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Author Topic: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety  (Read 1284 times)

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Offline epitechTopic starter

Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« on: April 15, 2014, 04:50:46 AM »
The best place is to start at the beginning and to give some insight as to how I got where I am now.  Up until about 22-years-old I was sweet, I had my battles with anxiety but nothing remotely like this, I lived life, worked hard and had plenty of care-free fun.  In my final year of university, loathing my course, I pushed extra-hard in the final semester, wanting to pass the papers and leave it all behind.

Well it seems it is entirely possible to push too hard and that's what I did.  Here begins the fall.  This started a meltdown, struggling with schoolwork and regular trips to the doctors to attack the physical symptoms rather than the problem.  Through eight weeks of frustration, denial and attempting to push through I only have made things worse.  I did the best I could, dropping a paper here and a paper there, and then settling on trying to pass one before bailing out altogether.

At the time my girlfriend said she thought I had depression, being the optimist I was I laughed it off and under the general impression that this could not happen to me.

For years I dabbled in anti-depressants to various effects, most of them had too high a price to pay (and not fiscally) until I was put on Effexor.  Through life’s many up and downs I continued to function, starting a new course in a field I cared about but struggled to concentrate, especially when reading.

That year the London Olympics were on....hang on.... weren't the Olympics on, like six months ago? I literally could not remember much of three years between the two Olympics, I could remember spatial things, layouts, where things were located but I couldn't remember experiences or people very well and I could barely remember two years with my girlfriend.  It was not a complete blackout but if you think of your memory as a timeline of major events as milestones with minor events off shooting from them and people attached to those events you get a sense of time.  In that sense, I literally lost time, my brain would still register me as being twenty-two because like a needle skipping on a record, there was nothing in-between.

I decided I needed to get off Effexor, FAST.  Effexor is an unpleasant drug to come down from, there seems to be a mass consensus on that.  For two months I felt tipsy and disorientated but without the warm fuzzies provided by liquor.  For about a year after I struggled with post-acute withdrawal symptoms as my brain tried to rewire itself into functioning normally.  In that time I had panic attacks regularly, I would suddenly need to get out of the house and go for a walk...usually at midnight and my body was permanently tense but I continued to study and graduated.

After graduating I felt physically ill for quite a while but slowly spiralled back into the world and eventually into a job.  Things weren't great but I was coping, going into work every day, hanging out with friends, living a relatively normal life.

One day I was catching the train to work, about half way down the line I freaked the fuck out, having to get out at the nearest stop.  I went to the bathroom, got back on the next train and went to work.  Things got harder and harder, every time I got on the train after that but I forced myself into going, thinking I just need to push through this, it will pass, it has to pass, I've been through too much shit to have this fuck everything up.  That battle lasted about two weeks.  One Monday I was about to get on the train and just couldn't, my body would not allow me to step forward.  The next day my Mum offered me a lift into work, within 10 minutes I needed to get out of the car three times, I was physically quaking like someone who had just walked out of a serious collision.

I went to the doctor and received a referral to a psychologist, unsurprisingly my mind-set was good and it could be systematically routed out by slowly venturing out... I wish somebody would tell my body that.  Things started to get better as I worked from home and it seemed like things were on the right track but one day it bottomed out, back to square one.  I battled with the idea for a month or two but came to the conclusion that things were not going to change, I needed to go back on Effexor and here I am now.

Cancerous thoughts that are slowly consuming me, I try and hold them at bay but through every battle the optimism that has allowed me to previously cope with life and what was a characteristic of my very being has been methodically stomped out. The mind can only fight biochemistry for so long before it starts playing tricks, the mind will scrutinise where once everything was fine, looking for things to be wrong.  Perceptions shift and realities warp.

More and more the feeling creeps up on me, that even when I am at full capacity and able to freely venture out into the world, there will be little reason to try. I had friends that I used to hang-out with every other, if not every weekend and conscious of the situation I made sure to keep routine contact.  As time has gone on the replies from my good friends has dwindled, rarely do I see a response which is somewhat saddening considering I know some of them live on Facebook.  I can't help but be reminded of Randal's quote from Clerks II, "sometimes I get the feeling the world kinda left us behind a long time ago."

I'm tired, physically, mentally, emotionally, it all adds up.  Every time I get knocked down it gets harder to get back up and I'm at the point where I want to give up, I'm tired of fighting, tired of hoping and pretending things will get better, tired of gaining traction only to lose it.  I'm tired of pretending to be OK.

"I've lost the will to reside here, under the tree of life where the fruit runs bare." Backbeat Sound System - Nightmares (http://backbeatsoundsystem.bandcamp.com/track/nightmares)

My goal in life is minute, modest, all I want to be is OK and happy.  I pretend to be OK and keep on with things, keeping up routine because that's what I do, that is what I have always done, that is the only thing I know how to do.  But what do you do when you are not OK?  I feel so alone and I am fucking terrified.  I'm terrible at asking for help and to be honest there is little point in asking because there is nothing anyone can do to help.  For the most part I can't be bothered telling people the truth because when I explain things it feels like I am justifying myself to them.  Very few people get it but the rest respond in a way that feels like pity.

At times I wish I was not alive, please don't misconstrue this as being suicidal.  If it were as easy as setting an alarm clock tonight, to wake up tomorrow or leaving it and never waking up again, I would choose the latter without hesitation.  I am writing this for therapeutic values in an attempt to purge these negative thoughts and to give insight to a few friends and myself.

"While waiting for the stars to align
and a moment in time when it's my moment to shine
But, until then I keep my eyes on the prize
and try to survive, night after night, going for mine."

Viro the Virus - Starlight (http://snowgoons.bandcamp.com/track/starlight-luger-remix)

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Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 05:04:02 AM »
We love you Epi. I cannot speak for anybody else, but I am here for you whenever you need a shoulder to cry on or arms to be held.

