New on here - already helping me loads

Not quite sure how to start this but here goes, I guess its good for me to get it all out because I haven't talked to anyone else about how I feel apart from my GP, and I hope that someone else may read something that helps them, even if it is just knowing that someone else is thinking the same thing!

I was always quite a nervous child, I always had lots of friends at school but never really did anything socially outside of school until I was 18, quite late I know. I then had a really good few years at university and afterwards socially, at work setting up my own business, buying a house with my (now) wife etc etc.

Then my dad got cancer and was ill for about 9 months before he died, seeing him in such decline coincided with a massive stressful time at work when I thought I was going to lose my business. I couldn't sleep for more than 2 hours a night, I didn't eat, I had that awful fight/slight adrenaline rush in the stomach and tight band across my chest for more than 3 months. Then he died, the stress at work miraculously went away and with some sleeping pills for a few weeks it all went away..... or so I thought.

4 years later (now) I have one bad bit of news (that I'm having a normal, standard tax inspection) this has sent me right over the edge. All those same feelings are back, I've started smoking again, I can't enjoy being with my young family and pregnant wife who I adore. The funny feeling is, looking back it was all there, I had chest pains more than a year ago, went for some tests with no bad results, I've started to be more inward looking, not seeing my friends etc etc. But until now had no idea that I was suffering with anxiety.

It was all building up and it just needed something like this to tip me over the edge. I feel like I'm two people. The one who's keeping it calm on the surface but is retching and struggling to breathe when nobody is watching. On top of everything else, its my birthday. Woohoo. I'm going out to dinner with my wife on a oh so precious break from childcare, but all I can think is how am I going to keep a smile on my face? Is this normal?? Should I just hide under the covers for a few days? Run away to Cornwall to start a new life cutting lawns for a living?? The truth is I can't do any of these things because I have a company to run, people who I employ to find work for, and most importantly my wife and child to look after and spend (supposedly happy) time with.

How do you do it?? I have no idea at the minute, I get the feeling that once the tax man has been and gone I will go back to "normal" but actually now, I think I've had the realisation that what I thought was normal actually isn't. By which I mean I thought I was happy and one of the more relaxed people I know but it turns out maybe I wasn't/aren't.

I've been to the GP a few days ago who has given me citalopram 10mg and zopiclone 3.75mg to help me sleep, but if anything the citalopram is making me more shaky and the zopiclone hasn't helped so far not even when I took two last night.

If it wasn't for stumbling upon this site and realising this isn't just me that feels like their breath has been taken away I would think that I was going mad. It's so good to look through and hear other people's stories, they help take the edge off definitely. It also feels cathartic to write this all down, I think It must be the first time I've expressed myself like this ever!

7 Replies

  • I can relate to you absolutely Russ.

    I was in a horrendously stressful job with terrible lonely, cold and damp working conditions when I started to get 'bad', then I left to start my own business and my dad, like yours, took sick and lingered for five months before passing away.

    This tipped me right over the edge into shaking anxiety and terrible health anxiety.

    That was 1995 and I still have bad turns now but after councilling back then I do understand why I get like this, but it doesn't help at 4am!

    I'm still self-employed and I'm sure that is a big factor in my anxiety.

    I refused all medication, but that's a personal thing and I wouldn't say pills are good or bad as it's up to the individual.

  • Hi Russ,

    Happy Birthday !

    Here's my present to you :-)

    We cant fight or run from all this anxiety, as it is in our heads. But we all do !

    So, we have to make friends with ourselves again, and not fight it or run away.

    You do have some stress coming with the tax man, but as a business man, I'm sure you can prioritise your time to get it all in order in time, and dont rush, take your time, and smile as your doing it.

    The important thing is, in a panic, adrenaline is released because of some percieved danger, and we get a need to fight or flight.

    That was fine in the stone age, as there was probably a sabre toothed tigger just about to attack.

    now in the 21 st century, there are no real dangers, or very few.

    So we are winding ourselves up with all this anxiety, when really there is nothing going on.

