How to Cope with Anxiety and Depression?

Updated on April 23, 2013
D.C. asks from Jamaica, NY
14 answers

I have been under a lot of pressure lately as I came back to work after 2 years of being a stay at home mom. I have a 2 years old toddler who I have to care for and also my relationship with my husband has been very tensioned lately (he even is violent somethimes). It all started with some episode of light dizziness, nausea and a general law mood. I went to see a lot of doctors but they didn't find anything wrong. So, one of the doctors said that all theses sympthoms are stress related and that I need to see a psychiatrist. I went to see a psychiatrist and he said that I had general anxiety and depression and prescrinbed me 0.25 of xanax two times a day and an antidepressant (serlift) once a day. It is the first time in my life that I take these meds and I am even more anxious because I don't know how will I ever be able to function without them. Is there anyone else in this situation? Can we beat anxiety and depression? I don't want to be addicted to meds all my life. It would be such a relief if I knew that this can be defeated! I want my life I am only scared to be left alone with my thoughts because I am afraid I will loose my mind. I cannot concentrate very well and I am afraid that my coleagues from work will notice that something is wrong with me. I am on the second day of treatment and I'm feeling better but I still worry:( I am a little bit sleepy (I guess it's from the antidepressant) but no other side effect until now. No one from my family had these problems in the past...I am the first one, so it is a little hard for them to understand my situation. I am so upset that I need meds to make me feel alive again! I wished I was stronger, happier! Will I be able to have my life back without any meds? Beacuse now I feel hopeless, lost and stupid worries are hauting me (they are releated to my health, I am afriad I mihght have a deadly desesase and now I am afraid that I will go mad). If there is someone else there who experinced this, please let me know how and if you overcame this. It will bring a shred of light in my live. Thank you!

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answers from Dallas on

The bigger question is not "will I become addicted to medication I need now to cope with the major stresses in my life." It is "why am I staying with a violent man?"

Of course you are anxious and depressed, your husband is abusive. You need to talk to a counselor and find out how to deal with this. You need to talk to a women's shelter and find out how to deal with this.

Please, for the sake of your child, deal with the PROBLEM, which is not your meds, it is your situation. If you don't change the situation, then you will not change your feelings. If you stay with an abusive person, you will stay anxious and depressed.

Please, stop blaming yourself for feelings that actually make sense. Get some help, and if your husband won't see that he is abusive and won't get help, the you get you and your baby out.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have a feeling that if you left your emotionally abusive and sometimes physically violent husband that your state of depression and anxiety will be greatly reduced.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

There are other ways to cure depression and anxiety. If you can find a good therapist that works with cognitive/behavioral techniques you can learn to become aware of you thoughts, question them, and then see things differently. Also, if you are in an abusive relationship there are things you need to learn and understand about why you have attracted that type of a relationship and what keeps you in that relationship.

A really good book is "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. A couple more books are " Boundaries: Where you end and I begin" by Anne Katherine, "Fearless Living" by Rhonda Britten, and "The Art of Extreme Self-Care" by Cheryl Richardson.

A great resource is This is the website of Byron Katie and she has lots of free audios and videos and all of her worksheets are free as well. She helps you to question your belief systems.

You may also need to find your local women's shelter so you can get some counseling and advice on how to get out of an abusive relationship. They will have information about therapists, shelter, and the legalities involved. They can help you evaluate your level of danger and create a plan if necessary.

I can tell you, from my own experience, that you can be completely cured from your depression and anxiety. I tried many different meds and none of them helped. Eventually I turned to therapies that supported me in understanding my childhood woundings, knowing what boundaries are, learning new ways of communicating, becoming aware of and questioning my irrational core beliefs, and receiving permission to care for myself. And, most important of all, I learned how to feel all of my feelings and express them appropriately. I learned that suppressed anger was at the heart of my depression and as I released that anger in a safe manner, my depression left. So, be kind and gentle to yourself, reach out for help, and be willing to do what is best for you and your child.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

1. You are not an addict, to this medication or anything else.

2. Anxiety does go away after you work on your issues and have those light bulb moments where you suddenly realize what is triggering the attacks. It's rather like "OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!! I didn't realize I was doing this!".

3. Life will return to a somewhat normal existence. You will have some things that you just won't want to do anymore and that's okay. Sometimes life changes and we become different.

I don't stand on the stage and perform anymore. Okay, I miss occasionally but it's not something that I did for a paycheck or for any real reason where it was needed. I do still perform in a group every now and then BUT I stand where I can leave at any time. When we sing at a place I have the door close to me or an isle or the exit from the stage. I don't perform by myself so if I walk off it makes no difference to the performance.

Heavy traffic wigs me out. I have gotten out of the habit of driving in it, now all I can think about when I am in a traffic jam is that I'm trapped and can't get out...I can get out just fine, it would just be embarrassing to get out of the car and walk away.

