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Anxiety Log: My Anxiety History

Mar 30, 2009 - 2 comments
Tags:

Anxiety

,

Fear

,

Depresion

,

celexa




My whole life I watched my father and older brother deal with anxiety issues and panic attacks... I was always afraid that someday that it would happen to me, but was grateful that I was free of such traumas...
The biggest fear my whole life, worse than thoughts of death, were thoughts of losing my mental capabilities...for several years now I have worked in a neighborhood with a lot of mentally ill people, and the tragedy of their situation really affected me...I have also always been adverse to losing control of myself, and have stayed away from drugs and alcohol because of this.
Over the last 2 years, since my father passed away from Leukemia, I have found myself more aware of my own mortality, with thoughts of sickness and deaths seeming more REAL to me, more immediate...
I am also a "stress-addict", I worry about everything and anything, and internalize it until it becomes physical discomfort or pain.
At the beginning of the month, I had a scheduled "vacation" to go down south to OC, and the whole week before I was very stressed out...we didn't have the money to go, out car was had bad brakes and the registration had JUST run out and needed to be renewed...my work has been doing very poor, financially.
To ice the cake, so-to-speak, 4 days before we were set to leave, I started suffering from sudden and intense testicle pain (which turned out to be epididymitis, an inflammation where sperm is stored.) Unfortunately, I put off going to the doctor, and the pain got worse and I developed other symptoms, perhaps related more to stress, and I began to worry about such drastic things as testicular cancer and even Leukemia. This self-diagnosis was the first sign of trouble, as hypochondria was the trigger for much of my family's anxiety and panic attacks...
By the time we came back from our vacation, all of the stress and worry has really started to take it's toll on me, physically and mentally, and I ended up waking up at 4 in the morning on March 8,  I had Gaby take me to the emergency room, where I got my diagnosis of epididymitis, and perhaps at this point everything would have been fine, but unfortunately for me, one of the aids the doctor prescribed was an anti-nausea medicine that, unbeknownst to me, was known to cause anxiety and fear. I pretty much slept all of March 9, and on March 10 I returned to work.
As soon as I woke up to go to work, I seemed to be suffering from some sort of heart condition, a combination of pressure, pain, and irregular heartbeats. I suffered through the whole day like this, to the point that I couldn't take my mind off of it...I started to feel like maybe there was something really wrong with me, and I began to feel like my world was shutting down...I could barely do my job, and didn't have the desire to talk to anyone. I went home, and tried to sleep on Gaby's lap, hoping to watch some TV and take my mind off of it...but the more I tried, the worst I felt...
Suddenly, I realized what I was going through...it was something that I had watched members of my family deal with before...
I was having a panic attack.
The realization made me immediately call Mike, my older brother and someone who has coped with and survived years living with this affliction. His words got me through the worst of it, and I took his advice, and went to bed thinking I had just lived through my first anxiety attack. I went to sleep assured, and got the last full night's rest I have had since. The next morning, Gaby and I's day off, we woke up early to go see the first showing of Watchmen. Gaby asked me how I was doing, and I nonchalantly threw off "Good...I'd rather be sick than go insane!"...and it was like a switch was thrown in my brain, and I immediately started to feel the symptoms come back...all throughout the 20 minute car ride, the 30 minutes waiting for the movie to begin, and the entire 150 + of the film, I sat in my seat thinking I was going to die or go insane. It was the roughest 3-4 hours of my life I had ever had.
When out of the theatre, I was able to calm down, talk to my wife, and come through feeling a little better...emotionally, I was feeling better, but physically, I could still feel the epinephrine coursing through my body, which worried my mind for the rest of the day. I went to sleep, but woke up after only 5 hours, feeling the way I had the day before. This time it was my mom that I called, and again, her words of comfort and knowledge helped me calm down enough to avoid a true panic attack. But again, like the days previous, the adrenaline never left my body, which would shake uncontrollably and the nervous energy kept me distracted all day. Then the thought "I am always gonna feel like this" began to creep in, and has stayed with me since.
