Anxiety-The Fear Monster. "It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." Marcus Aurelius

I lost contact with a nephew about a year ago and recently he was found dead-my brother's boy. He had anxiety, depression and addiction problems. This is for him-for the life he might have lived, for the life that you still can.

Fear is the deadliest and most destructive force ever inflicted upon mankind. It steals life, leaves us breathless, physically ill and at times nearly drives us to thought inflicted insanity. It hides intelligence, steals our dreams, hopes, education, careers, friends, families to include countless life enhancing opportunities. It makes us feel hopeless, helpless and oftentimes imprisoned by our own thoughts. I've taken medications and therapy and they helped. When the suffering got debilitating, trust me it helped a lot. The problem was that I still had a lot of negative thoughts, lack of trust and peace in my own mind and powerful emotional memories that could swing me back into anxiety, spikes of panic and hope unraveling despair.

My early forties arrived and I was anxiety ridden, lost, broken and afraid of death, insanity and people. My mother had died in the last year and my best friend of 16 years, a Doberman Pinscher, was about to die also. A promising career in California had been previously vanquished by severe heart failure, anxiety and alcoholism. Shortly after my mother's passing I left California and drove to the mobile home she left me in Northern Minnesota. My anxiety and mental torment were horrendous and i began to drink myself to death. My car license and registration expired. I was behind on my taxes, my rent and most of my bills. I was consuming two 750 ml bottles of hard liquor, a pack of cigarettes and as much marijuana as I could get everyday to hide the pain. I was vomiting, pissing and defecating blood in between going into convulsions, then collapse, wake up and try to crawl to my bedroom. I would freeze or burn up depending upon the hour. Alcohol offered me brief periods of anxiety relief but the repercussions were 100-fold worse. I was severely malnourished, hallucinating, depressed, panicked and had resolved to the fact that my destiny was an alcoholic, anxiety ridden death. The last person who would stop by saw me convulse and left saying they wouldn't be back. I went to a detox center for 3 days shortly after but did not qualify for any further treatment. I spoke to my doctor but he said he did not have much experience in addiction and I never brought it up again. I was sober but my anxiety, sadness and panic was horrible, my right foot would drag and one of my eyes was halfway shut. I begged myself all day long not to drink and paced my room or laid in bed shaking, panicking, could barely eat or think rationally and could not sleep for several days at a time. I lasted several months then I picked up alcohol again to relieve the anxiety and torment and the outcome is obvious. I was terrified of myself and called an old Army brother who is now a deputy sheriff. Without hesitation he drove three hours to pick me up and took me back to his house. I owe that man my life and strange water drops are falling from my eyes as I write this. I'm not going to get into detail about what happened in the coming year but I will say your dreams are possible. I overcame anxiety, sadness, mental anguish, boredom, loneliness and the desire for alcohol or drugs. I still reside in my mobile home today, don't make much money and I'm not afraid of my future nor regret my past-I live happy and free. Marcus Aurelius said "The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."-and he was absolutely correct.

Today I volunteer to work with troubled people which most often includes anxiety and many have overcome the greatest of troubles. I even made a couple of good friends with schizophrenia and dementia along the way. It was said "if another person breathes easier because you have lived then you have succeeded." Well you know what, that sounds really good to me. Simple, happy, helpful and free.

Maybe I'll find the woman of my dreams and maybe I won't. Maybe I'll become rich and maybe I won't. Maybe I'll die of a heart attack and maybe I WON'T. Maybe all of my dreams will come true and maybe they won't but you won't find me afraid to keep fighting for my piece of peace on earth. They say "doing what is easy makes life hard." I will add "and doing what is hard makes life easier." We have all won lottery tickets to the most badass planet in the universe, unfortunately, most of us are too afraid to ever cash it in! I honestly do not care anymore whether it is God, fraud, therapy, meds or destiny that sets you free from your anxiety. There is absolutely no shame in having anxiety, but it is a shame when we won't do anything about the fear except worry more. Kind of, sort of, but, maybe, I can't and I won't are our common vocabulary for us most of the time. If you can compel a persons heart to change their mind will intuitively fallow. Fallow your heart and trust your amazing mind.

Last year I said "yes" to speak to a crowd of well over a hundred people and the butterflies in my belly we're rational. It was an outdoor event at a lake and the weather was perfect-life was perfect. After 5 minutes of nervousness, no notes, and an hour and a half of shooting off my mouth I received a standing ovation. ME! Minnesota mobile-home hillbilly ME! In the past I sat next to the nearest exit or escape route. The lost job opportunity I referenced earlier was a national sales manager job with a national medical laboratory. My anxiety might have stolen that opportunity but it also sent me on the most amazing journey "normies" only dream of. If you think it's not possible to help yourself and work hard to overcome your irrational fear you are absolutely wrong. It was my young mind that created the problem and it was my mind that overcame it. If you think it's unobtainable you've already lost. I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million more-focus on the solution and not the problem/symptoms. I like to say when I speak, for a laugh, "when I began to study psychology I concluded I had one of everything, and today I wear that as a badge of honor." Patience, Persistence, Proactive and be Positive! Good luck, best wishes and may your heart find its way back home. Russ

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  • Russ (thoughtmonster) I was more than moved by your life story. Your motivation and perseverance in knowing that there was something more beyond the fear and doubts. How many times can someone be knocked down and yet not give up but continue on. If you had not, where would your life be today? No where, stuck like many of us.

    Your post was more than uplifting. It didn't come from a book, it came from you, a real person. I admire you in passing it forward so that others can learn from you. You followed your heart and you obtained more than you could have dreamed about. Continued success to you. You inspired me as I'm sure you will for the others on the forum. Thank you for sharing.

  • We are all so glad you turned your life around and overcame your anxiety and other demons. HOW you achieved this, which would have been of some help to fellow sufferers, is conspicuous by its absence. The purpose of this forum is to share tips and methods for recovery, you tell us in great detail about your success but are reluctant to disseminate how you did it.

    Pray, what is the point of your posting?

  • I would be more than happy to elaborate more in the near future but i wanted to keep that posting in context. I'm still new here myself and it was the introduce yoursef link they sent me. My life did not change from one or two learning moments but many and involved many people, many failures and much study. I wish there was an easy or quick fix but the best i think i can do is share my successes and failures over time. I try to share when i have time and am not perfect or always right. Thanks for your input it will help me do better. Best wishes, Russ

  • Russ, you are most welcome here and we will read of your long journey to recovery with great interest and hope that you will gain knowledge from us based on our understanding and experiences of anxiety as we will learn from you.

  • This post just made me question everything.

    It was beautifully written and has left me with a stunned face thinking...what have I got to mope around for. I suffer with severe depression only hints of anxiety but this is still so easy to relate to.

    It left me speechless and inspired.

    Whatever you choose to do in the future I hope you continue on your happy journey. You clearly deserve it.

    L x

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