    In a fight or flight situation, all we can do is observe whats happening, WITHOUT reacting by fighting or running, in this we FACE our fear, ACCEPT it is not dangerous, just unpleasant, FLOAT through the symptoms and LET TIME PASS, and the adrenaline will abate. Its a very subtle thing to actually do, and I mean subtle, but its SO powerfull, we do nothing and it all goes away WITH PRACTICE.

    So, fight/flight, look about, if your safe in reality, just dont fight it or run away, sit down deep breath, concentrating on elongating the out breath, and do the above, with practice it gets easier, promise.

    Go on your well deserved break with the Mrs, you deserve it, and believe you do !

    Dont expect to be anything, not happy not sad, just be you, let the wife know not to expect too much and the stress comes off, allowing you to just be you.

    Cornwall sounds good by the way, and cutting peoples grass for a living :-) I'm tempted, in fact I'm packing as we speak :-)

    One more thing, try not to be hard on yourself either, allow yourself to relax, exercise is very important, even a good walk clears the mind. Stay clear of alchohol as it makes anxiety worse, cut down the caffiene salt sugar too. I dont drink caffiene after 7pm, I've done this and I can sleep now after practicing it now for a while.

    Next buy yourself a present, just something small, but precious, for giving all the above a good go, dont expect results just do it.

    Sounds like you have a great life there, with loving wife and children. APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE, forget about what you desire or want, as they make us unhappy.

    Wish you well



  • Thanks guys, it's so good to listen to how you all cope and your perspectives on things. I really don;t want to keep on with the medication but until I can start to see some counselling I'm really struggling to keep it together - I'll try anything now! It's interesting the self-employed thing, like with so many choices, its got both sides, it's so stressful having everything on your shoulders but equally horrible in different ways would be having to work for someone you hated with people you didn;t get on with - arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh! There's no easy way! Thanks for the tips and the love Baylien - I've never been able to handle even a cup of tea after 3pm and I can't remember the last time I had more than a pint - how rock and roll you get when you grow up! Really interested in this acceptance thing - like you say - so subtle, and hard to grab hold of, but I really think that's really my issue - when I get like this I worry about stuff constantly instead of floating through it, I'm definitely not a patient man so letting go and letting time do its thing is really hard. Its therefore difficult to sit back and appreciate the good things, I know its wrong but my brain just won't listen to reason. Why is it that despite all the evidence to the good it just doesn't register??

  • The self-employed are very prone to anxiety so I have it on good authority. My friend is also self-employed and he has bad health anxiety too.

    When he saw the doctor, the doc said it was common with the self-employed and he was seeing more and more self-employed people coming in with anxiety symptoms.

    I can see why struggling to keep our collective heads above water these days.

  • Hi Russ,

    Your brain wont listen to reason as you dont want to yourself. I had this, its like I enjoyed the danger, I used to get off on stress.

    I'm now dealing with high blood pressure cholesterol, a pacemaker, IBS, the list goes on.

    Thats what your heading for too, its your call though, as I know how desireous stress can be.

    I gave it up :-) as it was killing me, and wasted 30 yrs of my life. Stop now, lol, read what I wrote just for you again. I'm saying this in a I know what your going through attitude, I understand.

    Hope you can make a good decision Russ :-)



  • Hi Again Russ.

    Baylien is speaking so much sense. I have tried for years to fight it off, the more you do not accept it the more it affect you. Recently I have tried accepting it and up until recently I was doing ok.

    I to take meds. Citalopram, Pregabalin and the good old Zopiclone. I am looking in to getting some CBT. in the mean time I have registered with a councillor and now on a short waiting list. It sounds like you and I have similar symptoms of how it affects us? Not until fairly recently did I know it was anxiety. I always thought I was just not wired right or something lol. It we don't make light of it life is so unbearable.

  • A lot a lot of answers for me in these blogs,I always just thought I was an excessive worrier until I really went over the edge,I was self employed for over 20years and never even managed to get holidays unless it was Xmas and new year,by holidays I mean getting time off.I did do a lot of worrying about my work,but my anxiety really took over when I retired.

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