My life changed due to anxiety and panic attacks. For a very long time I was totally terrified to be alone, to be stuck in traffic even at a stop light if I wasn't the first one on the right where I could make a right turn on red to get out if I wanted too. I was not able to sit in meetings if I was not right by the door. I could not go to a new place without a ton of anticipatory anxiety wondering where I'd be sitting, where the exits would be, what about the doors and windows, I'd have nightmares for days. I stopped going to new places for events unless I could go early and walk through them before I made plans to go.

There was a church in a town that I occasionally visited when we were in that town for the day. The classroom that we went to for a ladies meeting had the speaker on the wall where the door was. That's the wall they put the chalkboard on. The class basically sat and faced the exits with space for the teacher and the desk before you reached the door. This was very traumatic for me. I could not stand to go and sit there wondering if I'd have an anxiety attack and need to leave. I'd sit and squirm the whole time I was there, worrying about what if, I couldn't even tell you what the topic of the lesson was or if anyone even gave the lesson because I could not pay attention to anything except that the door was over there and I was over here, maybe 6 feet away....seriously, this is how bad my anxiety was.

I did not take a daily med for my anxiety. I carried Klonopin with me at all times and if I felt too out of control I would take a half or a whole pill. Sometimes at the end of a whole year I would still have a whole bottle. It was my "lucky rabbits foot" as my psychiatrist called it. She told me that because I had the med I could talk myself into coping because if it got too bad I could take the pill. So it never got too bad for me to handle.

I don't do this anymore. I function in almost every facet of my life in a normal way now. I do have some anticipatory anxiety still in certain areas but it's like a normal person could have. Not the way out of proportion that I had been living with.

So I KNOW it can get better. But you need to find out what triggered this. YOU need to work on the issues and once you have that insight you'll be able to start that movement forward. I KNOW this will happen for you. You won't be on anxiety meds forever. Your body won't need them after a while.

As for the antidepressants, you could be on those the rest of your life if you have a biological issue where you need them. You could have been doing coping skills with the depression and not realized you needed them. I hope you'll continue working with a therapist so you can get to the bottom of this and get through this. It can take a couple of years to get back to normal.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If you were a diabetic would you worry that you needed insulin for your body to function well? I see mental health in the same light - it is a chemical that is missing in your brain that you need to supplement.
It is possible to change your outlook and understanding and even brain patterns with therapy so you no longer need medicine.
It sounds like they put you on too many meds at once and one of them may be having these adverse effects of actually increasing your anxiety.
My daughter has the same diagnosis and tried 2 meds before the 3rd worked. The first (Zoloft) gave her horrible anxiety attacks (raking her face with her nails and rocking and sobbing) so we stopped that immediately. The second (Prozac) gave her insomnia - total inability to fall asleep for which they prescribed a sleep medicine since it did make her happy. But even with sleep meds she barely slept. The third (Lexapro) seems to work. But what does not work for one works wonders for another, so don't think the same meds would work for you. It is trial and error. BUT all those were tried at a sub-clinical level first, i.e. a very low dose to gauge her body's reaction. The third has been increased to clinical levels that actually help her depression and anxiety.
For that reason you should be in frequent touch with the psychiatrist when you start meds or change dosage. I also believe that together with medicine you should probably also see a psychologist to talk through your issues on a more frequent basis.
But if I were you I would immediately call my doctor and explain your feelings and that you might need a single different medicine to start, some guidance along the way to be able to judge whether they are helpful or making your symptoms worse, and a referral to a psychologist.
Wishing you the best.

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answers from Austin on

Much of this is what they often call "situational depression" or "situational anxiety" .... it is our body's response to the current situation.

Several times I've been on medications for anxiety and depression, and after a while, using both the medication and therapy, I was able to get off the medication.

I've been off the medications for over 10 years now..... things do get better!

And yes... sometimes the stress of raising children (we have 4 kids, and my anxiety and depression were probably related to those stresses) can put you into this type of need.

Stay strong... and realize that asking for help via medication or therapy doesn't mean that you are weak.... in fact, it shows how strong you really ARE for recognizing that you occasionally need help from someone else.

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answers from Redding on

Don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like you need the medications.
Trust me, they don't work right away and they will make you feel a little wonky in the beginning. It takes about a week to start feeling like you have your feet on the ground.

If you feel SERIOUSLY bad on the meds, you need to contact the doctor right away.

My blood pressure medication has had to be changed several times and I always feel a bit strange for the first week or two. The doctor said it's pretty normal and they monitor me regularly.

I don't take antidepressants, but I do take anti-anxiety meds that I will probably take for the rest of my life in combination with a seizure medication that helps with post herpatic neuralgia, which is the pain that never goes away after having a serious case of shingles. The anxiety medication is to help keep me from getting stressed to the point that I am in danger of another shingles outbreak.

I'm not ashamed of taking these medications. I had shingles so bad when I was pregnant with my son that it almost killed both of us.

Can you beat anxiety and depression? Yes, it's possible.
Counseling can really help.

