Crazy anxiety, every day

I'm a 44 year old male and I've dealt with bad anxiety most of my life. It's worst before work and at work, but it doesn't seem related to my current job necessary--I've had it at just about every job I've ever had. My stomach hurts, I have no energy and I just have this horrible feeling of uncertainty about what's going to happen. Sometimes my chest is really tight and hurts and I worry I'm about to have a heart attack, even. It feels like I have no control over things and I don't even necessarily fear specific things, it's just an overpowering negative and scary general feeling that I have, ALL the time.

In addition to feeling this way consistently, I also have very strong social anxiety, very nervous about meeting people and how they view me. I even get nervous when meeting a friend I haven't seen in awhile. I'm hardly ever comfortable in a social situation except with just a few specific people (my wife and a couple friends).

I've tried counseling in the past, prayer, meditation, getting more exercise, breathing techniques, almost anything anyone can think of. I'm going to see a counselor again later this month but I'm not that hopeful that there'll be any improvement, because I've seen people before and it's never helped. I currently take Hydroxyzine and Sertraline and have been on both for a few months and neither has helped at all (I've tried taking just one of them, and also combinations, and there's never any improvement.).

I'm not suicidal, I wouldn't say, although sometimes I have this vague general feeling in the back of my mind that NOT being around would certainly trump the horrible anxiety and fear, the mentally painful ways that I feel nearly every single day. But again, NO, I would never kill myself. Still, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone and especially from anyone who's felt this same way in these type of circumstances and was able to overcome it, completely. I want to know there's hope and a chance that one day I can lead a normal and happier life than anxiety allows me to, currently.

Thanks, all.

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  • Hi pitt82 and welcome. I can relate to some of your situation, especially feeling unweell or not right when there seems like no good reason for that! I have anxiety of various types, mainly about my health and that of my child. Have had it all my life, but since becoming a parent it's been much worse.

    Like you I am functioning - go to work, get on with life etc and like you I have had therapy (though no meds). My therapy really helped, although it took over a year of sessions to feel like myself again, ie my fears were down at a level which seems healthy to me.

    My dad is a worrier, a nervy type, and my mum is very controlling and anxious, so I think I will always be highly strung. But I was able to explore deep stuff with my therapist and although I was v cynical about this, telling her I thought it was a waste of time because I obviously had a heart problem, I did trust her and very gradually I was able to think myself out of panic and fear.

    She did eye movement rapid desensitization therapy with me, which is a bit like cbt with an element of physical reprogramming using your eyes.

    What can I say? It helped me. I still am an anxious person but not to where it restricts my life or my child's. I am under incredible stress at work lately and my symptoms have come back with a vengeance but I (mostly!) can tell myself I am not dying, and that symptoms are my body's cry for help, or at least, for a holiday and some support for the pressure. Time and again I have seen how genuinely engaging with something (writing, reading, helping people, cooking) makes the symptoms vanish. It is all in my head however real the upset stomach, heart pain, blocked nose and throat, may be. Because I don't get any of it when I am distracted.

    All this is my way of saying, find a therapist you can work with and stick with it. My laughed when I said once I'd been seeing her for ages and felt no better . She said, it's been six months. If it had been five years I might think it was ages. And I realised th st forty years of stuff probably wouldn't be fixed with a couple of weeks of talk.

    When the change came it felt fast. I just woke up one morning and felt well. Had a couple more sessions over two months. Still felt well. Have not been back.

    I have thought in recent days of going back because of my symptoms returning after an absence of eight months. I haven't yet, because I know that it is all coming from my mind. And that's the cure she gave me.

    Sorry this is so long. I hope it helps. You can get better if you work with someone you trust. Good luck!

    -worrymagic

  • part from all that I've written in my posts, id forgotten one thing which I was just reminded about......I cannot walk into a room full of people,even if i knew them. I cannot meet people, i shy away and yet once I'm with people I really know Im fine. I have no confidence left inside of me. Ive become a recluse almost.if i talk to some one I don't know, i spend hours wondering what they think of me.

    as far as suicide goes....no way and yes I too have had those thoughts....but never would I even have the strength to do it let alone the courage. I'm wondering whats worse, depression which I don't have thank god, or anxiety...............but either one, they are killers of not controlled.

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