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Through the storm of anxiety

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #120141

    Shae03
    Participant

    hi everybody,
    Long time listener, occasional caller.

    To introduce myself, my names Blake, 28 year old living in australia. In my third year of working as a primary school teacher and absolutely love it.
    I’m not completely sure what I’m looking for with this post.. answers, questions, clarity, but having a lot of soul searching going on at the moment and figured this would be a great place to write it all down and throw it to the world.
    I’ve been googling stories but haven’t found any that I can relate to, so hopefully someone can find it here!

    Two months ago I had a breakdown of sorts, it began with random little panic attacks here and there, and grew frequent to the point where I was a homebody for a solid week. This led me to going into hospital, due to my ignorance on really knowing what a panic attack was, and being diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder.
    I had always been a very level headed calm person, but the last couple of years had been a learning curve for me.. two years ago I left an emotional abusive relationship, and had spent a lot of time after that picking up my pieces and trying to build that self confidence back. Growing into my late twenties, seeing friends go different ways in their life, and, looking back now, putting pressure on myself with a negative perspective of how others see me and my achievements in life.

    I began CBT treatment with a psychologist and antidepressants to relieve the initial symptoms so I can take it all on board. Again, being uneducated on it I had no idea I was an anxious person, but when you feel like crap you’re happy to take any suggestion of relief on board! (I assumed these feelings were just normal, and anxiety was people who couldn’t be in crowds or new situations… ha! like I said, I had absolutely no idea really what anxiety meant)
    I’ve been a chronic researcher online of it now, and creating a healthy diet, exercising (running after work everyday), distancing myself from toxic negative energy, setting personal goals, I’m hoping I’m on the right track to a better self, and one day down the track, can function with a positive perspective of myself without the need of medication.

    This has been my first time going to therapy, or being on medication for mental health, and to be honest, it’s kind of scary. The unknown.

    Anybody that has been through and has come out with a positive story I can hear? Words of wisdom?

    • This topic was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Shae03.
    #120155

    Sol Sys
    Participant

    Hi Blake,

    I don’t really have any answers, but I can relate to your story & felt compelled to reply.

    I am also 28 years old, but living in the US. I was recently diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety, but have not begun any medication. In my recent soul searching, I realize I’ve been struggling with anxiety for a long time, but the panic attacks have only begun to happen with any sort of regularity within the past couple years. Mine, too, were random & little here & there at first. It took more frequent attacks with increasingly worse symptoms (feeling so afraid something bad would happen that I’d rather stay home, feeling like I might die) for me to really research things & understand that these were panic attacks. Until recently, I also thought my feelings were just normal – just nervousness.

    I would be described for most of my life as a calm & level headed person, too. I prided myself on that. I now feel like that’s mainly due to me repressing my negative emotions for acceptance or to “keep the peace.” I avoided uncomfortable things like telling people when I feel I’ve been disrespected or violated in some way & being honest when I’m scared. I also put tremendous pressure on myself to succeed academically over the years, and again after college, putting tremendous pressure on myself to succeed at everything. I recently got married & became a mom, and that huge influx of responsibility made me put even more pressure on myself.

    I have started CBT as well with a doctor, and it seems to be helping me bit by bit, but I understand it’s not an immediate resolution. I still have panic attacks at random. I try to incorporate regular exercise, drink more water, and am focusing on eating better for now, but not totally turned off to trying new things. Feeling this way – unsure if or when panic attacks will occur, enduring them wherever they pop up – is really crappy. I look forward to & try to envision a time where I will get past this. I truly believe there is hope – that this is a stage of our lives & with the right combination of things, we can push through.

    It’s hard for me to identify a trigger when I have panic attacks, but I wonder if you’ve had any definite triggers for yours?

    Also wondering how long it’s been since you started medicine, and if you notice any improvements?

    I’m really glad I came across your post this morning – It helps to see a story I can relate to & I’m inspired by your courage to share your story.

    I hope we can hear some success stories from people who have made it through this as well – my Google searches have been unsuccessful on that note. LoL

    #120199

    Peppermint
    Participant

    Dear Shae03,

    I suffered from anxiety in the past, it got so bad that I developed strong stomach aches. But circumstances changed and nowadays the stomach aches are gone, so I’m here to say that yes, it can get better again. My circumstances may change again in the future and stress might return for me, still I wanted to write to you what helped me so far.

