Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell.

Anything can trigger it, sometimes it just comes out of nowhere without any factor to set it off. We all deal with stress differently, it's a natural part of life. However, almost 1 in 5 people have some sort of anxiety disorder. Me? I have GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with panic attacks. Being as that I do not have the insurance or the money to cover the staggering cost of the medication I need, the only way to block it out is to drink, when I do have a little bit of cash. I've used alcohol to cope with my anxiety problems for about a decade now and I'll admit, it does a damn good job. Honestly, I usually like who I am when I drink. I'm not nervous and I don't feel like people are judging me. We all have our own little coping mechanisms, that's mine.

Why am I talking about this here? Because I was inspired to write this after a blog post by my good friend Alexis that made me realize this is something people really don't want to talk about. 1 in 5 people have some type of anxiety disorder, that's 20% of everyone here in the US so why is there such a stigma attached to it? Why don't we give it the same kind of attention that we give to cancer, diabetes and other issues? Having an anxiety disorder doesn't mean you're crazy, it's not something you inflicted upon yourself, it doesn't make you less of a person. We can talk about some of the most intimate moments of our sex lives with others but for some reason, the workings of our brains are somehow taboo?

I still remember a friend of mine who served in Iraq who had PTSD, it was very obvious when he came back. There were alot of them, Army soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 through 2005. One used to hole up in his apartment for days on end and always carried a number of weapons when he did go out. Another would randomly switch between crying and trying to attack passersby when he had his episodes. The friend I worked with had panic attacks and drank heavily. I had never seen him violent until he came back from Iraq. The following Thanksgiving, he went home to his mother's house and hung himself in the closet. He would probably still be here today if he had received the proper therapy.

I'm not sure when I had my first panic attack, we all have our moments when we are so completely overwhelmed that we feel like it's impossible to move, think, etc. I do remember the nights after my two car accidents, being unable to sleep and the nightmares that came when I finally managed to catch those elusive moments of shuteye. I still panic when another vehicle gets too close to me or when headlights come up behind me quickly at night. There are days, not nearly as frequent as before, when it is nearly impossible to get out of bed and get going. There are some that will say that you just need to push through it, and to some extent, you can do that but it's no substitute for therapy, medication and a support system.

Get help, talk about it. Remember, this is not something that is somehow your fault. If we can talk about sex as openly as we do, certainly anxiety disorders shouldn't be that big of a leap.


  1. I know that I spent a good bit of my time busting your chops, but that doesn't mean that i would give you or any one else crap over stuff like this. I too see a lot folks dealing with issues like this. Thankfully I don't know what it is like, but I do listen well. There are several folks in my family that have found not just alcohol but hard drugs to deal with their issues. I do know what that part does. You have my number if you ever just need some one to listen.

  2. Much appreciated. I don't have too much trouble admitting that I have issues but then again, don't we all? I just wish that there wasn't such a stigma attached to something that is really common. I'm not talking about it so much as for my case, but for public awareness overall.

  3. I know that you aren't and, that you are mainly using your situation as an illustration as to how this can effect almost anyone, but I don't know everyone. I just know you.

  4. It's a discussion that people need to have and it really should be more visible. If it were, maybe more people wouldn't have such a hard time dealing. I thought I was insane. It was almost a relief to find out what I was dealing with had a name.

  5. looking into a mirror...i have had crippling anxiety for years now..had 2 tours in the psych ward....and now, as a result, i suffer from benzodiazepine withdrawl syndrome. Most days I cannot even fathom getting out of bed, nevermind leaving my apartment, unless it is to go get cigarettes or more for therapy, what they offer here isn't that shit hot, i find it is easier to just talk to someone else who is experiencing the same thing, most people who haven't had it happen to them will never understand anyways...

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. It's not easy for people to do and you have my respect.