11/10/2014 06:36 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Should I Go Au Naturale (With My Medication)?

Lately, I've been pondering the notion of switching my antidepressant medication. I can't tell if mine is effective at all, since my OCD and anxiety have worsened. I can't tell if they've raged out of control due to my meds not being all that effective or if these disorders simply get worse as I get older.

I have noticed that as I have gotten older, my worries have increased. I'm way too aware of the world now, and it's all-consuming. I worry about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING to the point of not being able to breathe. I perseverate on thoughts in my brain and can't let them go. It's become crippling lately, wasting so much of my time and energy. My husband has noticed me staring off into space constantly and tries to snap me out of it; I never thought I would get to the point where my mood disorders became visually noticeable. It's not okay. I'm not okay.

All this being said, I do everything that's in my power to assuage my current condition. I work out, I eat well, (for the most part; sometimes my period makes me do things), I've had CBT therapy (although, I'd really like to go back; unfortunately, my bank account isn't going to allow that for now), I use essential oils and candles, I practice self-care, etc. Despite all of this, my OCD is becoming more and more stubborn. Therefore, I must turn to my medication as a possible culprit; is it no longer effective?

I must admit that, for the most part, my depression seems pretty under control, but that's a temperamental beast that can change its mind at the drop of a hat. What if I were to switch meds and have an even harder time? What if my condition became even worse? What if there are heinous side effects? These concerns have me thinking that maybe I should try an all-natural route.


I know some of you are rolling your eyes, and I would have too only a few months ago. I've known for years that my brain has a chemical imbalance, so I've always thought I've needed chemicals to balance it. However, during the past few months, I've started branching out trying various supplements, and they've actually helped me with certain issues.

For instance, I've been using melatonin instead of a PM drug to go to sleep at night, and to my pleasant surprise, it's actually helped me fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up without feeling hungover. I started taking magnesium upon recommendations from several of my friends who also have an anxiety disorder. I had heard that it helped most before and during menstrual cycles when things go even more mentally and emotionally haywire. What I heard was accurate. I still don't have a great time before and during menstruation, but it's improved. My cravings have decreased, my impulses have lessened, and I have more energy. I also noticed that I feel stronger in general.

A couple of years ago, I had some blood work done because my energy was so low that I felt faint. The blood work indicated that I was deficient in B-12 and had to get monthly injections of it for six months. Now, I take a B-12 vitamin daily, and looking back, I now realize that those nearly-passing-out episodes have ceased to exist ever since I began ingesting B-12. Additionally, I was told by a couple of teacher friends to take zinc tablets any time I felt a cold coming on, and sure as sh*t, they've been effective as well.

Clearly, I've had success with supplements for various ailments, which makes me think that there's hope for success in dealing with my OCD and anxiety. I was told by an OCD pal of mine that one of the most helpful things she had ever tried was 5-HTP, a natural mood enhancer. I do feel trepidation trying it, since I need to ween off of my current medication to do so. Yet, I can't ignore my prior success with other natural remedies. I'm not saying natural is for everyone; everyone's body chemistry is different. What I am saying though, is that if natural has worked for me in the past, maybe it will work for me again.

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.