Living with Anxiety


Anxiety is a bitch.

My emotional side and my logical side were constantly in a tug of war with each other. I had always been an incredibly logical person and was capable of removing emotion from any situation in order to determine the correct course of action. Whether that be decision making or responding to tense or confrontational situations. While I was suffering from Anxiety I lost this quality in myself, and I've always felt like that is a big component of what made me, me. I had lost a lot of who I was when I was initially diagnosed with Anxiety, and after I began taking medication it was back to my regularly scheduled programming for roughly six months, and then I lost it again which invariably led to an increase in the dosage of the medication I was taking. It was an incredibly confusing time for me, and it showed.

Anxiety presented itself to me in a way that I didn't initially consider as stereotypical Anxiety. Lack of concentration was a very big part of it for me, but I couldn't stop thoughts from racing through my head. These thoughts were mostly trivial in nature and weren't a feeling of "impending doom" which is what I considered Anxiety to be at the time, I just didn't feel good enough. For anything. I didn't consider waking up at 2am and be being unable to get back to sleep because I had "Cotton-Eyed Joe" running through my head on repeat for hours on end to be a sign of Anxiety. Fucking Rednex. I would think about work. Planning activities to do with the kids. Everything and anything, and it was a constant state for me. My son got a Hot Wheels track for Christmas and there's a motorised spinning wheel in the middle that launches these small hunks of metal around the inside of a meteor at breakneck speeds until they collide and come crashing down in a blur of green windshields, flame paint jobs and chrome rims. It's fucking awesome. Anyway, that's how my head felt.

That's how it all started for me, but after a few months on medication when my mental state started worsening again, it was a high level of agitation. It was being unable to control my emotions like I previously took so much pride in being able to do. It was being unable to analyse all outcomes to a situation logically. It was an incredibly high level of paranoia which led to an "everyone vs me" mentality. The ordering of that is important because I truly felt like everyone was judging and criticising every single action I would take/didn't take. Everything from my parenting to my driving. I knew I had no reason to feel this way, but I couldn't stop. I felt like I was walking on eggshells around everyone I was close to, which led to them feeling like they needed to do the same in regards to me. This feeling was expressed to me by literally everybody close to me in some capacity. I was unpredictable and unreadable, and rightfully so because I WAS being unpredictable. I didn't even know how I was going to react to things at times, and I couldn't seem to control it. I hated feeling that way in myself. That person isn't me.

I felt awkward around people who I had absolutely no need to feel awkward around. Friends. Family. Co-workers. I felt like my mere inclusion in social events was an inconvenience for everybody partaking in them, and the emotional side of me was convinced I was being mocked or ridiculed. If I told a funny story and nobody laughed I would feel like I was being criticized. If I saw a sign that, if looked at the right way, could be used to convince myself I was an inconvenience, the emotional side of me would latch on to that like a dingo to a baby and would refuse to let go. No matter how hard the logical side of me tried fighting it off.

I was at a friend's birthday party one night with my partner at the time, and we were all sitting in a circle around a fire pit. She got up from beside me to sit on the opposite side of the circle to have a cigarette because she knew I didn't like the smell, which I can recognise as an incredibly thoughtful thing to do. At the time I even appreciated her for doing that. Suddenly, that emotional side of me was convincing me that this innocent and thoughtful action was done out of embarrassment. I felt like she was embarrassed to be there with me, or that I had somehow done something wrong. I knew I hadn't, and the logical side of me was trying so hard to tell me this, but the harder I tried the more agitated I was becoming. My head was fighting with itself and it wouldn't stop until I got all of that agitation out, and it came out in ways I wasn't proud of. I was condescending, arrogant, and would talk over anyone to get my feelings across. Once it had all came out and I'd reached a very solid neutral point, I crashed. Usually for a few days. I felt emotionless for days recovering from the shame of my actions and for the way I was thinking, and that was slowly becoming a more frequent occurrence in my life. The more frequent it happened, the stronger the agitation I would experience became. I wanted to stop. I didn't want to feel that way. I didn't want to make the people close to me feel the way I was making them feel. I tried so damn hard to prevent it from happening because I knew what I was doing, but the harder I tried to stop, the worse it all became. I couldn't control my emotions, and it's so hard to convey how frustrating that was to me. How frustrating it still is when I look back on it. Someone who takes so much pride in the way he handles difficult and confrontational situations, and I couldn't even control my own thoughts. The more it happened, the more of a failure I felt. The paranoia and the feeling of generally not being good enough were starting to control all facets of my life. If anxiety was a physical entity, by this point it would have been as shredded as The Rock.

If anyone reading this is suffering from Anxiety and is going through a constant cycle of increasing your medication because things are getting worse and you or your loved ones are seeing no improvement, I encourage you to talk to a medical professional about Serotonin Syndrome and whether or not that could be the cause of your struggles. Statistically, a change in the type of medication you are taking is the most likely outcome and there is no shame in that at all, but it's important to be educated on all of the possibilities. I'm talking about my personal experience in the hopes of educating people like me who were unaware of the potential risks that can come from taking medication that modifies the chemical balances of your brain. It helps, and it certainly helped me in the beginning, but if SOMETHING doesn't feel right, please make sure you talk to someone about it. Talk to your loved ones. Talk to anyone who will listen, because everybody only wants what's best for you. Anxiety and Depression are not always life sentences so don't let others convince you that they are. Believe in yourself, and do what you feel is right.

The Anxiety I was struggling with for such a long time was just suddenly........gone. And it hasn't returned. It was a terrible experience to go through, but the lessons and the insight I have learnt not only about mental health in general, but about myself and what I'm personally capable of, is invaluable to me.

Convincing yourself you're being disrespected, unwanted, and an inconvenience to the people closest to you is a bitch. Having the emotional side come out victorious all the time in the Emotional vs. Logical tug of war is a bitch. Looking at the world the way I was looking at it is a bitch. Feeling like you can't explain the way you felt in a way that doesn't come across as narcissistic or insincere is a bitch.

Anxiety is a bitch.


- KD

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