I have been battling some serious anxiety/depression for the past two years now, well. most of my life actually, but the past two years have been unrelenting.
I was diagnosed with OCD 13 years ago, and though that is certainly still an issue (mostly intrusive thoughts and checking) my primary concern is this debilitating anxiety/depression I have developed as a result (seemingly) of a series of difficult/painful life-events, namely break-ups and a very stressful trial.
The thing is, I have always struggled with mental illness in some form, mostly OCD, and occasional bouts of brief, severe depression....But it wasn't until about 6 years ago that I developed anxiety (aside from the OCD) and I have found that the anxiety, more than anything interferes with the way I live my life.
When I initaly got anxious, six years ago, it started as a fear of choking...(I knwo it sounds nuts) But after an incident where I actually DID choke, I developed a fear of swallowing, eating, etc...everytime I ate I felt like I was going to choke, and then I forgot how to swallow, etc...it totally interefred with eating and made it embaressing and scary....It also started to effect my breathing...i would obsess about it and became hyper-aware every time I swallowed, I feared I would choke....It was crazy!!
This fear eventually dissapaited after being a problem on and off for about a year. It was replaced, however, with a fear of insomnia....After a night of SERIOUS trouble sleeping in college, i became very worried about having insomnia again, and became hyper-aware when trying to fall asleep--light bothered me more, i became more sensetive to noise, and I eventually developed a fear of sleeping away from home!!!!!!!! Because I was so afraid of not being able to fall asleep!!! It sounds absurd, I know, and I am so embaressed by it! But it really controlled my life for a while!
Although I had suffered from insomnia most of my life, on and off, it was not until then that I WORRIED about it---it became such a problem, my worry of not sleeping, that I actually GAVE MYSELF insomnia! Anytime I had a stressful day, a big event coming up, slept somewhere unfamiliar, or was overly exhausted, I PANICKED around bedtime and was nervous ALL DAY about trying to fall asleep--being afraid I wouldn;t be able to! (so silly, I know! BUT I couldn't stop it!)
Instead of dealing with this face-on, it took over my life for a while, or at least seriosuly altered it--I made adjustment, was careful not to sleep away from home, kept my room unreasonably dark and quiet, and when I was stressed or did not fall asleep quickly enough, I would drink or take a sleeping pill to pass out (and even then it didn't always work becasue I was so REVVED up on anxiety and monitering to see if I was relaxed or not! Ha!
Well, this problem has definitely improved, but has not gone away completely, I still avoid sleeping away from home, and although I am getting better at it, it is still an issue, and one that keeps me awake sometimes because I am so anxious about being able to fall asleep. This can keep me awake all night soemtimes, and usually when I need rest the most!
I have a prescription for xanax to take in emergencies, but I do not want to take it regularly.
Anyways, this is just one of the many ways, on of the main ways my anxiety manifests....As time goes by, it seems that anxiety has significantly infiltrated all aspects of my life, much more than I had realized until recently.
I have avoided travelling, pursuing things I want, making big changes etc...anything that provokes my anxiety, even though these are things I DESERATELY WANT AND NEED, my anxiety gets provoked and I get so agitated and worried sick (loss of sleep, appetite, inability to concentrate) that I end up avoiding doing them, or am practially INCAPABLE of doing them because I am SO WORKED up.....I can;t even see straight sometimes...and this is not short-term, it snowballs and I can get worse and worse and worse over weeks...i can;t function that way--it becomes difficult if not impossibel to work, study, or do anything but just survive.
This anxiety has kept me stuck for two years now, because every time I think about or move towards change (like moving, starting grad school, travel, etc.) I am made so anxious that I can;t function enough to do it!!
It drives me nuts, because the things I know are good for me, get me so worked up that I can't do them, or at least not without suffering so much that the process is miserable if not impossible.
Of course, this avoidence of doing what I want (and thus avoiding anxiety) has caused me to become seriosuly depressed as well, and I feel that I have accomplished very little the last two years, I have put my life on hold out of fear, and I have isolated myself out of shame and the pain I feel from it all. I am not at all happy with the way my life is now, I am single, hate my job, and feel so lost, I have NOTHING to hold onto, nothing I am afraid to leave here except maybe control and familiarity--but I need change!!
I used to be SO SPONTANEOUS, SO CONFIDENT, SO DRIVEN, SO BRAVE, SO ADVENTURESS but anxiety has turned my identity inside out and i feel so lame, so weak and afraid, empty, lonely and sad. I feel prevented from doing what I want to do, but what;s worse is now I DON'T EVEN KNOW what I want anymore, because I have spent so long living in this cycle of fear-depression-fear-depression that I lost sight of myself and my goals, passions--I feel out of touch with myself and my pupose in life. On the other hand, I know at heart, what I want, what I love, what matters to me, and I want to get back to it! But to do that I need help managing the anxiety. My self-esteem has suffered so much fromt his and I am tired of fighting this everyday battle.
I started seeing a therapist 6 months ago, and he has certainly helped me....My day-to-day anxiety has become easier to manage, and I have gotten better at spending the night away from home, etc....But I am in the thoes of a lot of change now, I am moving out of my house soon, back home for a while--and I am already getting so edgy and nervous--the traffic at my parent;s house is loud and it can grate my hyper-sensetive nerves and keep me awake (it doesn't take much! since its all in my head!)
So, i guess I am having anticipatory anxiety, and I can see how foolish it is, and how much I NEED to do this--and start to move forward in my life i want to go abraod for a year! But how can I if i am so anxious that I loose TONS of sleep over it?
Seriosuly, when I am anxious noises seem amplified, I become hyper-sensetive to the point I cannot relax or function!! I am also very distracted and fatigued on a daily basis, it is almost always very hard for me to concentrate or I simply do not have the energy--another reason I have not applied for grad schools, etc.
Does this happen to any of you guys--the weird hyper-sensetivity to noise? Easily agitated/distracted?
The therapist has helped, greatly, but the bottom line is that this is taking WAY more energy then it should, I am not able to live my life, pursuse my goals, or be happy because of the anxiety, I don;t even feel like myself anymore.....I want my life back!!!!
I think I am going to have to try meds, because I am simply worn out, and I am only 28!!! I want myself back!
I am awesome and SO capable without this damn anxiety!
Please help with any advice you have.
What meds are best to take regularly? No benzos please....
I am ready to move forward, but I need some guidance. Any info is much appreciated!
Has anxiety ever controlled your life this much for so long?
It has really had such a negative impact on my self esteem,. my productivity, sense of purpose and feeling of joy.
Enough is enough!!!
I am determined to heal!