Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Anxiety. Ansiedad. Angst. Bezorgdheid. Inquiétude.

One word, five languages, for how I feel. I hate feeling this way... yet this blog is a huge catharsis that I need. I am blaring classical music. Chopin, Polonaise. Opera now...Andrea Bocelli. I realize I don't make much sense, but at the current time I dont know what exactly I am feeling except for inner turmoil. I dont know what brought it on.

Its like someone has a tight grip on your ribcage and you cant breathe. You breathe through a straw. Or you have your face stuffed into a pillow. I feel uneasy and unrestful. Tired.

I am living day to day, and even that is becoming difficult. Its hard to pretend like everything is fine, when its not. All I want is some peace, I just have no clue how to get it anymore. I dont know how to stop being afraid. I am afraid of everything. And yet I have everything going for me. I am smart enough to tackle anything I want, if I just try hard enough. I have good enough looks that I could find people to be with. I am caring, and good to those around me. I am not a jerk. I dont have to worry about finances. I have a supportive family. Yet I feel like I have a hole inside of me. I feel like I am losing everything, control, religion, family, life.

I feel sad because it SEEMS like many Gay Mormons still feel like God loves them no matter what, or maybe that the church is just not completely right. Or something. I feel like I've lost all of that. Everything that was once solid in my life has turned into mush. I question every belief I've ever had. I feel like, well if one thing is wrong, maybe everything I've ever thought or felt is wrong. I feel so insecure. Back when I had zero sexual drives (because I would repress them) I just walked around and gave myself to my friends, and that was great. I feel selfish for wanting something that is supposedly so wrong. I feel stupid for 'allowing' this to happen. I LET myself fall for the guy here at school. I still have feelings for him. How could I be so stupid. Maybe if I didn't allow myself admit my feelings to him and myself, I wouldn't be in this position now.



Dave Walter said...

DCTwistedLife, you need to get yourself to a therapist. If you think seeing a therapist is uncool or an admission of defeat, or whatever -- put those thoughts out of your head.

I'm definitely not a therapist, but what you're experiencing sounds a lot like what I have experienced, and I have generalized anxiety disorder.

Read the book excerpt below and see if it may apply to you. It's from The Anxiety & Phobia Handbook, by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD.

"Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic anxiety that persists for at least six months but is unaccompanied by panic attacks, phobias, or obsessions. You simply experience persistent anxiety and worry without the complicating features of other anxiety disorders. To be given a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, your anxiety and worry must focus on two or more stressful life circumstances (such as finances, relationships, health or school performance) a majority of days during a six-month period. It's common, if you're dealing with generalized anxiety disorder, to have a large number of worries and to spend a lot of your time worrying. Yet you find it difficult to exercise much control over your worrying. Moreover, the intensity and frequency of the worry are always out of proportion to the actual likelihood of the feared events happening.

"In addition to frequent worry, generalized anxiety disorder involves having at least three of the following six symptoms (with some symptoms present more days than not over the past six months):

-- Restlessness -- feeling keyed up

-- Being easily fatigued

-- Difficulty concentrating

-- Irritability

-- Muscle tension

-- Difficulties with sleep

"Finally, you're likely to receive a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder if your worry and associated symptoms cause you significant distress and/or interfere with your ability to function occupationally, socially, or in other important areas.

"If a doctor tells you that you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, he or she has probably ruled out possible medical causes of chronic anxiety, such as hyperventilation, thyroid problems, or drug-induced anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder often occurs together with depression: a competent therapist can usually determine which disorder is primary and which is secondary. In some cases, though, it is difficult to say which came first....

"Although there are no specific phobias associated with generalized anxiety disorder, one view propounded by Aaron Beck and Gary Emery suggests that the disorder is sustained by 'basic fears' of a broader nature than specific phobias, such as

-- Fear of losing control

-- Fear of not being able to cope

-- Fear of failure

-- Fear of rejection or abandonment

-- Fear of death or disease"

An added advantage of seeing a therapist is that you can address the gay-related issues at the same time.

There are great resources available to you in the D.C. area. There are openly gay therapists and at least one gay men's counseling group. I'll help you locate names and numbers if you'd like.

And get that anxiety book; it could be a big help to you. If you're too freaked out to order it yourself, I'll send you my copy.

As always, if you need someone to talk to about this stuff, I'd be happy to lend an ear.

Finally: Try not to get anxious about being anxious!


Elbow said...

I agree with Dave.
I have experienced anxiety in the past, but it seems like yours requires real and substancial guidance to get through it.
Seeing a therapist is a hard but amazing experience that you will obviously benefit from.
I feel for you.
I know that it is hard right now, but you can pull yourself out of it. Blogging is a good resource to let your feelings out, but there is more you can do to feel good and safe and anxiety free.
Keep writing, and look into seeing someone to help you with this.
Your life is too full of opportunities to let yourself experience distress like you are.
I know that you can get through this.
You seem like you have the qualities to meet this head on and come out on top.

Janet M. Kincaid said...

Ditto on what Dave and Elbow suggest. I saw a therapist and it saved my life.

I'll be upfront about my experience, though: I didn't want to see anyone from LDS Social Services, but I did want someone who would understand Mormon culture. I ended up with a non-LDS therapist who grew up with a Mormon dad and a Catholic mom, so she understood esoteric Mormon words like "mission" and "stake president" and so on.

Bottom line, though, you can't do this alone any longer and you should seek out a therapist, if you can. Most companies have EAP programs that will pay for a therapist or you can pay out of pocket and then be reimbursed by your work. Either way--next to my college degree, it's the best money I've ever spent and I don't regret a single dollar of it.

Janet M. Kincaid said...

Whoops! That should have said "reimbursed by your work insurance."


-L- said...

Sorry, DC. I feel for you.

I echo that you should see a therapist, or maybe just your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist--they could send you in the right direction (an appropriate therapist) and suggest medication if indicated. I have that whole medical bias, being a med student.

DCTwistedLife said...

I've already been on meds in the past... I could do that, but there are other reasons why I shouldnt (having to do with a career path I am looking to take). I dont feel I need medicine, when I was on it, I was on Paxil for anxiety before, but even at my worst currently I am not as bad as I was before the medication. I've learned to deal. A lot of these posts are just catharsis for me. So I might sound dramatic. And I def. do want to see a therapist though, I think they could help me in all of my confusion and struggles. Thank you all for the caring and support! I really appreciate all the comments. Thanks.

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