is beyond comprehension.
Gabapentin started working again within a few hours.
Gabapentin as an anti-anxiety is an off-label use. I learned this from my closest friend, a lawyer. As much as it has helped over the last several weeks, I’m realizing that the reason the Internet says little about its use as an anti-anxiety is because its creator, Neurontin, has never gone through testing it as an anti-anxiety.
Since a brother of mine, who used to suffer from seizures, took it for a few years without problems I will continue to take it. It helps too much to stop.
Two days ago I had a breakthrough.
Gabapentin has successfully reduced my anxiety to the point where I have been unafraid to leave home. I have also been more motivated to do things like attend live performances, engage in projects at home, and face my bills without hesitation.
Another benefit for me is that as it wears off, I am able to feel what is happening emotionally. For years, I was numb to my feelings. I could not tell the difference between fear, anger, or sadness; and little made me happy. As the medication wears off, I am more attuned to emotional changes and identifying triggers. Knowing emotional triggers is the key to practicing Sensory Emotional Regulation. Without trigger identification, this somatic process may not heal permanently.
Often, I forget to take a dose. Usually I forget because I’m at work, focused on some task. The last time I forgot, two days ago, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and immediately started feeling anxiety. I found a trigger. As soon as I could find a place to sit down, I closed my eyes and found my chest getting tight, hyperventilating, and tightness in my mouth and neck.
It has only been two days. But since then, I have refrained from taking my meds during the day to see if the anxiety would come back. So far it hasn’t. And I’ve been able to step out onto the sidewalk without any reaction.
I took a dose at night to help me sleep, but this morning, I woke up feeling down. I didn’t want to get up. There are some personal factors that could be causing some sadness, but not enough to make me not want to get up. I’m concerned that the medication might not be working for me anymore. The doctor warned that if I started feeling depression to stop taking it. I guess today I will stop.
Since discovering that anxiety had set in every time I stepped outside and applying the somatic technique, is it possible the anxiety has healed?