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My stress/job/anxiety story
Old 05-26-2009, 09:53 PM   #1
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My stress/job/anxiety story

Hi - I am on vacation for a few days so I have some time to reflect on the past rolling year. I want to share this story since there were so many people on this board who gave me sound advice.

Last year I was faced with a very tough decision regarding accepting an undesirable position at work with travel to a third world country, or getting booted out the door. (I wavered back and forth, there were many people on this board that gave me solid advice and I am now happy that I accepted the position) The job is livable and due the economy, travel has been restrained. This post is to share my anxiety story.

A year ago while I was attempting to make the decision, I teetered towards complete incapacitation due to my "situational" anxiety. I have always leaned towards the "nervous" type, but love life and enjoy the simple things. This was different, my situation was spiraling out of control and making me physically sick. I did not sleep for 5 days, ate very little and started to have what I now understand are "panic attacks". I was literally gasping for breath. It was June and I was freezing, wearing a sweatshirt at home with a hood on. I could not let my DH out of sight for more than 5 minutes.......... even following him outside when he cut the lawn. He was terrified, but did not know what to do for me. One day I literally had to go sit with him at work because I was afraid to be alone. This coming from a woman who studied abroad, and has been on her own since she was 21. (I am 43)

A dear friend made me go to my family Dr., found a psychologist that would take me on an emergency basis, handled the insurance aspects (I have some great friends) and forced me to address the issue. DH was scared to death to see me in such a state, we have been together since our 20's and I have always been a pillar of strength. The Dr. gave me some anxiety medication and I had to go on an anti-anxiety pill for 7 months (quit a month ago with no side effects) I feel great, and have felt like my "old" self for the past year.

In a million years if someone had told me I would be on a SSRI I would have bet the farm against it.........

I know these are stressful times. I just want to share my story in case anyone out there ever feels same. Get help. There is no shame in it.

Peace
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:31 PM   #2
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Good for you -- I, too, suffered from a very traumatic family event that necessitated SSRI meds, and after stopping them several times (once you feel good you always think you no longer need them) and REALLY regretting it, I now know I need to stay on them. I have bipolar tendencies, and I think this trauma is really PTSD - thus the need for meds. There is truly NO shame in taking them, but a real shame if you need them and don't take them, thus forcing friends and family to be miserable with you. Keep up the good work!! If you are fine now without them, great, but if you feel yourself backsliding, get back on those meds!!
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:39 PM   #3
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I really admire you Tracker (and Blondie) for posting this--your dear friend is just that for getting you to someone who could help you! I'm glad the job change is working out okay too
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:59 PM   #4
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Good for you, Tracker, for dealing with this issue head on.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:06 AM   #5
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You have done a great act by sharing your story.
Too many people do not take the first step to admit they need help.
You needed help, you went for it, and are recovering.
Be proud of yourself!

I can directly relate to some of your symptoms.
I suffered a mild concussion in August 2004. Head scan showed no swelling or damage. I passed all neurological tests with flying colors.
2 months later, life delivered me a tremendous blow when my LH passed suddenly.
My mind went into a complete stall mode. I had trouble with simple math, reading, time awareness, eating and sleeping. I was fearful of a lot of things, especially people in public places. I was afraid to drive due to concentration problems. Starting the car and pulling out of the driveway took tremendous mental focus.
I went to see my doctor immediately, and asked for a referral for counseling. His diagnosis was shock and PTSD and possible delayed reaction to the concussion. He wrote me out of w*rk for 3 months.
I was given anti-anxiety meds (adverse side effects ) and then anti-depression meds instead (much better! ), and stuck with weekly counseling until I could get my rudder re-attached.
I took the meds for 10 months. I did the counseling for 11 months.
I could care less what people thought, and I know there was a lot of gossip. Oh well.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
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Several years ago my husband got ill and spent two months in ICU with every complication imaginable . I functioned well during the time and was even able to plan his funeral afterwards I went to pieces . I also had PTSD . I spent months in therapy which I'm glad I did because I've seen to many people get stuck after an awful life event so kudos to you for getting help !
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:58 PM   #7
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Severe stress is highly individual and can affect people differently. It's a biochemical reaction and has little to do with how psychologically sound a person is. No sleep will cause a further emotional/psychological breakdown. Been there,done that during my miserable divorce.
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:23 PM   #8
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Stressors

I can definitely relate to that killer, which is "Stress". My husband died of a sudden heart attack six years ago at age 49. I didn't think I would ever come out of it. I was medicated for a couple of years, saw my PCP every month for talk therapy. Fortunately, I had the support of wonderful friends and family and, gradually, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and that's when I weaned myself off the meds, started to exercise, took an interest in life again. I had to enumerate to myself every day all the things that were good in my life: health, a great kid, friends, enough money to live comfortably, a good job. I do believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I am more aware now of how great life is. Before, I just took everything for granted.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:48 AM   #9
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Good for you tracker! I am also on therapy and anti-depressents and don't care who knows it. Getting help is a sign of loving yourself and trying to get better. Not getting help is a sign of the ego.....everyone needs help sometimes.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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anybody try meditation in lieu of meds? How did it go?
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:25 PM   #11
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anybody try meditation in lieu of meds? How did it go?
It didn't help at all. When your biochemistry gets so out of whack that you can't sleep and you're having panic attacks then you need to "take out the big guns." We're not talking here about feeling a little bit stressed. In that case, yoga and meditation and other exercise can definitely help, I think.
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Old 05-29-2009, 02:27 PM   #12
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I've been battling anxiety and sleeplessness for a while now. I think I have stabilized, but plan to head to the docs for some SSRIs. In my case its biochemistry too, runs in the family.