There is also something called "situational anxiety and depression" that happens after a traumatic event such as a death in the family, a divorce or other major life change. These are usually things you can learn to finally work through and no longer need the help of the medications to get through.

You know, walking really helps. When I've had a super stressful day, I walk it off. It makes me feel so much better. It can be good for depression too because walking releases wonderful chemicals in our bodies that make us feel lifted.

Sometimes we can't change our situations, but we can change how we deal with them and if you need a little medicinal help to do that, don't let yourself get freaked out about it.

Work on finding ways to relax, meditate, pray, whatever you want to call it.
Counseling might help give you some tools.
You may not need these medications forever or even for very long so don't focus on that part. Just focus on feeling better.

Best wishes.

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answers from New York on

Hi D.,

I totally feel for you. You are definitely not alone! I have been on an off medications for about ten years. Like you, certain life situations can create a period when I do need meds. I just went back on zoloft (sertiline) and klonopin as needed. I really should have started this after I had my two year old since I think I do get postpartum anxiety and it just spirals. Also, like you marriage was touch and go for a while. I have very bad health anxiety. I always think that either my children or myself have a terrible disease. Like a cold must be cancer. It is really torture and not fair o myself or anyone around me. I decided to start therapy recently. Not a fan so I am going to find someone that does cognitive behavior therapy. Also many psychiatrists in my area do not take insurance. If you have a teaching hospital by you, then they often take the insurance. When I first start back on meds, i often get more anxious which can be a side effect of the SSRIs. Don't worry about this. It is normal, but a little uncomfortable. Yes, you may feel like you are losing your mind. You are not! You are hyper aware of everything right now, which comes with anxiety. You will stat to be paranoid, like you said, that other people will notice. When this happens to me, I even start to slur my words a little. This disappears when i'm on meds. For example, if i had to give a presentation off meds, my heart would race and I would. On meds, this does not happen to me. Thats a just a very small benefit. Some of us do have a genuine chemical imbalance and it is ok to take meds. Will you be on them forever, most likely not with the right therapy and life changes. You are probably predisposed to anxiety and what has been occurring in your life has heightened this past the point of normal and has overflowed causing these symptoms. It is very tough. You will get through this. You must live in constant fear that your husband will be set off. That is something I hate to advise on bc every situation is different, but that alone is so stress inducing, especially with a child. This is something you need to share though w a specialist, or your doctor or even family. I will be thinking of you, bc i really do think your situation can and will improve. Trust me about thinking you have a deadly disease! I think I've had them all! This IS anxiety. It is smart! I now have muscle twitches and tingling. Uggg!

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answers from Chicago on

Exercise and diet are as effective as the medicine you have been put on. Check out the book the chemistry of joy.

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answers from Detroit on

a good friends dr put her on antidepressents for a while.. I think he said 4-6 months to "reboot" the brain.. they are not a drug you take for a week and they are not necessarily the kind of drug you take forever. no you will not feel better in a day or 2.. but from your post you need the drugs..

schedule a session with a psychologist to get some therapy too.

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answers from New York on

you can and will get through this! IN 2007 I had a miscarriage in July, the dog died in August, my 1 child was having a hard time in SSeptember with school, my brother had a motorcyclcle accident in October that was life threatning and on Christmas day the horse died. To say that by January I was a wreck is an unnderstatement. i went on meds for depression and started counseling and I was able to regain my life by summer. Please get a GOOD counselor that you feel comfortable with, keep in close contact with all your doctors and BE HONEST as to how you really feel. Remember to always tell them the truth and not what you think they want to hear. Even if it is "shocking, rude or aweful" in your mind tell them!!! You can't make any progress or even get the right meds or doses if you are not honest. You can do it and will but don't expect it to happen overnight! It is a cross country race not a sprint! You need to do it for yourself and your 2 year old will benefit. Also don't be afraid to get your family involved and if you need help call someone and get the help right away!!! You are strong enough to do this!!!! Go for it!!!

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answers from Binghamton on

Exercise. I know it is hard to find the time, but even a little helps a lot. Not a cure-all, of course, but try and make it part of your daily routine.
Also, if you have any other symptoms of a thyroid problem, get that checked out. Many women suffer from hypothyroidism, which can increase depression and anxiety. Your TSH should be below 3.


answers from Washington DC on

yes, you can beat anxiety and depression.
no, you don't (necessarily) have to stay on meds for the rest of your life. but you may need them for a space to allow yourself to feel what it's like NOT to be anxious and depressed.
clearly they're not doing this for you. and since you're in a relationship with a small child and an abusive husband, it makes sense. the meds aren't supposed to turn you into a zombie, and you'd have to be seriously brain-dead to feel happy and safe when you are living with a vulnerable toddler in a dangerous situation.
i suspect that when you leave the explosive husband and aren't living with a ticking time bomb, the anxiety and depression will take care of themselves.
best of luck to you, my dear. i pray you find the strength to do the right thing.



answers from Los Angeles on

Find good friends to hang with. Join Meetup groups... Join a church. In other words, find friendship circles.

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