So I had an unusual thing happen to me this week.
Backstory: I’ve had some form of anxiety my entire life. When I was a child I experienced regular panic attacks, which sucked. As I got older, I learned to work through some of those anxious feelings before they turned into a full blown attack, and eventually they more or less faded away (which did not suck). I spent probably a decade or so without any real anxiety interference in my day to day life. And then I had children.
I never knew that Post-Partum Anxiety was a thing (it seems they could have at least mentioned it during my rigorous screenings for PPD at every baby checkup), but once I found out about it, I realized I likely had suffered with it after each pregnancy, including (or, perhaps better stated, especially) the most recent one which ended early in a miscarriage. I had already suspected before this point that my anxiety was largely to blame on my hormonal fluctuations, and with this new information that theory made even more sense.
Present day: As earlier posts have probably already alerted you, I like to find as many natural solutions to such problems as possible. Please don’t take this as some anti-medicine/doctor rant. I have a lot of respect for the medical profession and all of the wonderful advances in that field which have made our lives easier and better in many respects. I do, however, view medicine as something not to be taken lightly or when there are other options yet to be explored. I also believe mental health is something to take seriously and that each individual should take the right steps to deal with such issues in their own circumstances. I’m not telling anyone else what to do with their anxiety, just what I’m doing with mine.
Essential oils were the first stop on my journey to dealing with my anxiety, and while they are still very much part of my life, the road didn’t end there. More research and more experience has led me to other aspects of my life that can be fine tuned to manage my anxiety in the best possible way. One of these is the food I eat (I spent about a year caffeine free only to discover that while excessive caffeine certainly didn’t help my anxiety, sugar was more of a culprit). Another is to take B vitamins regularly. The B vitamin spectrum is part of what helps our bodies convert food into energy and also regulates our nervous system’s ability to handle stress/anxiety.
So for the last year or so I’ve been trying different brands and formulations of B vitamin mixes formulated for stress. My most recent selection contained 500% of the daily recommended amount of Niacin, which the label warned might cause a “flushing or tingling reaction in some people”.
20 minutes after I took my first dose it hit. My cheeks got warm and then my ears began to burn. I checked the mirror a few times and saw my face go from pink-cheeked to red-cheeked to red all over (like the worst sunburn ever). I felt insanely hot inside the house, so I wandered out into the just-above-freezing air and paced around on the deck for awhile. My whole body was in various states of heat, tingle, and/or flush. Meanwhile, of course, this was somewhat triggering the anxiety I take the vitamins to combat in the first place, which makes them seem like a moot point at best.
Within another twenty-thirty minutes the episode had passed and I felt normal again, other than the lingering anxious reactions to the whole thing. I threw the practically new bottle away and made a mental note to avoid any vitamins with the same amount of that form of Niacin or a similar warning.
So the review in this case is a little mixed. I have reason to think that B vitamins are a helpful part of the lifestyle I choose to maintain in order to make living with my anxiety more manageable. Obviously, however, I need to steer clear of those containing certain types and amounts of Niacin. Which may not be the case for everyone but is certainly worth knowing about in the event that it’s the case for you.
Speak up, friends. Any anxiety sufferers out there? What remedies- natural or otherwise- have you found helpful?