PRP Therapy, Getting Off The Birth Control, and Anxiety Updates

by admin on January 26, 2014

I’ve been meaning to update everyone on a few things, and here it finally is. I made a video which I will place at the end of this post. I’m a bit scatter brained in my video because I just had a crazy morning which threw me for a loop, so any rambling and/or incoherentness will need to be attributed to that :) The video is long, so I’ll update in a post too:

Getting Ready For PRP

I know many women are wondering if I still believe in PRP therapy or feel it is working for me, the answer is, yes. I continue to go to Florida to see Dr. Joseph Greco every 4-6 months because it’s something I think is a positive thing for my hair, I feel it’s safe and while there is some discomfort in the actual treatment, the benefits for me are worth it. It currently is the only thing I do for my hair and much to my relief I’ve finally rid myself from all the pills I was taking for my hair, which I never really felt great taking nor really knew if they were actually working to do anything helpful anyways. I’ve heard from some women that felt PRP did nothing for them, and others that felt it was awesome, it’s all so very individual. I’m going to continue doing it for quite sometime because other than having to take time for travel and for the bit of discomfort during the treatment, there are no downsides for me.

 

This was the final pill I took, ha.

Getting Off The Birth Control Pill Update

Last July I got off the little devil pill that I felt ruled and destroyed much of my life. I made quite a long post on this, which you can read here, and I feared what the aftermath of getting off this pill would do to my hair and body in general. I didn’t experience any major shed, but I’m attributing much of that to keeping up with the PRP. I don’t know if that’s actually the reason I didn’t have a major shed, but I feel it was a strong contributing factor.

The adverse effects I experienced in getting off the pill were pretty mild I think compared to what I thought would happen. I thought I’d implode or something, I felt the sky was going to fall and the bottom would drop out from under me, but alas it didn’t. Instead I had some insomnia, facial breakouts and bad cramps during my period. I could be missing a couple things, but nothing that is sticking out glaringly in my mind which tells you it wasn’t all that big a deal, it was a bigger emotional/mental deal than anything. My periods started up normally too, and regularly, which I was surprised about, I thought they would be erratic or not come for months or stick around for months at a time, but it was normal pretty much from the time I got off the pill, which was a very pleasant surprise. So everything is going well with the cessation of the pill.

Zoloft

Breakfast of champions? LOL and a supportive text from a dear friend of mine :)

Anxiety Update

I made an anxiety sharezie in Sept, letting everyone in on my oh-so more complicated than hair life pertaining to my dealings with social, generalized, phone anxiety and OCD oopsies. Anxiety has ruled my world for quite sometime. Second fiddle only to my hair loss, but once I figured out out to put my hair loss in check in my life, it became enemy # 1. I know several people had commented and emailed me on the topic of that post, and were surprised that I dealt with this because that doesn’t come across in my videos, and it wouldn’t. I don’t really have anxiety talking to myself LOL, that’s pretty much what making a video is to me, talking to myself and I do that all time anyways ;) It’s a solitary event. ha. As indicated in that post, I pretty much never confronted my anxiety head on, and just sort of ran around it, or altered my life to accommodate for it, through no amount of accommodations could ever fully make it right aside from possibly moving into a cave and cutting all communications off with the outside world. I asked my fiancé if he was game, but he just wasn’t into cave life and vehemently protested (darn) so I had to go see a psychiatrist to try and work on this or move into a studio cave for one.

So yes, I’m still seeing my psychiatrist (weekly) and have opted to actually take medications to help tame the anxiety beast within. I was a bit unsure about whether or not I should publicly share this, but A) Sharing is healing and B) It could help someone else, so at the risk of being judged by some, I’ve opted to further share on my mental meds. Pretty much since the beginning I’ve been treating my anxiety with Xanax. I’d love to write a love letter to Xanax, like for real. It’s been an amazing thing in my anxiety-filled life, and has helped me to just be able to process the world in a much better way. I truly wish I’d further explored therapy and the marvel of psychopharmacology years ago, but in truth had I still be in the pursuit of my hair I wouldn’t have taken any medications anyways, because I’d be afraid it would further have exacerbated my hair loss. So yes, Xanax… I love you. There it’s been said. Moving on.

