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  • my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd



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    Old 06-10-2004, 10:49 PM   #1
    Frank168
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    my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    this is a crosspost from OCD board but relevant:

    Not sure how to begin this but basically I want to tell you guys of my personal journey and struggles with OCD, anxiety disorder, and depression and how I got myself out of this nightmarish experience. My struggles all started a few years ago when I contemplated leaving my wife due to a series of arguments. I started questioning if I really loved her and if maybe someone better is out there for me thatís more compatible. At the time in my gut I really felt that my soul mate was out there waiting for me somewhere and Iíve made a mistake in my marriage. Since that time I began having panic attack after panic attack and a branching off of obsessive thoughts about other subjects, ocd symptoms started to rain down. Itís like, if all I believed in suddenly didnít make sense anymore. I began seeing images of hurting her, stabbing her, had intense anger that wasnít appropriate towards her, etc. I knew she was the wrong person for me, she couldnít give me what I needed. I was trapped, I became depressed, I began to associate her with my problems and started to develop a phobia of her. Iíd constantly check myself to see if I really love her and if I do how come I feel this way. Relationship OCD I guess. Itís like I love and care for this woman, and have been with her all these years yet something was missing. As I became more and more stressed I developed high blood pressure and a whole lot of strange aches and pains. My mind and body was falling apart.

    One day I read about some guys gay OCD symptoms on the boards and started to dwell on it. Said to myself donít think about it, donít think about it, but the more I tried not to the more I had to. I started to have nightmares, insomnia, tinnitus, night sweats, sleep paralysis. Man you name it I had it. Despite my hellish experience I didnít choose to seek medication and decided to stick it out. I did lots of cognitive behavioral work on my own, read many books on marriage and relationships. Eventually I sorted out my doubts about my marriage and learned that it doesnít matter, that there is no ďanswerĒ to love and it doesnít matter if you have doubts about your feelings. Many people do and itís normal. I eventually learned that love is not something out there that serves you to make you feel good all that time. I learned that all the things I felt marriage was supposed to GIVE me was not owed to me but what I had to build. I finally saw how selfish a person I really was and decided to do things more for other people instead of taking and expecting. Eventually I learned to let things go and that was the beginning to my slow road to recovery.

    Even after I started changing myself for the better, the effects of my depression, anxiety, and ocd have really taken a toll on my mind and body and was taking on a life of itís own. I started improving by learning to let go of my over concerns for feeling good. Here was the key for me, once I gave up having to feel perfect that was when I actually started getting better. One guy at work who has lifelong insomnia told me that my insomnia was nothing. He told me I was just an amateur insomniac he said, ďyou gotta be like me, and not give a shiitĒ. I couldnít accept that initially, but eventually I understood that by not accepting my problem I was making it worse. My insomnia started to lift when I didnít care that I only got 3 hrs sleep. At my worst I had only 2 hrs a night. I said to myself if I got by on 2 hrs before then me only getting 4 hrs today is pretty damn good. So I was able let that go eventually. I was tired as hell at work but I dragged myself through it all. My gay ocd I started to conquer when my sister asked me if I still liked girls. I told her yeah. But I canít stop looking at men. Eventually I saw that the way I look at men and women are totally different. When I look at men I look at them because I am scared that Iíd be attracted to them and that gives me anxiety. The more I ďlook outĒ for guys that I may be attracted to, the more of apprehensive I get and the more I keep looking out for men. This is hypervigilance but itís looking out for danger not due to attraction. When I look out for women itís totally different. I guess many people when the ďcheckĒ themselves and their reactions this way, it perpetuates the cycle. I always obsessed in my mind of performing homosexual acts with other men. Then Iíd check my reaction and sure enough when I concentrate on my genitals some reaction takes place. To quote George Costanza I think IT MOVED! that slight movement happens and I think oh hell I AM GAYÖ that went on and on for the longest time. Eventually I got to seeing the right way to look at this. Eventually I said to myself whatís the worst thing I can be? Bisexual? So what? Bisexuals can choose, whatís your choice? When it came to having sex with men, I asked myself is this what I want? My answer was no. Do I PLAN on actually pursuing a homosexual encounter and reenacting these scenarios in real life? My answer was hell no. Do I plan to? No. So do I want to? No. Eventually after a long time, I could let that go. Like my insomnia once I stopped caring about the worst case scenario of being bisexual, the fears started tapering off.

