So, I continue to suffer through anxiety and depression after 6 long years, and after my latest low-point (back in Jan of this year) I am now going through some very irrational fears. Things I know are irrational, and silly, yet they impede me from actually doing them or living life. I get into my head and can't get out. I fear getting the mail, or taking a walk, or taking the dogs for a walk, preparing a meal, taking a shower.
I can't pinpoint the root of the fear, or the trigger, but every thought about doing these tasks makes me more prone to sitting on the couch and freezing into inaction. Paying a bill. Making a phone call. Talking with family. Sometimes even changing the channel on the TV. Every thought is negative. Every thing I see in life is catastrophized. I will be sitting outside having a cigarette, and I'll see a car driving too fast and I immediately think "What a jerk, he's going too fast, he's going to hit that car, he's going to hit that bicyclist" and this goes on in my head minute after minute with everything my eyes and mind see and process.
I play through 'imaginary' conversations in my head about situations that don't even occur--sort of a "this is what I would say if ABC said XYZ." For instance, when I smoke outside, and I hear a door slam or heavy walking in the upstairs unit I immediately think they are angry I am smoking because it is bothering them, smoke drifting up to their open patio door, etc. When I drive (which I currently don't any longer bc of fear and my reactions) and someone is tailing too close, I get infuriated and take it personally and then become enraged.
I am hypersensitive to anyone and everyone--and over analyze every piece of my life and my thoughts. I'm a business analyst and this analytical mind--which I once thought was such an asset to my career--is ruining my life and peace and sanity. I don't get panic attacks. I do not fear panic attacks. I actually have only had one or two in my life. It's the every moment, self-checking, how do I feel, what sensations, am I scared, what's happening tomorrow, next week, what happened yesterday, constant internal dialogue and memories of the bad... the psych hospital twice... the medications I don't want to be on the rest of my life. It's all so intrusive.
I can't relate to so many others out there or my therapist, because I hear others' fears stated as "Well, I don't go to grocery stores because I fear a panic attack" or "I avoid social interaction because I fear a panic attack" but I don't fear the panic attacks. I can't pinpoint what the fear is. But I won't take action and just 'do' or 'be.' So now I am beginning to think I am seriously mentally ill with no hope of moving forward. I'm a perfectionist. I have no self-esteem. I feel guilt about every little thing I may do or say. I feel like I have developed PTSD from the hospital psych ward, I am so scared of having to go back. Or going to rock bottom again as I did back in January. I am always irritated, agitated, angry at the world, because of the anxiety, depression, the physical manifestations... all I want to do is sleep after work because I am mentally and physically exhausted. I try to meditate, try to work on the items my therapist suggests but my mind just can't do it. Is this mental block, irrational fear... but lack of actual panic attacks part of anxiety? Just a different branch? I know what I need to do, I just can't do it. It's so hard to muster up the mental strength to do anything. Yet in my head it seems so easy, these tasks that I can't get done. Any books, advice on therapies, schools of thought to research?
Thanks for your time...
Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.
It sounds like you've been going through so much for so long, it's got to be utterly draining for you. I had several thoughts while reading your question.
Please keep in mind these are not definitive diagnoses (as we can't do that over the internet with limited information).
1. You may be on the right track with the thought that maybe you have PTSD. I was actually thinking about that before I got to that part. The parts that triggered this thought for me were:
Becoming paralyzed to the point of not paying bills, hypersensitivity to thoughts, noises, the fear, anxiety, etc... There's not enough information here and these symptoms fit other disorders, but the overall tone of your writing made me think of that first.
2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) People with GAD generally do not have panic attacks. (Also, by the way, people with PTSD may or may not have panic attacks, but they do not fear them).
A characteristic of GAD is pervasive, persistent worry about everything --the depth and breadth of worry with someone who has GAD is astounding, it runs into all aspects of life.
Both PTSD and GAD can trigger depression and both are exhausting disorders to have.
You said you have a therapist --what diagnosis did he/she give you?
You need an accurate diagnosis to proceed further, so that's your first step. If your current therapist is not a licensed professional, you might need to go to a Psychologist to get an assessment done.
PTSD can be treated with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) www.emdr.com -- where you process through trauma or other "stuck points" until they do not have the same effect on you. It's different from talk therapy in that you do not have to dwell for great lengths of time on particular issues, rather you go there "long enough to get the job done."
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) might be useful for you. www.mindovermood.com, and www.nacbt.org/whatiscbt.htm
CBT examines the interplay between beliefs, emotions, behavior, and feelings in one's body when in a particular situation. Intervention in one area will affect the entire system. With CBT one does a lot of work with identifying beliefs and making counter or alternative beliefs to the irrational ones. These are then tested out in real life situations in the form of "experiments."
Please let me know if this addresses your question adequately. First and foremost, I think you need a diagnosis, but I'd be happy to follow up on any of these points with you.
My Diagnosis back in the Treatment Center I checked into earlier this year was Major Depressive Disorder, SAD and GAD. Sometimes I wonder if the medication is making things worse than better. I know it makes me tired, but I have never felt 'good' just balanced enough to get along through my day.
OK --so I wasn't too far off, then! I would be happy to discuss this with you further, but I was about to sign off for awhile, so I am sorry about that. If you would like, we can continue later. If you want me to address some specific concerns, you can post them now, and I'll address them when I return. As far as the meds go --I'd stress to your doctor about how you feel, maybe there's something different (if you haven't been through a lot of them). If not, you might want to look into Neurofeedback ---www.eeginfo.com --a non-drug alternative for depression and anxiety.
Again, I'm sorry you caught me as I'm leaving --but I'd be more than happy to pick up with you later.
Sounds good. I'll re-read things for a bit and let you know. I appreciate the time.
OK --sounds like a plan then!