Just introducing myself.
43 year old man and have suffered my whole like from Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
I don't have any great issue in my life to attribute this to. (I suppose it wouldn't be a disorder if I did.) No abuse as a child. No addiction problems. Financially secure, good job, and in a loving relationship with two kids. Perfect health.
And yet once every six months to a year, I will have a bad episode of anxiety. Impending doom. Tight chest. Obsessive thoughts. The awful sense that this time it will never go away, or that I'll go crazy. It's like a tedious re-run that I have to sit through every year.
I'm on standard SSRI medication, and have been for twenty years. I occasionally see a counsellor, which always helps.
When I'm not having bad episodes, I oscillate between feeling positive, and just on edge. Travel, especially airplanes bothers me, and I'll be stressed for at least a week beforehand if I have to give a presentation. But otherwise, I am often in good spirits. A lot of people are very surprised to hear about my issues when I tell them.
As far as I can tell my annual/semi-annual episodes are triggered by some combination of physical tiredness and mental stress. Over-doing exercise, colds, hay-fever, lack of sleep, plus work deadlines, family issues, kids being kids and sometimes variation in medication. Some combination usually triggers me. Then I'll go through a cycle that usually follows:
- initial sense of being over-whelmed
- tight chest, cortisol burning through my arms and legs, trouble getting a full breath
- the "I'm going crazy" thoughts - I'll end up in an asylum, I'll do something really dangerous (I hasten to add I've learnt to recognise these thoughts in particular as irrational fears; they are not impulses, and I've never come close to acting on them)
- then a few days of feeling like I'm about to have a panic attack, or I'm about to snap, along with just not being able to put the thoughts out of my head. On top of that, there's a sense of altered consciousness. A feeling that this is the real reality - life is awful - and I will never go back to the other reality.
- Finally, a lot of walking and talking and after a few weeks I start to feel better. Will be a few months before I truly get back to normal.
I wanted to join BB to try and share a bit of my story, and also to give some hope to young people in particular. Despite all the above, I am a good news story. I've mostly had a normal life.
Thanks for being here,