    Digging deeper I got to the understanding that all my obsessions, these thoughts, these impulses, everything was basically this. Stress and anxiety induced hyperactive Imagination. All those intrusive thoughts was just my imagination. Ever since I was a kid I always had my heads in the clouds. Iím a person who never was present in the moment. I constantly had my mind in other places. When I see myself hurting others, doing things I donít want to etc itís all part of my obsessive imagination. An over active imagination that has been induced by my underlying ambivalence to marriage, life and the future I suppose. In any case the more I came to realize this the more I could release my obsession with my obsessions and anxiety if that makes any sense. When I stopped running from my own crazy imagination and just let them be, the less they occurred. I started taking care of myself, so that I can better take care of the people close to me. I started giving more instead of expecting more from life. I changed my diet, had better sleep habits, took up new interests, and all that opened up the clouds so to speak and I saw the light. I learned that there is a true me underneath all my twisted thoughts. That when Iím mad, depressed, happy, or frightened itís all transitory, all temporary.. emotions are temporary, and that thereís something greater behind the scenes, that is the true me and I got in touch with that aspect. I saw the undercurrent of my own being if you will, who I am, who I was, and know now that itís up to me to become who I want to become. Thoughts, feelings, emotionsÖ I guess in the past thatís all I thought being alive was aboutÖ but when your thoughts betray you, and emotions betray youÖ whatís left? I was in despair because I couldnít answer that but later I understood. There IS something else and we are more than just our thoughts and just our feelings.

    Iím not 100% cured however. I think after a long period of going through these stresses and brain chemistry problems Iíll never be 100% again. Iíll always have a few pangs of anxiety now and then and slumps of depression every once in a while but itís different now. I can let them come and go and when I take that attitude they do go rather quickly. No Iím not cured and I still have lifelong issues to work out, but I know I will get them worked out because Iím determined not lie to myself anymore and Iím not as afraid of what may lie ahead for me. To highlight one example of how Iíve changed my mindset. I used to listen to people and never drink coffee or tea fearing the caffine will set off another panic attack so I avoided it drinking anything with caffine for a long time. Now I say I think Iím gonna have a nice hot cup of strong coffee, whatís the worst that can happen another panic attack? Well it may or may not come, but who cares in the mean time Iím gonna enjoy my coffee damn it! I may no longer be Ďthe way I wasí anymore but thatís okay. That was a big problem for me, I was so angry and felt so cheated by life I wanted sooo desperately to be Ďthe way I wasí why me why me!? I used to lie in misery every night asking God why did you let this happen to me?! Eventually I got the answer to ďwhy meĒ The answer is, Itís all because of me! No, a bolt of lightning didnít strike me, nor did a divine voice speak to me. I got the answer on my own and I did it through hard work and perseverance and digging deep. Now I understand that in many ways even if Iím less ďmentally healthyĒ now Iím becoming a much better person because of it. Someone that I can be proud of. I finally let the NEED to feel perfect all the time go.

    I just want to tell everyone to not give up on yourselves and to take a stand, face your fears and let your preoccupations and obessions go, you do that by accepting how you are in all your misery. Itís very hard to accept but acceptance is really the first step to recovery. Can you accept it? I know I couldnít for a long long time but eventually it comes. As long as you have hope, try hard, and know that even when you have nothing left there is still more. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions, donít blame anyone, donít expect others to fix you. Nobody is coming to fix you. You gotta know how to be strong enough to fix yourself. Iím sure there are many success stories out there but maybe not many want to say anything and move on. Maybe thatís why all we read about here are symptoms and problems. Hopefully you folks who have found the road to recovery will, like me, come back here to tell of your journey too. Good luck.

    Frank

     
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    Old 06-17-2004, 04:11 PM   #2
    madcat
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    HA! Why has nobody responded to this? I agree 1000% with Frank! This is what you need to read...Thanks Frank for taking the time to tell us your story.

    The reason I'm so enthusiastic is because I thought I was the only one who came out of a nose dive from this. I think my life is going to be better than it would have had this not happened to me. It's all about getting to the root of your problem and letting go of the fear that people aren't going to be able to empathize with your problems and/or that you are alone and you'll never know yourself. Help yourself figure out who you are and think positive. Positivity, motivation, goals, awareness and self-love (of course that means love for others) will be the answer to your problems.