Throw in DDs autism diagnosis and all the associated doc appts, reading, shear terror, DWs refusal to accept it, and I've been a mess. After a few nights of limited sleep/insomnia I am really on the edge.

I've been seeing a therapist, a licenced social worker. Anyone have any strategies to maximize this type of thing? Lately I feel I'm stuck, not making progress on some issues. Maybe its my reluctance to move forward...

He mentioned Prozac, zolof, lexapro and celexa. I realize that everyone reacts differently to meds, but any general recommendations?

I have to say I really hate taking medication. It took me 30 days of looking at my Ambien to try it.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:51 PM   #13
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For immediate relief I was given ativan (a benzo) we tried ambien and it really didn't do anything. My Dr. explained to me that my anxiety was so high we needed to get me to sleep first, then work on the next step. I was terrified to take the ativan, and thought I would end up in Betty Ford. (with my anxiety at this point, everything was turning into catastrophic thinking....... I was not rational)

I was also working with a therapist and she told me it would take a good 6 months to get addicted to the benzo. So I reluctantly took the ativan, which gave me immediate relief, and was a God send. The ativan put me right to sleep and I started sleeping normally.

My Dr. had me use the ativan as a "bridge" until the Zoloft (SSRI) could kick in. It took the Zoloft 3 weeks to kick in. (50 mg) At week 2, I went back to the Dr., crying, saying that "it doesn't work!" he assured me it would kick in, to use the ativan as much as needed, 3 times a day if needed, please trust him. Again, I had a therapist assuring me that this whole situation would pass, it was "situational", etc. So I hung in there and BAM on week 3 the Zoloft kicked in.

It was like someone opened the windows. I felt calm, happy, and could put things in perspective. My problems didn't disappear, but I could look at things and address rationally. Two months on the Zoloft and this whole episode appeared to be a bad dream. I did therapy for 2 months, Zoloft until last month.

I feel great now, happy, and my old self. My therapist helped me to understand that something chemical (hormonal) was going wrong, and that was why I was freezing in June. The body/mind is a mysterious thing. Apparently , I had pushed through stress for so many years that I just hit my breaking point and shut down completely.

If I had to give you adivice I would say to go the top professional in your area. I was fortunate because I had a friend who steered me in the right direction. These people know what they are doing and are able to look at things objectively..... when you are suffering from extreme anxiety your perspective goes right out the window.

This was my first interaction with any type of mental healthcare in my life and I could not have made it through this period without their support.

Peace
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:39 AM   #14
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Thanks for sharing your experience Tracker, it shows you have great courage and also care deeply about others to share the tremendous journey you have been on! It's really great to hear about such a success story.

bimmerbill, i'm so sorry you've continued to experience so much stress about everything, it sounds like you have good reason(s). At least you are seeking help - just find what works for you and don't give up till you find it. It might not be the first thing or three you try!

i agree w/ oldbabe's take on yoga/meditation etc - if you are truly in crisis then that will not help you. the yoga/meditation is more of a good maintenence tool to keep you from going down that far next time.

i'm struck by the trend that the women of the board seem to be chiming in here overwhelmingly...i think the stereotype is that we can multi-task and handle a lot of stress (relationships, kids, pets, work, etc) but perhaps the consequences show up in other ways from all the juggling, supporting etc? or we're just wanting to share...
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Old 05-30-2009, 02:29 PM   #15
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i'm struck by the trend that the women of the board seem to be chiming in here overwhelmingly...i think the stereotype is that we can multi-task and handle a lot of stress (relationships, kids, pets, work, etc) but perhaps the consequences show up in other ways from all the juggling, supporting etc? or we're just wanting to share...
Studies show that women find it easier to talk about this kind of stuff than men do.
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:00 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
I've been battling anxiety and sleeplessness for a while now. I think I have stabilized, but plan to head to the docs for some SSRIs. In my case its biochemistry too, runs in the family.

Throw in DDs autism diagnosis and all the associated doc appts, reading, shear terror, DWs refusal to accept it, and I've been a mess. After a few nights of limited sleep/insomnia I am really on the edge.

I've been seeing a therapist, a licenced social worker. Anyone have any strategies to maximize this type of thing? Lately I feel I'm stuck, not making progress on some issues. Maybe its my reluctance to move forward...

He mentioned Prozac, zolof, lexapro and celexa. I realize that everyone reacts differently to meds, but any general recommendations?

I have to say I really hate taking medication. It took me 30 days of looking at my Ambien to try it.
Wellcome to the club. My son has Aspergers and goes to OT, ST, and a behavioral psychologist. It has been really hard on DW and I - we're taking Lexapro [her] and Cellexa [me] and we're both seeing psychologists on our own. Things that really help us are exercise and time away from the kids [i.e. get a babysitter and go out]. Good news though - I never have to remember any dates. I my son reminds me every month of whose b-day is coming up and how old they're going to be.

Also, through talking to family and friends, it appears that Aspergers runs in the family [me, uncles, great uncles, etc.]. Now, it's easier to help my son cope with people and social situations b/c I just tell him to do what I do - ask questions and pretend to be interested.

On the men vs women thing, I've been told by psychologists and psychiatrists that early in life girls interact with each other by talking about their feelings and telling each other secrets. While boys interact with each other by trying to one up each other in various activities. Hence, women find it easier to talk about this sort of stuff, which is why I always prefer a women talk therapist.

- Alec
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