Offline cat storm

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 07:24:06 PM »
Baby, you are so beautiful and I hate that you have to struggle like this.  Perhaps one day we'll win the brain chemistry wars.  I love you dearly and you know how to find me.

Many hugs and kisses,

Cat

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 09:47:07 PM »
Dood!  *Sends all the well wishes and hugs Epi can have.  Which is all of them!*

Offline epitechTopic starter

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 03:01:48 AM »
I found something from an article and although it is taken out of context it sort of struck a raw nerve.

'Comfort is easy. It requires no effort and no work. Happiness takes effort. It requires being proactive, confronting fears, facing difficult situations, and having unpleasant conversations.'

Comfort is very easy and although I only push boundaries in smallest of ways in comparison to how I used to, I've lost the will to confront fears and difficult situations through the results of operant conditioning.  Logic dictates, try something, if that thing doesn't work, try something else.  Easy as can be, right?  Unfortunately I have tried everything I can think of, multiple forms of psychology, medication (many types), natural remedies (many more), exercise, diet and attempting to alter my mindset.  But what happens when one runs out of new ideas to try?  When living in defeat has become the preferable situation because I don't think I can take falling on my own sword of hope or optimism one time more?

Thank you for all the love and support everyone, Elliquiy has and will always be like a family to me :-)

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 03:57:17 AM »
It may not be my place to speak out here as I am completely new here, don't know you, and haven't even been approved yet, but... you speak a lot about optimism and happiness and that makes me wonder if you are perhaps setting your goals (at least for the moment) too high. I may be completely wrong but I do wonder if you are not working yourself into a downwards spiral of self-fullfilling prophecies. You are who you are. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and not everyone can find complete happiness, but there are many other states of mind between being completely down and and being completely happy.

I am no psychologist, but I think being content with who you are is an important thing in life, so I would say an important step to take is to just accept who and what you are right now. Not to turn it into something that can not be changed, but to center yourself to give yourself a break, and only afterwards think about the "where to from here" part. Don't look at what you once dreamed, don't look at who you might wish to be. You might well achieve all those things, but you need a stable platform to launch from, so to speak. I am not saying you should give up your hopes, but neither should you chase them too hard. Hope is a plant that needs good soil and care to flower, and sometimes we cling too hard to it and smother it. Give yourself time.

Offline epitechTopic starter

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 04:04:26 AM »
My standards are modest, things like getting on a bus, going in a train, a car, things even I used to take for granted are a nightmare if not an impossibility.  Six months ago I would train to work every day, a trip I have made in excess of 2000 times, now I can't manage to get on a train to the next suburb. I wouldn't call it blind optimism but believed through action and enough perseverance I could change a somewhat woeful situation to a better one.  I can't even find the platform to stand on these days.

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 04:19:01 AM »
My standards are modest, things like getting on a bus, going in a train, a car, things even I used to take for granted are a nightmare if not an impossibility.  Six months ago I would train to work every day, a trip I have made in excess of 2000 times, now I can't manage to get on a train to the next suburb. I wouldn't call it blind optimism but believed through action and enough perseverance I could change a somewhat woeful situation to a better one.  I can't even find the platform to stand on these days.
Your situation seems even worse than I had imagined and while I wish I had any more advice to offer I am afraid I can't.

All I can offer you is my best wishes for good luck and much success in dealing with this.  Which seems rather inadequate, now that I said it.

Offline epitechTopic starter

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 05:22:40 AM »
Thank you Cassandra, I know have the best of intentions.  Thank you for your kind words :-)

Offline PrestaDGTation

Re: Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die - Battles with Anxiety
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 10:12:55 AM »
  As a person who struggles with this stuff as well, I want to give you every digital hug I can manage.

  It is my real-life dream to become a healer of some kind who can help people like you and me through this.  Even saying that, however, I don't know if there's anything I can give you that you haven't already found.  With your indulgence, I'll try one, though.

  Speaking arbitrarily, it sounds like you got consumed by stress, but never were able to let go of it when the moment had passed.  Now, your lower stress tolerance is your primary stress source, making it self-perpetuating.  Gods, have I been there, and I still get in moods where my thoughts race and I begin to panic about how I have to alter every cell of my being all at once to get the work done.  But I have realized that the conflict of raging against my condition was unproductive.  I wouldn't say I stopped fighting, or that I'll ever stop fighting it.  But I've started to let go.  Of sources of stress, of perfectionism, of the things I've pressed into my palms with all my might for years, trying to control them for even moments of a day..  I've started to open my hands and let them flutter off.  It isn't giving up, just a reassessment of focus, of non-judgement.  And it isn't easy.  But it's helped.  Parts of me I thought I'd killed have slowly started coming back.  It's as far as I've gotten, and I'll pray you can do the same.

  I'll offer you this Huna Mysticism about letting go.  There are three parts to a body, the Child, the Ego, and the Higher Self.  You are your ego, and all the mixings of your adult life are contained therein.  Your higher-self is just what it says on the tin, a spiritual aspect that can help you reach higher layers of the cosmos.  But let's focus on the child aspect.  It's the one that still understands the concepts of object impermanence, of innocence, of imagination, of forgiveness.  Only the child aspect has an intuitive understanding of how to let go of the world.  And you can only access that child aspect by opening yourself to the fun and nonsensical wonder it embodies.  To wit, laughter is indeed the best medicine.

  "If you want to know forgiveness, play.  And in that moment you feel like a child again, you will understand what it is to forgive."

  Even if nothing I've said whatsoever helps, I wish you laughter.  Enough laughter that even your issues, terrible as they are, cannot escape a good jeer or two.