Mikey over on his blog has lovingly plastered my pic there on his May 7th post, and is wondering what's been wrong with me lately.
I guess we all have a cross to bear, and in this life, I got dealt with anxiety disorder. It's always been there really, due to my parent's genes, the way I was raised, the treatment by other cruel kids in school, being gay, and having to face the real world in this adult life I now live in.
Whatever my past may have been, I had a serious case of food poisoning from McDonald's back in 1998 while working at my first official office job. The fact I felt vulnerable, and mortal as well, really really sacred me. It made me see how truly fragile I am, and how easily one can lose it all without good health.
Ever since then, my anxiety went up considerably. It has always been there, but didn't actually become an issue for me until the late 90's, and I paid for it dearly. I had frequent panic attacks, dizzy spells, and was starting to really avoid most social situations I found myself in. Having to go to work became a horrific struggle, and I really did not know what was going on with me. I had every major physical test known to man done, and time and time again, every doctor would say that there was nothing wrong with me.
I started seeing a therapist, and for years refused to take any medication for my problem. Finally, in 2001, with the death of my father and the 9/11 attacks, I decided I could handle no more of my condition, nor the stress I was being put through. The daily dizzy spells, and constant worrying had me beat, defeated, and truly on the verge of just wanting to die. Something had to be done. So, I went on Effexor, a powerful amazing miracle drug that calmed me down and let me breathe again.
And ever since 2001, I've been on this little drug, upping and lowering my dose as I go along on this strange ride, and my life has gotten considerably better than those dark awful late nineties. Dear God, how did I ever get through those awful late fuckin' nineties? It boggles my mind, but I'm pretty sure my boyfriend at the time was a big help. My little angel. I tear up just thinking about all the emotional distress I went through.
With the Effexor, I was able to be social again, to go and take trips, and to just let go of that awful horrific fear that sometimes invades my body insidiously. Mind you, on the drug, and now off it, I still struggle with having to go out of town (especially on a plane), be a passenger in a car for too long (since I prefer driving and to be under control), and other little issues. I'm weird like that, and many friends/family sometimes wonder why I say "No" a lot. Well, it helps to be assertive and not have to do everything they want you to, but sometimes I feel guilty missing out on potential good times, for being so fearful of my own fear. The symptoms of a panic attack are brutal and very humbling.
Just two months ago, I stopped the drug finally and have been handling it very well. Extremely well. But with me moving from my place soon, a possible career change, and other things going on, I've noticed my anxiety has been returning. Last Thursday and Friday were awful. I felt as I did at the beginning of this decade: terribly scared, confused, disoriented, sick, and ready to throw in the towel. At the root of this, my ultimate fear of illness and of death. So the psychotherapists say about all anxiety really--it is because of our inability to deal with our own mortality. And somehow, I believe that. At least with me, it's probably true.
I'm very lucky and fortunate. God has watched over me oh so caringly, even in my saddest scariest moments. I am blessed to have a job, decent close family, friends, and my hope/optimism still alive. I could be in worse shape I tell myself, but I never diminish the true struggle it has been to deal with my problem. To others, it may seem like nothing, but to me, it is a very real and terrible affliction.
We all have issues and problems that seem overwhelming to us, and meager to others, which is why compassion and empathy are so important. Lend an ear or help a friend when they tell you what is wrong. Never ridicule or judge them. Try to understand their pain. Lord knows I desperately tried for others to see what I was going through or still am at times, and so many don't care nor want to hear it. And that's too bad. We must develop the ability to hear others out. Their pain is just as real as yours.
Which brings me to my last option before having to take medication again. I'm trying to avoid having to go on a new drug, so back to the gym I must go.
I must. I'm lazy as hell. But I must.
It's the only way to burn away all this negative horror and find some hope and peace again.