In addition to Xanax, I also do take a beta blocker (Atenolol), if you don’t know what beta blockers are, I’ll let Wikipedia fill you in.

…and lastly, and the most recent addition to my medicated life, is Zoloft. I’m not sure if it’s news to you, but it was certainly news to me that SSRI’s (anti-depressants) are not just used for depression but also used to treat anxiety disorders. The labeling of the pill, was a hard one to swallow for me (pun fully intended) and through it was recommended to me from the very beginning, I was reluctant to give it a try. I felt better going with the pills that had much better labeling attached to them “anti-anxiety” “beta-blocker” that sounds so much sexier to me than “anti-depressant.” In addition, I didn’t want to have to take a pill everyday, you have to take the SSRI’s everyday, and I felt that was a commitment I didn’t want to make. On top of THAT, I just didn’t like the idea that I would be taking an “anti-depressant,” it seems no matter how many times I type it or say it the name just doesn’t get any better. I feel there is a stigma attached to antidepressants and really in some circles of the the internet and life, there is a whole movement against them and benzos (Xanax) for that matter. But, some feel there is also stigma with wigs, so whatever.

Whatever on all of it I say. Existing in this world can be challenging at times… floating by, not really ever present, but the real hard thing is the live. To choose to live, that’s the hard stuff. To be able to get past our own limitations and mental barriers, the walls we throw up in front of ourselves that prevent us from living, that’s not easy. That takes work. I’ve said it too many times to count, I wish I would have started to wear hair earlier, I wish I wouldn’t have sacrificed so many of my years to self loathing and handing over power and control to my hair loss. This same thing holds true for treating my anxiety. I can live a prisoner to it, or treat it in whatever way I can. It’s more than likely I’ll have to take some form of anti-anxiety medication probably for life, and slowly I’m coming to terms with being okay with that, and allowing it to work for me, so I can have a happy non-anxiety filled awesome wigged life. :) I’m not by any means saying anyone else should jump on a medicated wagon, everyone needs to find their own path and what works for them and really just make the choices you can life with, not just for today but for 20,30, 40 years from now too.

So there’s my updates…. Happy Sunday! xoxo

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

sleeplesshouse January 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Hi Y,
I’m glad to hear you are taking medications for such debilitating anxiety.
I can tell you that the medical profession doesn’t think of the word “Zoloft or SSRI” as “only antidepressants” — in fact, when I read charts or know that someone is taking an SSRI, I often ask simultaneously if he/she has depression or anxiety. So, I think of it just as much as an antianxiety med as I do an antidepressant med…and truth be told…anxiety and depression are intertwined & cohabitate often….so don’t fear the intial association of SSRIs as for depression. An SSRI is a key/first line treatment option for people with anxiety. So, you take 2 antianxiety meds (1 is a benzodiazepine, Xanax, I guess you take it PRN when needed and you take a second antianxiety med, Zoloft, to help maintain a baseline of less anxiety. Nothing wrong with that…that is actually a great combo. The PRN beta blocker is good, too — for controlling the physiological manifestations of panic that you feel when you are highly anxious. How often do you have to take the beta-blocker?

bayareagirl January 26, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I’m so grateful for your site and because of this, have the intention of visiting Flora & Follea down in LA in February. Thanks for all that you’ve shared – you have no idea what a huge help this is.

You brave girl doing PRP! I had this in my achilles tendon and it hurt like hell – seriously very painful stuff. I’m glad to hear you think it is helping you.

I suffer from anxiety too and have not come to terms with the idea of taking a medication for it. One more thing for me to worry about whether it would be contributing to hair loss! What a viscious circle.

B January 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm

You mentioned having anxiety attacks not to be confused with panic attacks. What is the difference for you? I think I am having panic attacks but would call them anxiety attacks as well. I am happy your choice for treatments are helping you. You deserve some peace and calm in your life and if medications help that’s great.

avery January 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

Thank you for sharing this! I have been bonding a 3/4 wig for 7 months now, and still cannot get past the anxiety, fear of being found out, shame and depression of it all. Just writing this makes me see I need to take some action. I thought wearing hair would solve everything, but I’m finding myself in a worse state of mind now than when I was hiding my thinning hair and scalp. I’m currently taking an anti-anxiety med – Busperone – but obviously it’s not doing the job. So I’m going to make the move to see a psychiatrist to help me through this. Thank you again for your candor. It’s so helpful to know I’m not alone, even though I feel like it most of the time.

