Anxiety and my life pt1

How does one begin a story when the beginning is just not clear? For now I will choose the middle of my daily nightmare. My first  contact with the insidious beast came as a second hand experience when a steady guest of the resort I help run, did not arrive with her annual group of friends. When asked why this seemingly solid and cheerful schoolteacher had not made the trip,I learned that “her nerves were shot” and the doctor had recommended a quiet stay at home for a short period of time. After her friends(my friends as well) returned to the city, I soon learned that because of the onset of acute and chronic anxiety/ depressive disorder, return to working for her would be postponed. After a six month round of therapy, both medical and psychological , it soon became apparent that she could not return to her work and was judged to be permanently disabled.  Fast forward six or so years and I am extremely wound up, busily helping the owners of the resort ready the facilities for a new venture. We had accepted a charitable motorcycle clubs wish to use our facilities for a Bike rally. It had quickly became apparent that we were woefully unprepared for the event, but with the help of several bikers whose “real” jobs included trained electricians and carpenters, we had the place readied for the event with a few hours to spare.(Man, that had been a long week and a final sixteen hour day!) So, with the situation well in hand, we all hoped, I took the shower that I desperately needed, had a couple of beers, and exhausted, laid myself down to rest. Fully expecting to sleep ten or twelve hours, perhaps you can imagine me waking, fully aware of my breathing(rapid and shallow), with pain in my chest, and a lightheadedness like I had never experienced before, after only two hours of sleep. Now, I do not mean to brag, but in my mid-forties, physically ripped, and with never even an overnight stay in a hospital to my record,the last thing,the only thing, I could think of was that I was suffering a heart attack. After lying still, not wishing to wake my wife, for several minutes, I finally decided that waking her to give me a ride to the emergency room, would probably please her more than waking later in the morning next to my corpse. Twenty mile drive to the er, blood pressure taken,EKG, talking with the doctor and nurse, finally the nurse walked into my cubicle, handed a cup of water and a large white pill to me and said take this. She explained to my wife and I that my episode was a clear cut anxiety attack, that there was no shame in making the drive to the er(after all she reasoned, these circumstances were the reason the er had the big white pills, and to make an appointment with my regular doctor post haste. end pt 1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           PT2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I immediately made an appointment with my VA team, and set an appointment quickly. Since the military works a lot!!! with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome,my doctor and I tried to break down some probable cause from my time in service. Since I was active during the peacetime Army, post Vietnam, we could not determine a causal effect from that period of my life. We researched my background for substance abuse indicators and even though I am no saint, found nothing to work with there. In the meantime we experimented with several anti anxiety/depression medications over almost three quarters of the year. By then my regular care physician talked me into seeking help in the mental health facility of the VA. (I really did not think I belonged, or would profit from the experience, but what is a man to do?)My psychiatrist and therapist,one and the same, spoke about many  things ,some directly dedicated to my condition,many issues with seemingly no connection at all. We experimented with several combinations of “seratonin ruuptake inhibitors” and small doses of  anti anxiety medications.  Working together, a combination was found that at least allowed me some autonomy, regarding where I could eat(noisy restaurants are nearly all an anxiety treat)where I could socialize (large family events, old friend gatherings, or any event with negative overtones was, and still is an anxiety trigger.) This portion of my story gets harder to relate, because after all, I am a sentient and strong man. I posses abilities that allow me to diffuse tense situations, enter an emergency situation and offer as much aid as needed without getting in the way, ie a good man to have around. These things I can still accomplish, but I have a price to pay. The initial onslaught of adrenalin that triggers the “fight or flight” reflex for me does not have a shut-off valve. Without the ability to slow the influx of energy, exhaustion eventually sets in and for an indeterminate period thereafter depression settles its dreary cloud over the mind and there is for me,no wish or desire to communicate; if I could Make someone understand, the toll I have paid. Slowly I find withdrawal and a bit of reclusiveness my favorite atmosphere. Needless to say all these elements combine to change the outlooks people have about me, How my interactions with others have changed, how I cannot blame others, nor myself for why these changes came about. I am beginning to ramble now and must rest until my mood reaches an even keel. There is one more item I must add at this point, though I am not sure of the timing. Any influx of adrenaline, whether caused by anger,physical exertion,or simply allowing my self the freedom to let myself go and have a good time, will always trigger that attack, and the only control I may have after these six or seven years, is having the experiences of my past and the support of those around me.    END PT3 A good thing that I took that break, Because I realize now that I did not introduce my second therapist. As good as my first was my second was better, or at least I was beginning to express myself better. Upon looking back on my lifetime and my relationships with my father and brothers, a pattern emerged that was so well defined, an idiot could not fail to see it. My father,although not a well educated man, but very intelligent, always seemed to be easily frustrated, about the simple problems in life. The salt and pepper shakers not being on the ding table come supper time could send him into a rage.Camping on the river and finding that a kitchen knife had been left behind could ruin the entire weekend. He was a very protective man, and would never back away from a perceived threat to his family or friend.For some reason I could sense the beginning and depth of his frustration and could usually calm him into a calmer, more peaceful frame of mind. About the time he turned seventy an observant medical man started him on a daily dose of prozac.After a week or so on the medication , he indicated to me with tears welling in his deep seeing, usually gruff stare, that “If I had known about this medication years ago, maybe you kids would have lived an easier life.” I had sensed my fathers personality all my life, though it could be tough at times, but for my four siblings and many of our family friends, his condition was puzzling to say the least. He and I discussed that day much about what life was like in his youth. His father, as we shortly concluded, exhibited the same mannerisms and frustrations as the two of us lived with. My daughter began developing the symptoms of anxiety and depression after a particularly rough patch in her life. These conditions developing over the course of generations, leads me to believe that this anxiety/depression cycle can be, and in my families case to be a genetic condition. MY presentation of this information to my new therapist seemed to represent a different perspective for her point of view. After that time our sessions seemed more fruitful and I began feeling a bit less lost. PT3 PT4 I suppose that my purpose in relating this tale of a troubled life is twofold. The first purpose,I suppose is purely self centered.Putting into words my troubles, is painful, yet somehow soothing. More importantly though, I am attempting in my limited way to encourage the many other people who live a life with similar conditions. I can recognize others, and they me, through some lost look, or mysterious bond we share. We realize that no one who does not live with this condition,can fully appreciate the effort it takes to get up, go out and try to enjoy our lives, without feeling overwhelmed, claustrophobic, agoraphobic; basically trying to keep an even keel;no real highs;no real lows. My personal observations also indicate that most, if not all, the people suffering this malady are exceptionally intelligent. If any one reading this can take one more paragraph, I would like to shed just a little light on some common questions I receive. Why is there not a pill for this? Many medications are available, but since every persons physiology and social sets are different there is no cure all.Many medications, and I research all of them I have been prescribed, begin with a sentence kind of like this.”name of medication””is thought to fill the neuro receptor in which dopamine is usually targeted, with the theory being……” Are you sure you are not feeling sorry for yourself? NO I am not. I used to be a happy person, but I prefer live my life in the shadows! Thank you for your time. BTW I really do enjoy life and am in no hurry to leave. It just could be easier   PLEASE, if any others fighting this condition(DOES NOT IMPROVE PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED THE LIFE AFTER) I would appreciate conversation with others who suffer. Thank you