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Old 03-16-2009, 11:49 PM   #1
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enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Hi all

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.
Please help!
Enough is enough!!!
I am determined to heal!







Last edited by mochi*; 03-16-2009 at 11:55 PM.

 
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:21 AM   #2
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

The best med I have taken that doesn't have alot of side effects is Buspar. That worked for 4 years and than I added a little celexa to help with depression. I don't do well on antidepressants. Too many side effects. Hope this helps. Godbless

 
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:28 PM   #3
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Thank you for your reply....May I ask how your depression manifested?
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:31 AM   #4
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

I have taken Zoloft for my anxiety/OCD "flares" a few times over the course of the last several years. I have never been diagnosed with OCD, but I'm fairly certain I have at least a mild form of it. Anxiety seems to stem from my OCD brain patterns. I whip myself into a frenzy over-rationalizing things. At one point, it was sleep - when my son was first born and he was not sleeping, I went nuts trying to find a way for us to get sleep. I thought about it all day every day and would find myself at the same cross-roads in the conversations in my head. I've also done it with blood pressure - and that one gets bad because I woudl find myself checking my blood pressure up to 30 times a day. As long as I'm not over-rationalizing on a particular item I can seem to keep the thoughts at bay (I guess they are intrusive? I don't know, but I can't stop them and they drive me nuts).

At any rate, Zoloft POSITIVELY helps me not get stuck in a "mind rut". I've always said that my brain will just spin over the exact same thing - looking at it from every angle, learning about it, thinking about it, obsessing over it, stuck on it... stuck, stuck, stuck! And the Zoloft seems to sort of "POP" me out of it. I find I can acknowledge the thought, but then simply move on from it. It is SO freeing! However, I've never liked staying on it, so I'll typically go off after 6 months and pray it won't happen again

The thing is that we don't have to think of meds as the "answer" - they are simply a tool to help us. You haven't lost anything by trying them. Maybe they will work? I've also heard that Prozac is good for OCD.

Last edited by ms_mod; 03-18-2009 at 03:31 PM.

 
Old 03-18-2009, 11:45 AM   #5
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Hi Mochi,

I had to reach out to you after reading your post and must say I've been going through my whole life exactly what you wrote. NO, you're not crazy, silly, stupid, etc. It's an illness no matter how embarassing. I am a 31 year old guy and suffered with this disease ever since I was 6 years old. I had my first "episode" when I was 6. I think this is how everything manifested. When I was 6 years old, I went to the mall with my mother. I felt very strange, in like a dream world where everything was distorted. Kind of like the feeling you get when you go to the dentist and are given nitrous oxide, just like that. Well that made me panic and in total fright.

I didn't seek treatment for it until a few years later when I was 12, but they chalked it up to nerves. That episode manifested anxiety and OCDs which lasted to now. Doctors now think that was a mild seizure, brought on by flourescent lights. Fast forward 20+ years, I still have issues with sleeping, excessive worry, sleeping away, "checking" etc.

I also have swallowing issues and choke sometimes if I'm "fixated" on thinking of how I'm swallowing. I panic in the dentists chair and need to be knocked out if I'm in the chair for longer than 5 minutes. I had an MRI done and felt panic but wouldnt say anything becuase I would just have to start the MRI all over again. I paniced because I was afraid I wouldnt be able to swallow and I might choke.

I can only work for myself and have to be "free". Like you said, if there is a major event that I must do, I freak out and worry myself up so much I don't sleep a wink. But as a 31 year old man, I just suck it up and suffer in silence. Not good for the health but beats the alternative.

I can write forever here but just wanted to see if you'd like to start a correspondence and maybe help each other? It's nice to see there is someone who can relate to what my life has been like. Anyway, I hope we can talk.

Take care,
Brian

Last edited by ms_mod; 03-18-2009 at 03:33 PM.

 
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:37 AM   #6
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Thanks everyone!

I am really sleepy right now, so I don't have the energy to say everything I would like to, but I will say that I am DONE with this dominating my life, sure, I have had good periods, but those are fewer and farther between as I get older. I just looked at something I had written 10 years ago!!! and it was almost exactly what I am STILL feeling now (except I was more hopeful I would find a way to get out of it)
But I am almost 30, and have SO MUCH potential, but so much has gone to waste because of this damn disorder.
I am afraid to try medication, but I think it may be the best thing I can do for myself at this point. I cannot afford to let this interfere anymore. I want to get better.