    It’s a step by step process. Don’t expect for things to get better over night (especially the antidepressants need time before they start making a difference, but your doctor probably told you that). Small steps are the key. Your therapist and the antidepressants are part of these steps. What also helped me in the past was „autogenic training“. It’s a relaxation technique. If you can find a course where they offer autogenic training, maybe try it out. I found that it helped my brain to switch off for at least a short while from the permanent state of alarm that it was in. Otherwise I think you already found a lot of good ideas yourself. I would only add „get enough rest“, „do things for myself“ and „be patient with myself“ to the list.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by  Peppermint.
    #120234

    Peppermint
    Participant

    Something else occured to me: mindfulness can also be helpful. I don’t know if it will be helpful for you at this point (don’t put yourself under stress) but you might try it. This is what I do, but I’m just a beginner: When you are frightened and you notice how the adrenalin is pumping through your veins, take a moment to step out of whatever thoughts your brain is thinking right now and just focus on the now. Notice your surroundings, the people, nature, the smell of the air, the light shining through the window… whatever falls into your line of sight. Be present in this moment. Remember that the worries about the future and the negative thoughts about the past are just that – thoughts. They are not real. As anita put it (and im roughly quoting her here because I don’t think I can find it again) there is only today and maybe tomorrow.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by  Peppermint.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by  Peppermint.
    #120901

    Shae03
    Participant

    Sorry for the delayed reply guys, work has kept me busy lately!
    Sol sys – thanks for your story, it does really help hearing something so similar doesn’t it. I found it funny once I opened up to a few close friends about it, how many have told stories of being in the same position in the past.. one of those things that sadly is still not spoken about.
    I’ve been on medication for just about two months now, I was pretty nervous to begin with having no experience but honestly I am so glad that I did. It worked quite quick too, I’ve read 6-8 weeks, but all the strange side effects of my body adjusting pretty much subsided by two weeks. It was explained to me like it creates a clean slate in your mind to be able to take cbt on board and it does really feel that way.
    Day to day triggers I couldn’t tell you! It felt absolutely random. I’m in the process at the moment of unpacking the core problems that would create the different anxieties in life, it’s interesting being able to slowly put the dots together.
    I’d love to hear how you’ve been going!

    #120902

    Shae03
    Participant

    Thanks for the words Peppermint,I’ll have a look into autogenic training. I have found being a love again of just being outside in the nature, a kind of meditation in itself I guess!

    #120942

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shae03:

    A couple of questions:

    Do you believe that the origin of your anxiety is in the abusive relationship that you left two years ago- or is it in your childhood?

    Do you think the above question is relevant and has it been brought up in your psychotherapy?

    anita

    #121015

    Shae03
    Participant

    Hi Anita,
    That’s a good question. It has been brought up, and although origionally I did pin that to be the starting cause, I’m starting to believe that was a point of manifestation of anxieties that I had developed over time.
    I’ve been able to realise the core of my anxiety to be low self esteem, and when the relationship became toxic, my self esteem and perspective of myself contributed to it, by not walking away when I should have walked away. By allowing myself to be treated poorly, I was subconsciously affirming my own perspective of my worth and feeding that cycle of low self esteem.
    This revelation is honestly very new, and can be hard to get my head around sometimes!

    #121017

    VJ
    Participant

    Dear Blake,

    Since all of what you explained happened just two months ago I will suggest you to do EFT for your issues.
    EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques is useful for freeing yourself from any negative energy or emotions (although it is also used for physical issues).
    There are lots of videos and articles over the web explaining how to do EFT. Check them out, but if you are also ok with some tailor made EFT tapping scripts at a small paid amount then I recommend the below website.
    This is a wonderful website for EFT scripts on almost every single issue of our day to day lives.
    (http://tap-easy.com)
    Go through the site and you will find things relating to your issues like anxiety, panic attacks, low self-esteem and there might also be certain things that may require “healing” from the emotionally abusive relationship. You will be able to relate by simply glancing through the titles on the homepage of the site.
    Although you may have (thought that you have) bounced back from the negative emotions of the relationship, there are chances that they may still be stuck in your unconscious/subconscious memories and may be running in the background causing anxiety issues in the foreground.

    You are doing the right thing about choosing a healthy diet, exercising, staying away from toxic people and situations, setting personal goals, etc. At the same time something like EFT is required to cleanse the negative emotional debris.

    as an fyi -the owner of the site Sonal Pandey will respond in case you have any queries/questions/doubts as I have personally interacted too.