    You really can get better, and those dark feelings will pass.

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 04:27 PM   #3
    dizzygirl
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Frank, Thank you so much for sharing your story with. I think sometimes we complain too much, and don't focus on moving on. We are all trying, and it certainly helps to know that it CAN be done. Sometimes it is soooo hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. Did you go for therapt at all? Good luck in the future, and thanks.

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 04:32 PM   #4
    madcat
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Hey:

    >> Just so you know I did go to therapy to talk some of this stuff out. I'm also on SSRI, but I've put in alot of work to help get myself thinking more out of that box...

    May sound like I'm just messing with you...but try things you normally wouldn't, exercise often, and have a good time. Make sure you find something you're motivated to do- and that you're interested in for life.

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 04:50 PM   #5
    dizzygirl
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    I know what ya mean. When I push myself to do something when I don't feel well, or I'm not in the mood, I feel better about myself. What are you currently taking?

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 08:38 PM   #6
    Frank168
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Wow didn't think anyone would respond to what I wrote. Just want to let you all know that it can pass and will pass if you are willing to do the work. If you just play it passive and pity yourself I'm sure you'll just get worse. It's really easy to play the victim when this stuff hits you but we all really have to take responsibility for ourselves. It's YOUR life, not your doctors, your therapists, your pharmacists etc. I did see a therapist for a short time but didn't get much out of it. If anything made me more confused than I was. Doctors were not much help just wanted to push the meds on me. After doing tons of research as I'm sure most of you have done, I had decided I wasn't going to play Russian roulette with my brain. Got ****** off and decided to tackle it on my own. After a lot of self exploration and inner work I dug myself out of this. Basically don't be afraid of your anxiety and don't run from it. Do the opposite of what your anxiety want's you to do and you'll come out on top of it. Take care.

    Frank

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 09:54 PM   #7
    Portia26
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank168
    Do the opposite of what your anxiety want's you to do and you'll come out on top of it.
    Words to live by!

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 04:44 AM   #8
    madcat
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Frank:

    Do you mean taking meds was playing Russian Roulette with your brain?

    Dizzy:

    At the moment I'm on Prozac and Viagra to counteract the Prozac. Didn't need the latter before starting the former but the combination helps alot for certain aspects...

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 09:52 AM   #9
    yazzer
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    AMEN, Frank! See my post under drugs vs natural methods in the Panic Disorder Section. I agree with your concept 100% That involves a life style change - bigtime. It's tough but it can be done no doubt. However, your "old" anxious self will fight your efforts to becaome a new happy self every step of the way. I see this now. The meds have complicated my efforts here cuz they cause withdrawal that you cannot "will against" - Instead, I am tapering down slowly, doing some CBT with a professional and will indeed make that change - come Hell or high water. I lost 80 lbs last year coming down from 275 to 195 and I am now in the best shape of my 44-year life physically. That took a major life style change - now, I am prepared to work on the mental side of the change too. Woo-Hoooooo. A key as you said is to stop the self-pity (most of us have an unseen "benefit" for holding on to our panic/anxiety) - I am working to find mine and letting it go. BRAVO.

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 04:11 PM   #10
    madcat
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Good to hear you guys...this is what we need more of.

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 07:33 PM   #11
    Frank168
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    Re: my story and beating anxiety, depression, ocd

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by madcat
    Frank:

    Do you mean taking meds was playing Russian Roulette with your brain?

    Dizzy:

    At the moment I'm on Prozac and Viagra to counteract the Prozac. Didn't need the latter before starting the former but the combination helps alot for certain aspects...

    Madcat: Yep didn't want to take meds since I personally feel that when it comes to treating the brain with drugs we are still in the dark ages. Until they can measure which chemicals are in excess or deficient in my brain with some new technique, I don't trust the trial and error methods they use now. Last thing I need is to feel numbed to my pain and possibly have to deal with dependence on a medication. I didn't rule out drugs completely but it was to be my last resort. Now that I'm feeling way better on my own I can say confidently that I am glad I didn't use the meds. The body I believe has a tendency to balance it'self out and I simply allowed it to do it's job while helping it along by changing my beliefs and attitudes. I also started treating my body better with a better diet, Omega 3, Vitamins, and excercise.

    Frank

     
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