Thursday March 13 I returned to work on less than 2 hours sleep...the day was rough, but I fought to get myself out of it, to take my thoughts off the problem and conquer the anxiety...I even got to the point where I called a counselor that was a free service provided by the EAP (employee assistance program) offered by the company I work for. By the time I was home I was feeling 90% better...I watched "Step Brothers" from bed, laughed my *** off, and fell asleep with the happiest thoughts I had had in days...
That is, until 4 hours later, when I woke up covered in sweat and with my heart feeling like it was going to tear through my chest. With great regret, I woke Gaby up to take me to back to the ER. There, they looked at me with the skepticism I have heard anxiety sufferers get treated with, and gave me an injected dose of benadryl and Lorazepam, to help me sleep. I went home exhausted, guilty, and quite depressed, but hopeful to at least sleep...and sleep I did, for almost 11 hours.
Coincidentally, my best friend Casey was coming that very night to stay with us, to attend the surprise birthday party for our friend Jason the next day. By the time Casey got to my apartment, it was 1:30 am, and I was so out of it I almost missed his ringing our doorbell. I barely remember saying one word to him before I was out again. I woke up the next day feeling like my head was in a fog...I was slow, sluggish, tired, and could barely keep concentration on anything...but by that night, I was in good enough spirits to enjoy the party and have fun with my friends, and even enjoyed swapping anxiety stories with some of my friends. I went home feeling good...slept well enough, and woke up the next morning feeling kind of positive.
That's when it started going downhill again...
Around noon, I noticed some anxiousness, and some chest pain had come back...then, the thought, the dreaded thought..."boy, I hope i don't get another anxiety attack..." and BANG, I was back in the terrible cycle of anxiety.
The next two days I tried my best to cope with it, to get some rest, but I was forced to schedule an emergency visit with who is now my primary care physician, which cost me $100, BTW, and she was incredibly helpful...not judgmental about the condition I was suffering from (talk to many people who have been in the same boat, and you will hear horror stories about the way some doctors treat people suffering from anxiety and depression...) and she prescribed me with more lorazepam, which was extremely helpful in the fact that I needed to continue getting even small amounts of sleep, which on my own is all but impossible...
The next few days all ran into each other...try to get through work and pretend everything is ok, laugh at my coworker's jokes, try to listen to their stories of all the fun they had. the whole time with one thought in my brain: "I am always going to suffer from this anxiety."
I did manage to get my mind off my trouble a few times...going out to an Art Opening, talking with an old friend who stopped by my work...for a few minutes, I could take my mind off of my issues...but it was always still there, waiting...the tightness in my chest, the constant trembling and yawning.
The next two days off we had, we had long-set plans to see Wicked, which was my Christmas present to Gaby, which she was greatly looking forward to. I was initially nervous about how I would handle it, but thankfully that morning I made a rash decision...I called a local therapist office to see if I could get seen that day...I was given a referral by the counselor I had called earlier, but when I called his office that morning, the secretary said that he was most likely too busy to see any new clients right now, but perhaps if I left my number, one of the other therapists could squeeze me in some time the next week. It wasn't the answer I wanted, but I also had a scheduled follow-up with my PCP.
I went to the appointment, and broke down in her office. I was at my wits end, and even though I never thought of myself as someone who would need to go on medication, I didn't know what else to try. She told me that if i wanted to try Celexa, she would prescribe it for me, and then suggested that I talk to a therapist as soon as I was able. I then had to drive to get blood tests to make sure I didn't have a hyper-thyroid disorder (which, again, runs in the family) and then headed home.
When I got home, I was nervous to tell my wife what the doctor had said...in fact, over the last few weeks I had been drastically underplaying how severe the anxiety was, and how low I had gotten. So, waking her up from an afternoon nap, I began to lay it all out on the table. Just then, my phone rang...it was a Dr. Dan Volk, another therapist who said he could see me if I wanted...in fact, he had an opening in an hour, apologizing for the short notice... I explained to him that it would actually be perfect, and went to see him...
