“You worry too much…”

When I was 15 years old, my mom sent me to a therapist after she learned about my first big drink-fueled night out. I don’t remember much of that evening, but I do remember it ended with me laying in my friend’s bed staring at a picture of an elephant and throwing up over and over. I was only a freshman in high school. I’d had a rough few years dealing with a chaotic and lonely home life, and my angry truth came out during this drunken flight. There was a boy who took care of me that evening. He was moved (or hopeful) enough to write me a long letter, record a mixed cassette tape and deliver it to my home. I never got to read the letter or listen to the tape. My mom found it first, and I was marched over to the office of a “good” therapist who quickly concluded, “You worry too much…” Ah yeah, I know that.

This was the 1970s, and once an expert stated his conclusion, everyone breathed out a collective sigh, thankful it wasn’t something worse. No exploration about why I worried so much (probably best not to unearth since it might reflect poorly on the family sort of thing.) {{{Sigh}}}

Anxiety has plagued me throughout my entire 51 years of life. I’ve suffered, in silence, thinking something was wrong with me. And I’m slowly learning about all of the ways anxiety manifest in our bodies, mind, and spirit. From PTSD-type of symptoms (quickening pulse, fears, irrational thinking), to daily obsessive worry that if I don’t remain hyper-vigilant, something out there will trick or hurt me, to ruminating on a problem that is not my business and I have zero control over. Ugh…it’s exhausting.

I believe I drank to drown out all of this. I just didn’t want to have to deal with it. It almost seemed like a weakness to have such a permeable psyche. I never considered nor could admit that I had a mental health issue. “Mental health” brought up pictures of hospitals, white robes, slippers, and a general sense unease. I was not going to succumb to this. No way. Enter drinking.

I bring up anxiety today because I’ve been successfully treating mine with an SNRI. I’ve been on one in particular for nine months, and it worked well. Taking a medication quieted down my internal chatter so I could observe and learn about tools I could use to manage my anxiety — a condition I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. I have learned much and have nearly six months of sobriety so I’ve decided it’s time to see if I can fly without my medications. I’ve been wholly weaned off for two weeks now. Anxiety is creeping back in and shows up in uncomfortable ways — social stress, lack of confidence and increasing chatter in my head. I will use the next few months to use the many tools of recovery to see if I can manage it. I will continue to write about this in detail as I go.

I am so very grateful that there are many brave, compassionate souls creating avenues for many, many more people to learn about recovery. I believe this work is evolving our way of being in this world and will shift us collectively in a positive direction.

Happy 2018.

Love, Diana

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Untipsyteacher | 4th Jan 18

    I have learned a lot about anxiety. I used to suffer from it and panic attacks.
    I am so much better now, and I think it partly had to do with hormones.
    Stopping drinking was the best to help.
    I also was on some meds to help, but they made me too weird.
    I am only on one anti depressant now.
    Social anxiety, comparing myself, thinking I was never good enough, all stemmed from my child hood as well as my own personality. I am learning that I really am ok just being me, and it has taken me time, and a lot of positive self talk to finally be making a big difference.
    We are changing the world, and we are brave as can be!
    Big Hugs,
    Wendy

  2. Renee | 4th Jan 18

    You are so brave Diana! Take it slow and easy and make sure you continue to put yourself first during this time. I wish you the best as always in your journey!
    xo,
    Renee

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