 
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:07 PM   #7
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Hi

I am 47 years old. I first had very difficult anxiety attacks at age 25. I suffered for years without knowing what was going on. When I did understand with the help of therapy, I resisted medication for years and years. As time has gone on I began to realise that there is no need to fear medication if you use it wisely and in consultation with good doctors. I have tried various things but these days I use Xanax as required and it really helps me. I also take sleeping pills as needed which helps me get my rest if anxious. Good diet, exercise, social life and noticing my own mental symptoms is important. In my case I found that the issue didnt go away but it became managable and I am able to keep a good full time job and be a mother. I cut out socialising if I dont feel able.

 
Old 03-22-2009, 11:44 AM   #8
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Quote:
Originally Posted by mochi* View Post
Thanks everyone!

I am really sleepy right now, so I don't have the energy to say everything I would like to, but I will say that I am DONE with this dominating my life, sure, I have had good periods, but those are fewer and farther between as I get older. I just looked at something I had written 10 years ago!!! and it was almost exactly what I am STILL feeling now (except I was more hopeful I would find a way to get out of it)
But I am almost 30, and have SO MUCH potential, but so much has gone to waste because of this damn disorder.
I am afraid to try medication, but I think it may be the best thing I can do for myself at this point. I cannot afford to let this interfere anymore. I want to get better.

Hi!
just wanted you to know even here in Finalnd there is somebody walking along similar road as you, and had also enough. I also wrote down everything that has been going on for the past 4 years and looked at the writing "as an outsider" and realised how things are really not the way I want them to be. It is easy to "cocoon" yourself into this "avoiding everything, being prepared for the worse, afraid of everything"-mode and somehow live with it day by day until you have accepted thats the way you just are. Looking at your freinds etc with jealousy thinking wow, I wish I could do that, but its not for me anymore. And Im 32. Feeling like 80 actually i bet some of them feel much beter. But anyway, finally after years of refusing to take any medication (except the occasional half a benzo, yes, even half of that cause am afraid of medications) I decided last week as you said " enough is enough", and asked a prescription from my therapist. (been doing CT for 3 years). I said to myself why am I being so hard on myself, trying to prove that "I can handle this without any medication" and even harder to my husband and friends, cause they have to put up with my ups and downs all the time. Why shoudlnt I just try the meds to see if there really is another way of being. Even though am dead scared of taking them cause of side effects, this is no way of going on.. can you imagine if we live up to be 90!! How many years of feeling miserable there is still to come I would love to say if I get to be that old that I had many many wonderful years. And i tried everything to experience them. The point being, maybe we really owe it to ourselves to try the meds, when such things are out there for us. I still have the meds here, have not started them cause find excuses all the time, but now I have to be brave and strong and finally tomorrow start them, and see what good comes out of them. <BY THE WAY>I think about eg hormone treatments, and about eg every treatment what really sick patients have to take, and the idea of an SSRI is not so scary anymore. Even when starting or taking anticontraceptives some women go through really rough time, they might even be more rough on your body than ssr.
It would be great to know if you have already started and how you are feeling. Stay strong, you can do it!!

Last edited by ms_mod; 03-22-2009 at 01:30 PM. Reason: As per the posting rules, always use whole words in your posts. Ms_Mod

 
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:10 PM   #9
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Re: enough is enough! anxiety has taken over, trying meds finally--input please

Dear Mochi and all, You do not suffer alone. I am 44 and have been suffering since my late teens with anxiety and panic. It has ruined parts of my life when I have let it control me. I don't know where to even start.

I have let my fear keep my from traveling. Although I have seen alot of the world, I have cancelled flights and not gone places because I am afraid to fly. I am afraid of health issues all the time. My fears have gotten worse into my 40's. Could be perimenopause but regardless I don't know how to fix them. I have OCD about germs and diseases. I am afraid of catching things from people. I am afraid of dying, suffering...I am afraid of choking too. I am really afraid of having allergic reactions to things and rightly so, I have plenty of allergies. I broke out in hives from head to toe after taking Immodium Ad. Every little ailment makes me ALWAYS think the worst. Why do I do that?

I am going to counseling. I have only had 3 sessions. I am trying to see if she can help me through this disorder. I too have put aside many things in my life because I am just dealing with these problems, fears and worries. Somedays I don't get much done. I type online and watch movies to try and not think about this. I have been working out and that helps. But somedays I don't because I feel lousy. I imagine alot of you can relate.

Thanks for listening!

 
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