Now, about 4 months ago, during the holidays, I sat around my kitchen table with some friends, when one of them said "You should go to therapy." "WHAT? What do I need to go to therapy for? I'm the last person who needs to go to therapy!!!"
Boy, do those words haunt me now.
I know some people out there think therapy is useless, but I have to say...if you are ever having issues you feel might be overwhelming you, anything really...therapy can be incredibly enlightening.
My therapist and I talked about my issues, my family history, a few options I had, and I made an agreement to wait a few days to start taking the Celexa.
I left from that 50 minute session feeling better than I had in weeks...and despite the incredibly bad timing of blowing a tire a block from my apartment, I managed to stay in good spirits and we went to see Wicked and I actually managed to have some fun.
Over the next two days, unfortunately, I started to develop some serious depression issues...
In my life, I have had 'anxious" moments, things that stressed me out and put me on edge...and even though the level of hell I am in now is new, I was at least somewhat accustomed to the feelings...
Depression though, this real, heavy-weight of a depression, is completely new to me.
I think most people who know me would consider me a pretty jovial, happy guy. I get bummed out, sure, but I will be laughing again in no time.
This, though, is a nightmare...it's so scary not to be able to make yourself feel better on your own, knowing it is out of your control...
So 2 days after I promised to wait on taking the medication...I took the medication. I want this to be over, I want to feel normal again, and I didn't want to wait another day...
So. Where does that leave me today?
Well, I am two days into being on Celexa. I want to be positive, I want to be strong. But there are roadblocks...I am already experiencing pretty severe side effects, including INCREASED feelings of anxiety and depression, and I am even sleeping LESS than I was.
N.P. Sara White, my PCP, when she found out that the Lorazepam wasn't working so great, and that I had run out anyways, decided to prescribe me some new sleep meds...Temazepam. So I took it...and not only did it not help me sleep, but while under it's influence, I had one of the most unsettling experiences of my life...I had just awoken from listless sleep, having slept only a few hours, and I was so desperate to get back to sleep...my wife had gotten up to go to the bathroom, and in a bizarre combination of consciousness and unconsciousness, a psychotic reverse-lucid dream, I had a hallucinations of a shadowy, ghost like "angel" appear from the ceiling and beckon to me. I knew my wife was next to me holding me, I could see the room in all it's real detail, but this apparition beckoning me seemed as real to me as my wife lying next to me...
I would later come to find out Temazepam, besides being highly addictive, causes all sortsa crazy side effects, like hallucinations, and sleep-talking, and even sleep-DRIVING!!! One lady on a message board said her husband drove to work NAKED completely asleep and unaware of it the next morning!
I can't sleep...I haven't eaten more than toast or a plain bagel in over a week...my mouth is dry, my throat is sore, and worst of all, hopelessness is setting in...I don't know whether to get off the meds if the side effects continue, or even get worse, but I want to be my normal self again.
My poor wife...she barely sleeps more than I do, and I can tell this is really getting to her. I hate to cause her any worry.
This is going to be a hell of a fight...it could take weeks, months, or even longer, to find out what is going to work for me to get back to even a semblance of a normal life.


So here I am…this is a document of my experience with anxiety….


Comments
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Avatar universal
by celtical, May 31, 2009
I can relate to what you are going through. Especialy the part about the andrenaline going through your system and never leaving. I would highly recomend you look into E.F.T. You can find it and download the info from the internet. If what you read seems to easy that's because it is. This form of healing was developed by a gentleman who I believe was a type of engineer in Harvard and used his skills while studying natural health treatments.
From what I have seen and read this system is ideal for anyone suffering from Panic Attacks and Depression. Please try it.
Good Luck

Avatar universal
by GOD_IS_GOOD_ALL_THE_TIME, May 13, 2015
Hey, I am not able to relate to your story but I do know for sure your struggle will become less if you allow God to be part of your life. You may think its dumb or won't do any difference but I can assure you it will. I hope this message gets to your heart and are able to confide God in your weakest moments because that is when He is able to show his glory. My prayers will be for you and your family. And hey Smile, Jesus loves you.

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