My Anxiety Story

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Hey All,

I've been thinking of writing my thoughts down as a form of therapy as I've never done it before.  I've been browsing a bit and this forum seems like a great place to share ideas and thoughts.

Sorry If this ends up being long and rambling....I don't expect anyone to read it all.  

Just a few facts about myself:  I'm a 38 yo male, married to an amazing girl and we have a 2yo son.  I have a great job making over 6 figures and have been with my job for over 4 years.

I've dealt with some form of anxiety since I was a kid.  My earliest memory is when I was watching the exorcist at like 12 yo at home by myself and vomiting because this overwhelming fear came over me.  I have no idea why I was home by myself watching one of the scariest movies ever.... lol.  Thats when it started and for years after my main symptom was nausea.  I could not eat especially in front of people.  Even in my 20's I would freak out If I was invited to my girlfriends family dinner or something like that.  Then one day in my mid 20's, I took a job as a part time cab driver while in college and had my first real panic attack while driving a cancer patient home from the hospital.  I had to pull over on the highway and she actually took the car home from there.  Needless to say, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.  That was the beginning of the other range of symptoms.  I had a girlfriend at the time who I was riding in a car with shortly after that incident and had another major panic attack.  Of course, at the time, these symptoms were so new to me that I felt like I was dying.  She never understood and eventually broke up with me because of it.  During those years, I was also going to school in the medical field and could barely sit through class as I felt everyones eyes on me.  Many years after that and sometimes even to this day, I get very anxious thinking about driving with someone in the car.  I know most people with anxiety would feel better with someone but I was the opposite.  I think its because I'm embarrassed to show any symptoms in front of anyone.  It was so much worse back then but has gotten increasingly bettter over the years.  After my first car panic attack, I would freak out If someone even mentioned driving together somewhere.  

I've also tried marijuana before my major attacks and at first I was in love with the feeling.  Until one day, I had a major attack after a bong hit and once again my mind was opened to new symptoms.  Since then I rarely smoke but I do love to drink.  For years I've had a love hate relationship with alcohol.  To this day, I'm masking my anxiety with alcohol when it is extreme and I need to get through the day.  I'm embarrassed to say that I keep alcohol with me sometimes just in case.  I've noticed as I've gotten older, the hangovers are the worst and make my anxiety 10x worse.  So I try to limit my drinking and use it only to the point where I feel better but won't have a bad hangover.  I should note that I also take a low dosage of paroxetine daily and have for years.  (thats the only med I take).  

I'm sure many of you can relate but I feel as though my anxiety is cyclic - where I can go a month with little to no anxiety or weeks and then bam, it starts again.  Mornings weekdays are the worst and I tend to feel better as it gets closer to the weekend.  I'm in good physical shape but I joined a gym to start exercising more as that always helps.  But when I start to feel better, I stop doing anything proactive.  My problem is that I need to keep these healthy routines up even when I'm not anxious rather than trying to put out the fire.  I'm always worried about what the long term health effects will be since I've had symptoms for most of my life.  I'm afraid to go to the doctor, afraid my bp will be high.  If I hear someone died, I'm always curious how so I can freak myself out If it was health related.  The funny thing is, is that I feel like I'm an expert on the topic of anxiety and ways to overcome it but I don't follow my own advice.  

I'm not really sure how to classify myself since I do have a somewhat normal life with great friends and family.  I'm successful and have everything I want so you would think I would just be happy and appreciate life and stop bringing myself back to this dreadful mental state.

Anyway, thank for reading and I look forward to hearing everyones thoughts.  smile

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hey man, 

    This post relates to me so much. I have anxiety issues, but I try to keep my life as normal as possible. I have a great job, I just bought a home, and I'm young and I have a lot to look forward to.

    I beat anxiety for nearly 5 years and it came back after the death of my friend and roommate, and I've been in a spiral since. My health anxiety has been massive and it's really hard to deal sometimes.

    Do you have any tips to how to keep it from affecting your work life? 

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    • Posted

      Hey Bud,

      Thanks for reading.  Sorry to hear you are feeling this way but at least you know you're not alone.  What kind of job do you have?  How does it affect your work life day to day?

      Obviously I'm not a great example of how to cope in healthy ways but I do know the right things to do.  Fortunately my job is flexible so on days that I may not be feeling my best, I can work from home.  My best advice would be to start off your day with exercise so you can release those endorphins which will help you cope with the rest of the day.  


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    • Posted

      I work in consulting. Health anxiety sucks because the smallest pain will set me off on a downward spiral. I work directly with clients so I never want to seem vulnerable infront from them, so it's difficult to hold it together.

      I might do the exercise thing, I'm also waiting on therapy at the end-or-so of June and I'm also considering meds for when I'm really haviong a rough go.

      How about you?

      What kind of job do you have?

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    • Posted

      I work in real estate management so I'm out and about visiting properties often and most of my communication is via email.  I have an office in NYC where I work from when I actually go into the office.  I have board meetings 4-5 times a month so I know the feeling of having symptoms when you have to portray a confident image.  

      Meds are not a bad idea to help along with therapy.  You have benzos which are fast acting and taken as needed but can be addicting and I feel lose their effectiveness after you use them for a long period, then you have SSRI's which are taken daily and I think are better for general anxiety.  I know many people take both.

      Trust me, having an almost daily exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  I know its easier said than done, which is why I have a gym membership and struggle to make it a routine.  But one thing I do know, is when I go routinely, I feel 10x better mentally and physically.

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  • Posted

    The drinking part needs to go and be addressed.not sure you can master that alone. Quietly, you can do it privately not using any insurance from anyone so noone would know. A terrible way to mask this all. I wonder if you are a functional alcoholic as a result. Only you know. Maybe seeking treatment for that aspect they would guide you on the underlying cause of a panic disorder. I strongly doubt you are the only one who uses alcohol to tame it. I never have so i have no knowledge to guide that aspect. For the rest..Have you tried hypnotherapy? Someone on here did and it helped them. I think you go a handful of times. Worth a shot..another idea for you and your wife to go on an anxiety retreat. Four or five days long and they go through all relaxinig stuff to do. Nice vacation,.google anxiety retreats in your area.
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    • Posted

      Thanks Lisa.  I'm well aware that the alcohol needs to go but for some reason I keep using it to cope and I can't imagine my life without it.  I agree that in some way I may be a functional alcoholic even though I don't drink everyday.  When my anxiety symptoms are in check, I just drink socially.  If anyone is using alcohol to mask symptoms, its definitely a problem.  I've never tried hypnotherapy but I've also never believed in those methods.  I've also been thinking of trying meditation but I find it hard to sit there with my thoughts.

      An anxiety retreat def sounds relaxing - I'll check it out.


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