    Take care,
    VJ

    • This reply was modified 6 months ago by  VJ.
    #121046

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shae03:

    Reads to me like you are on the right track, from exercising after work to attending therapy. The revelation, you wrote, that the origin of your anxiety is in your childhood is new to you and you are starting to put the dots together. This is a process that takes time and if you persist in it, your mental health and quality of life will improve a whole lot as a result.

    When we review our lives and evaluate how we feel, we only have our own experience to compare. Maybe you didn’t feel as anxious for some time before the abusive relationship you had, so you thought you were not anxious at all and that you were confident before. Because in comparison to post-relationship you were less anxious and less troubled.

    Keep connecting the dots, give it time, it is a long term process.

    anita

    #121080

    XenopusTex
    Participant

    Just be glad you don’t live in the US and get to experience the flat-out gong show that is taking place in our cities. (*Function checks 1911*). Sometimes glad to live in the rural areas 🙂 Though driving ~240 miles through a snow storm to get to the State Supreme Court for oral argument is a real pain.

    Medications help, but they aren’t the end-all-be-all. The most effective I was ever prescribed was the Xanax, Klonopin, etc. family. Too bad they are now viewed as the equivalent of something like heroin these days; good luck getting a script for them in the US. Last time I wanted about 10 pills for flights, I got treated as if I asked for crack cocaine or something.

    Before law school, I was diagnosed with major depression and GAD (also GERD, but something different). Before and during law school, I was prescribed virtually every flavor of anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication available at the time. Prozac blew my stomach up; tri-cyclics turned me into a highly constipated individual who wound up losing hours long blocks of time. When I took Zoloft I hallucinated and had out-of-body experiences. The best overall effect for anxiety came from Klonopin for me. Klonopin and its relatives didn’t seem to have a ramp-up process that things like SSRI’s, etc.

    Strange thing started to happen: when I knew I had something that simply worked, there was a certain power in that. I think I used a total of ~5 out of my last refill, mostly used with bouts of anxiety accompanied by migraine headaches (turn off the lights, shove a towel under the door, duct tape black trash bags over the windows, and turn off the phone type migraines). Once I grasped that I had something that would work when SHTF, then I could manage the lesser instances.

    As far as coming out of the end of it, I guess you could call it a success. Graduated law school and now work as a prosecutor making six-figures with assets over $1M. The downside is that I went into massive work-a-holism, my social life went in the cr*pper, and I’m 39 with no SO or spouse. Still suffer from anxiety and depression, but much more of the depression side than the anxiety these days (late fall/early winter on the Canadian border and SAD).

    We don’t really have much in the way of mental health services out here. It’s not that uncommon for even suicidal folks to not find mental health facilities, so I can’t talk about experiences with therapy. Lot of folks out here handle things differently. Shooting sports are very popular out here, but in Australia, probably not much of an option. A nice late spring day, a half-case of varmint ammunition, a sighted in rifle, and an endless supply of ground dwelling rodents = a mind (and field) clearing afternoon/morning.

    Exercise is always good.

    One thing: There’s always somebody richer than you are (unless your name is Bill Gates). There’s always somebody more knowledgeable about your field than you are. There’s always someone with a better looking, wealthier, <insert metric here> SO or spouse than you. There’s always somebody with a better car, house, boat, <insert object here> than you. I don’t care what metric you choose, there is always going to be somebody better at it and somebody worse at it than you are. That type of comparison is not terribly likely to help you feel better.

    #138197

    Shae03
    Participant

    Hi guys, just wanted to update for anyone who might be reading this and hits home for them. I’ve been doing really well, and this weekend I begin tapering off my medication (under doctors super vision, as he felt I was ready) which I’m really excited about.. not that I disliked it, just happy to be taking that next step.

    What I found to be the most beneficial was definitely the CBT, meditation and exercise, but also pushing myself out of my comfort zone.. finding old hobbies and ideas that got put to the back of the priority list because of life, and building myself again the way I want my life to be.

    i also found the book The Power of Now to be quite helpful, there was a couple of a-ha moments I took from there.

    i found listening to stories from people who had overcome it, and how they did to be motivating.. that there is people around us in our lives who understand and have moved on without seeing anxiety as a label to burden themselves.

    so anyone who is struggling, there is a light at the end and keep taking time and being kind to yourself, you are so much more than anxiety it’s just a hurdle to understand and move across

    #138265

    anita
    Participant

    Thank you, shae03 for this uplifting update. You obviously did (and are doing) the work, over time, and you are reaping the benefits! Post anytime.

    anita

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