Why I’m No Longer on Anxiety Meds

Last Fall I wrote a lengthy post detailing my long term battle with an anxiety disorder. I’m happy to say that I’ve been off all meds for several months now, and have had virtually no issues whatsoever. I think the following pretty much sums up why:

Old Job: Can you please spend the next few days putting together this long report that I’m never going to read?

New Job: We’re overnighting you a pair of the shoes that were on the feet of the winner of the Boston Marathon. Do you think you can run in them this weekend and give us feedback by Monday?

Needless to say my stress level has declined dramatically.

Life is good!

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.


  1. BreannaS says:

    I am so glad to hear that you are doing well without your meds. It gives me hope that one day I too will be able to do the same.

    • You can get there! I was on them for the better part of 10 years, and they did help. Getting off was very difficult for a few weeks, but I feel great now that I’m on the other side.

  2. Steven says:

    Arguably your best post ever! All the best.

  3. hey, that’s great! it also shows how life changes are more effective than meds. (and your readers like your new job better, too.)

    • It’s a matter of choosing meds to manage your life, or modifying your life to manage your meds. It’s not always an easy choice though, and I feel very fortunate that I had an alternative option that has worked out very well so far.

  4. Life is good Pete! Do what you love and love what you do :-) I know how you feel, I felt the same way when I left teaching middle school as a special education teacher and get to do what I am now.

    Keep up the great work and providing us with all the information you do. :-)

  5. I want your job :)

  6. Steve K says:

    Great post, Pete! Thank you for sharing the story of your career change and your continuing adventures.

    And glad you are enjoying trail runs (Garmin vexations aside)!

  7. Iain Denby says:

    Fantastic outcome. I bet there are many who would love to have the guts to make such a change in their own lives.

  8. That’s great news you are off medication are doing so well. I expect the lower stress levels will also open the door to better all-round fitness.

    I wonder if you’ll be able to develop your ability to deal with really stressful situations even better thanks to having proper respite from stress at other times.

    I also wonder even if something like the central governor theory might help in understand what the brain is up to when dealing with stress. Like the emotion of fatigue is conjured up to slow us down to prevent damage during a long race, any chance that anxiety attacks are a similar feedback mechanism that some of us develop to hold us back from pushing harder into stressful situations?

    OK, that’s a bit out there, I really know next to nothing about the how brain works… :-)

    I am pleased as punch to see you making progress and also giving others a good example that there is good life to be had even if you’ve been dogged by anxiety issues in the past.

    • It’s interesting to think about. Certainly one of the big differences for me right now is I sleep much better, and I have time in the morning to ease into the day, which is huge for my stress load. I also have intentionally kept two days a week entirely open – I spend Wednesday mornings with my 4 year old son, and Thursdays I have free to either work on blog stuff or hang out with my wife. I still work as much or more as when I was a prof, but it’s all stuff that I enjoy and I’m in control of my time so it’s much more rewarding.

  9. Nice. I get it. I’m a recovering academic, too. Life is a lot better off campus. A lot.

    It’s hard to explain to those who have never been in t-track faculty. From the outside, it sounds dreamy. But it’s not, and it’s not just the futility of 3/4 of the work, it is the people and culture of the industry. There is a lot I miss about working on campus, but I like life a lot better in the real world now. The biggest difference is that I have a life again ;) I’m sure you understand.

    Congratulations, Pete!

    • I totally understand. There are things I miss a lot. I loved working with students in the classroom and lab. I was close with my departmental colleagues. But the business of higher ed these days combined with the futility of much of the administrative work that I did sucked the life out of me over the past few years. Being my own boss and having a life again is quite nice indeed!

  10. Willy Onate says:



  11. Randall says:

    I really appreciate your post. This, along with a great article in the latest issue of Trail Runner magazine, has helped me realize I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for quite a while. I’ve been denying and/or explaining it away. I’m at the point it affects my career and severely impacts my family.

    I’ve always told myself I hate running. It sucks. But the running community has been where I’ve found the best support and friendships the past few years.

    Thanks for your openness and candor. I’m on my way to seeking help and getting to a manageable point in my life, as you are now.

    • I think the important thing is to feel no shame about it. Mental illness is extremely common, but too many of us suffer in silence. I kept it to myself for far too long, and found that opening up was almost as therapeutic as any meds I have taken. Get help and hang in there!

  12. Looking forward to your review on Meb’s shoe’s!

  13. Pete – So happy for you. Keep up the great work on the web site. And keep those shoe reviews coming!

  14. Mike Graber says:

    I got a doctorate a long time ago and sometimes regret never trying the academic route. As you have shown us here, this is just another case of thinking *the grass is greener*. I dropped my stress levels last year by retiring. I am enjoying running much more. Glad to hear that you are doing better.


  15. Andrew Lischuk says:

    good for you Pete. Reading your website helps me reduce my stress level as well. Thanks for sharing the wealth of knowledge.

  16. One thing at a time man. I just tanked on my first marathon, but I signed up for my redemption in 5 months to get back on track to my ultimate running goal. But this hurdle that you conquered is huge. It gives me hope that I can do this too when I feel the time is right. Thanks for so much inspiration in many ways you’ll probably never know.

  17. Very happy for you. As a t-t drone myself, it’s nice to hear both that someone else needed pharmaceutical help, too, and that someone else was able to wean off of them.

  18. I too, am trying to keep my anxiety in check by simplifying my life.
    I’ve not managed to land QUITE the dream job that you have, though!
    Nice work :)

  19. Very cool, Pete. I’m glad to see things are working out!

  20. I’m happy for you!
    Society often tells us we need a “traditional job”, great to hear that a different job has lead to a better lifestyle for you.

  21. Wonderful post!!! You are living an inspiring and hopeful message to so many!

  22. Congratulations to you! I ‘m so glad you are winning on your battle against anxiety. Having had the experience of an anxiety attack I can say that it is the scariest and hardest thing to go through. Not all people understand how serious it is and most often times they don’t take it seriously at all, I used to be one of those people until I experienced an anxiety attack myself and now I’ve been searching for ways to cope with it ever since. You serve as an inspiration to a lot of people like me that are dealing with anxiety.

    - Abby

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