I don't know exactly where to begin. Looking back, I have probably suffered from anxiety since still pretty young. I believe my anxiety is both generic and environmental. I say generic because I can clearly see it on my dad's side of the family. And I say environmental because there was a great deal of stressors in our home when I was growing up, and I had to deal with stuff that therapists agree was a bit too much for a child to handle.
I have done therapy, CBT and otherwise, including EMDR. I have been treated with antidepressants a couple of times in my life, once for post-partum depression and once when my partner was in the Iraq war and for 9 months I wondered if he was dead or alive. I have also been treated for PTSD following a date rape a few years ago. Traumas have had their way finding me, unfortunately. For some reason, however, I have never been able to verbalize to anyone what I am about to try to explain here.
When I hear about anxiety,I hear about the big symptoms, so to speak, which I'm familiar with and have experienced myself at some point, but those are NOT the symptoms that are destroying my life. It is the little things that anxiety brings into my world every day - the ones that I barely noticed myself until very recently - that are the most damaging and debilitating.
Anxiety paralyzes me. I don't mean literally or in a physical way. I feel that anxiety paralyzes me because it stops me from taking action and moving forward. This paralyzation spawns other issues that make me more anxious, which inevitably paralyzes me even more.
This paralysis, so to speak, seems to be a (ineffective) coping mechanism and by that I mean the cycles goes like this: I don't want to deal with something that causes anxiety, I avoid it. By avoiding this anxiety provoking stimulus, I enable an anxiety provoking issue or multiple anxiety provoking issues to arise. Then by avoiding the new issues (because they are too stressful), I cause even further issues. Pretty soon I'm drowned in my anxiety and everything that it has brought with it. To top it off, I feel like a failure because I cannot control this anxiety.
Let me give one concrete example of what I mean. Please remember this is just one example. There are other ones that have not to do with money as this one does. (Also, please keep an open mind and don't judge.
... I do enough of judging and self-hating because of it myself.)
I am getting ready for work and while thinking of all the stuff I have to deal with at work, I become overwhelmed with anxiety which paralizes me. (Again, not literally... I mean overwhelmed with anxiety to the point where I can't focus, get ready and go...) I know I'm going to run out of time but I keep acting as if I won't. This makes me delay my departure as much as possible and I end up being late to work.
When I get there late and there is no parking available anymore in the parking structure, I have to park on the street. I know that if I don't move my car within 2 hours I will get a parking ticket, but I can't think straight or deal with it better (I just want to get out of the situation of looking for parking and not risk being punished by my boss) so I park right there.
While at work I remember that I have to move my car, but I must leave in the middle of what I'm doing and that causes anxiety, so I don't go.
I get to my car at the end of the day and see the parking ticket. This is where it starts getting really messed up. I don't pay for the parking ticket because day-after-day I get anxious about things as stupid as stopping on the way to work to drop off the payment in the mail.
So I end up forgetting about it (more like avoidance now that I think about it), and don't pay for the car registration before it's due because now with the parking tickets there, the amount has become high and I worry that if I pay for it, I won't have money to eat. (I am on a tight budget
but I cannot work literally work on budgets or stick with them because I feel overwhelmed.) So I avoid this and avoid that and the next things I know a cop stops me because my regitration/tags are now expired.
At that point, the costs of the delinquent ticket, delinquent registration and new ticket really start add up and the mess starts to pile up. The more they add up and pile up, the more anxious I become and the more I avoid doing anything that I should be doing, the worse it gets.
My days become filled with things like this. I had a perfect credit score until about 2 or 3 years ago and now I have debtor's calling me and harrassing me. I feel like my life is out of control because this horrible anxiety rules my every move, every single day.
Please help me. I would sincerely love to hear what others here might have to say about what I'm describing. I hope that someone out there will read this and explain help shed some light on this. I am a college educated woman, a respected professional, a dedicated and loving mother (according to my own daughter and friends and family), a very loyal partner and friend, I know that I am a good person and deserves a happy life. What I am going through brings me down and it's a very dark secret that I don't feel I can share with those I love the most. Please help.