Pinky January 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm

You may find your anxiety lessen simply for going off the pill! The progestins in B/C – whether in pill form, IUD, implants, it doesn’t matter – can cause anxiety/depression in sensitive women – - which you probably are (sensitive I mean). All the women in my family have discovered this the hard way. Sadly, wacky hormones can also cause anxiety and hair loss, but the first thing doctors want to do is put you on the pill (boooooooooo). Now that I’m old enough for HRT I insist on bioidentical micronized progesterone, which doesn’t seem to cause the problems that synthetic progestins did for me.

I’ve chronicled my own odyssey with premenstrual dysphoria (PMDD), social anxiety, hair loss, fainting, etc. at my blog if you’re interested – - I’ve been on Zoloft and Wellbutrin FWIW – - fully weaned from them now and doing okay. Whatever I’m doing now seems to be working. I’ve even started growing a little hair! It’s not cosmetically acceptable, more like old Einstein on a bad hair day, but it’s a sign my immune system is finally starting to regulate itself after ten long years.

YouAreVeryStar January 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Thank you for your updates. Your website is such a source of comfort and information for me.

I was wondering if there was a specific reason you went to Dr. Greco in Florida? I also live in LA and have googled a few places here that offer this treatment but wasn’t sure if you felt like Dr. Greco’s results/treatment was far superior then what you found close by?

admin January 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Thank you to everyone for your comments, much appreciated!

@sleeplesshouse – Thank you for such an insightful comment! I definitely appreciate you writing that Zoloft and the SSRI’s are viewed equally as an anti-anxiety medication, and there is no question that a bad anxiety episode can throw me down into a depressed stupor faster than you can say “wiglandia.” So the anti-depressant part of the, errr, anti-depressant I take is totally needed as well, it’s just been some bizarre mind-messed-upper for me to get zen with taking it, but I will. I’m sharing my way to acceptance, one Zoloft share at a time :) I get very strong physical reactions from my anxiety (shaking, flushing, accelerated heart rate) so the beta blocker was to address that side of it, so I take it everyday as a prophylactic for my anxiety.

@bayareagirl – The PRP does hurt, but I’ve done it so much I’m sort of used to the pain… I know what to expect from it, so while it’s not pleasant it’s definitely manageable :) It’s not an easy decision (or wasn’t for me) to decide to treat anxiety with medication, I’m not sure why, but it just wasn’t. I was willing to throw anything and everything down my gut to treat my hair loss.. but my anxiety that left me socially blacking out and a fidgety mess, that one… that one I had to think on LOL. makes perfect sense. Not. It’s a very personal choice, to take medications, and one that was worth exploring for myself. It’s made a huge difference in my life and I wish I did it years ago. But, I get not wanting to take anything for fear of further causing more hair loss, I used to refuse to take medications for just general wellness that were needed when I was sick, so I get that fully.

@B – The terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Here are some links:
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AnxietyOverview/story?id=4659738
http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/understandingpanic/a/anxvspanic.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_attack

@avery – I think often women find that throwing hair on, wasn’t the end all be all — wake up and my life will be awesome instantly solution. It takes time and acceptance even after the point of choosing to and actually wearing hair. I can definitely see how you are experiencing more anxiety now while wearing hair vs. trying to hide the loss without it, because it’s new.. even 7 months is still new, and you have fears about it as you expressed, i.e, someone finding out. There is no shame in wearing hair, not in my world. I have no idea what Busperone is, but you should definitely seek the help of a psychiatrist to help you with your anxiety, and you are most definitely not alone.. not alone in your hair loss, not alone in wearing hair, and not alone in your anxiety.

@Pinky – It would be awesome if getting off the pill reduces my anxiety, it hasn’t yet. It just reduced my breast size. Can’t catch a break! ;) My body is most definitely super sensitive, without a doubt though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the pill made my anxiety worse. I’m so glad you found a path working for you, that’s awesome to read!

