Lauren Winner’s Anxiety

All week, I’ll be posting about Lauren Winner’s new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. I’m doing so because I think it’s an important book, and I hope that you all read it.

In the final months of my marriage, I went to my physician and told him that I was feeling foggy, that I couldn’t concentrate, and that I worried constantly. He prescribed me Wellbutrin for depression, and I took that medication for just shy of two years.

Lauren suffers from anxiety, about which she writes about hilariously. Really, her anxiety is horrible for her, but it’s a treat for her readers because of how she approaches it.

During her divorce, however, it was getting the better of her, so she went to see her doctor:

I loved Paxil. It made the anxiety evaporate. Also — in combination with enough alcohol or sleeping pills I had swiped from my dead mother’s top dresser drawer and doled out sparingly to my insomniac self — the Paxil produced lovely hallucinations, as the night when I thought that three princesses dressed in white gowns and white pointy hats had joined my husband and me in bed.

But she put on twenty pounds (not a side effect of Wellbutrin, thankfully), and she told her doctor that the weight gain was not helping her depression or her anxiety. Coming off of Paxil left Lauren “feeling that my skull had been put in a juicer.” Not so for me.

Instead of more pharmaceuticals, Lauren took on a challenge from a friend to give up anxiety for Lent. Not a bad prescription, as it turns out.

It may seem pro forma to write about being on an anti-depressant these days, but I am again grateful that Lauren took on this subject with winsomeness and honesty.

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  • Thanks for posting. I have Lauren’s book on my “to buy” list. I, too, suffered from depression – after burnout from ministry, seminary, and failed relationships. I ended up on Effexor and put on a ton of weight. Tried to come off a few times and I totally understand the “skull in the juicer” description. Finally came off cold turkey a year and a half ago after another medical issue kept me from taking the meds. Over the past 18 months, I’ve been getting “me” back – someone I thought I had lost forever. So grateful to be out of the fog.