@YouAreVeryStar – I go to Dr. Greco because he’s the first one that started using PRP in the application of treating hair loss. I felt he was the best to go to, I’ve seen him for years and am very comfortable with him. I believe he does have his own proprietary things he does in his treatments, so there is some difference there from what others may do. I’m just comfortable with his treatment/ and him in general, so I choose to continue to have him do my PRP. I can’t compare to anyone else, because I haven’t been to anyone else for this treatment.

XOXO

Angie T January 28, 2014 at 7:26 am

I’ve been on Zoloft, Metoprol, (a beta blocker) and Lorazepam for a few years now. I would be insane otherwise. Besides the hair loss, I have my daughter to deal with – she just had spinal fusion surgery for her scoliosis due to Rett Syndrome.

Just one word of caution….they put me on Xanex after my panic attacks when my son was born, and suffering from hair loss and terrible postpartum, I got addicted to them very quickly. My point is my advice, for what it’s worth? Get your dosage upped on the Zoloft, and then scale back the Xanex. I’m currently on 100 mg, I won’t go up further because of the side effects you mentioned. I felt like crap too for a few weeks but it was SO worth it. I went with the Lorazepam this time around because it’s less addictive. (FOR ME, anyways.) I can go days without taking it and could never do that on the Xanex.

Anyhow, wishing you the best. Sorry about your boobs! ;)

admin January 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Hi Angie – Thank you so much for sharing that you take Zoloft, Metoprolol and Lorazepam. It actually made me feel rather comforted to hear you take 3 similar things as well that have been helping you. I like positive mental med shares :)

I hope your daughter is recovering well from her surgery, sending you hugs!

XOXO

Pinky January 29, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Another “lessons learned” with the Zoloft: Too low a dose – unfortunately the basic dose for a gal with premenstrual dysphoria – made me OCD bigtime. I should have called my doc right away, but I didn’t understand what was happening or why I was buying so many 1950′s full slips on eBay. You’d think maybe 50 slips – one in every color possible – would be my first clue? But no, I was living alone and had no one to tell me I had lost my freaking mind.The fix, apparently, was to up the dose. Who knew? Sigh. Glad THAT’s over. I still have the slips BTW: They take up half a closet!

Anyway one more thing: I was blown away to discover how much diet affects my anxiety levels. If I hadn’t done a dietary trial to feel the results first hand I would not have believed it. Be sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D, magnesium (liquid is best), zinc (liquid again) and Vitamin B (sublingual). If you can bear it, cut down (or eliminate) grains for awhile – replace them with brightly colored veggies – and see if anything changes with your headspace (it did for me). Also, see if you can max the “friendly bacteria” in your diet, and avoid over-using antibiotics.

Also: Docs tell us to avoid alcohol while on brain meds. This is probably really important advice to follow. I know people on brain meds sometimes drink and seem none the worse for wear for doing it, but I wonder.

Pinky January 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I can’t believe I forgot to mention my GABA chewables! These really work for me – fast – GABA is a neurotransmitter that brings on a feeling of well-being. This is the only brand I trust – I even carry them around at PMS time just in case:

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Factors-Stress-Relax-Chewable-60-Count/dp/B000R8IPR0/ref=sr_1_6?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1391042560&sr=1-6&keywords=gaba

Here’s some backup to my previous comment:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-depression

Role of zinc in the development of mood disorders:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20689416

Zinc: The New Antidepressant?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16491668

Pinky January 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm

. . . and WOW. I wasn’t even searching on alopecia – look what I found!

Zinc Deficiency Associated with Hypothyroidism: An Overlooked Cause of Severe Alopecia
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746228/

So I googled them together and found one of your old posts! We come full circle! LOL . . .

http://www.womenshairlossproject.com/hair-loss/mineral-deficiency-pcos-and-hair-loss/

InMyDreamsHaveFullHeadofHair February 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Praise God for sanity. This hairloss thing causes a lot of anxiety and self doubt. Perhaps we were all normal until made to feel un-normal by this hair loss thing. Thanks for being so honest, everyone.

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