My Own Experience of Suffering with Anxiety

Hi All

I've just registered to this support website after reading some of your own experiences suffering from anxiety and the way it affects you on a daily basis, so I thought I would take this opportunity to give you my story.

Firstly, I want to say, that even though we are all strangers on this site, we are inexplicably linked by one thing - some form of mental illness and your experiences are as real to me as they are to you. My thoughts go out to you at this moment in time and I hope you eventually find that peace of mind we are all searching for!

I'm 61, married for 23 years to the best wife I could ever hope to have. I live in a 16th-century cottage in rural Shropshire, a successful professional person in my chosen occupation. All in all, you would say that life should be good for me compared to other people in this world, but I only wish this was true. At the moment of composing this post, I'm looking at my wife whose knitting and my 3 dogs chilling on the furniture. Sounds quite idyllic doesn't it, but nothing could be further from the truth as I feel absolutely awful with the effects of anxiety and for what reason - no idea.

This all started 16 years ago, when for no conscious reason I started to get anxious and have panic attacks almost all the time of a period of 2 months. I spent this time feeling depressed and I was convinced I was going to die. This spiralled out of control and took me to some dark places in my mind that I never knew existed. Although my wife was supportive through this dark period, I never really felt she knew what I was going through and I was the only person in the world experiencing these feelings of doom and gloom. Eventually, I went to the hospital with chest pains and short of breath thinking I would be diagnosed with a terminal heart condition, only to be told by a doctor that I was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. Now let me tell you, that some doctor telling me that I was suffering from a mental condition (whether we want to call it that, it is what it is!), to a person who is the most switched on, sane, funny, extrovert person that he has a mental illness well I was devastated. But thinking about it afterwards it did make sense to why I was feeling the way I did. However, the mental health thing never hit me until I received a letter from 'North Shropshire Mental Health Trust' inviting me to group counselling sessions, which I gladly went along too, but stopped after only 2 sessions as the people attending wherein a worse state than myself and made me feel even more depressed.

Anyway, after being prescribed antidepressants, over-time i did recover up to 90% of what I was before I became ill and but for the odd bout of anxiety have fared well until 3 weeks ago, when it all came back with a vengance with all those feelings of anxiety, muscle pains, depression, stomach muscle spasms etc. making me feel crap for most of the day. It got so bad two weeks ago that my blood pressure went up to 205 over 110, which made me feel even worse and the more I thought about it the worse it got. My GP prescribed my some blood pressure tablets that seem to be working, along with stronger anti-depressants which I'm still not sure about but will give them a go.

So there you are - hope I didn't bore you too much.

But what is the answer? Although we suffer from the same symptoms, one size will never fit all e.g. medication, alternative therapy, alcohol, illegal substances, CBT etc. However, our real aim is to get back to those times before we became different to those that call themselves sane. I don't have an answer, but I will keep searching for the 'magic bullet' that will help me get back to at least some normality in the future.

For now, I would like to thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences amongst all of us suffering at the moment and hope we will all get better soon!

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6 Replies

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  • Hi Kayjzee

    Your story is one I and many others can n will relate too, as you describe in your post, this anxiety just appears from nowhere n turns your life upside down.

    I struggled on n off for a long time with the symptoms that anxiety brings, I was well n truly stuck in the dreaded fear cycle, it was unbelievably scary at times..I gradually managed to accept that as there didn't seem anyway to fight anxiety I'd just have to live with it, amazingly this is when it started to ease, I gained as much information as I could on mental health, I attended courses, used youtube, read books etc etc, it has all brought me to a much happier place now, it's not easy to overcome anxiety, but it's most definitely not impossible, I live n laugh now n infact I'm grateful for the torment that anxiety caused me, it's given me a different out look, it's made me stronger n has opened my eyes to the amazing ways in which our minds work, it's all about acceptance, no need to fight, just let it be there n carry on, it gradually becomes less n less, don't be disheartened by it's return either, treat it as nothing more than a little set back, a blip, you can get through anxiety n all the fears, I n many many more do :-) hang in there xxxx

  • Hi Suzie

    Thank you for replying to my post. To me, your own experience and recovery are an inspiration to me and others that are either suffering or as yet to realise that are suffering from a very debilitating condition that you cannot control. Mental conditions like anxiety can strike at any time and to anyone regardless of wealth, religion, sexual orientation, colour etc. and for the first time sufferer you and I know can be a terrifying experience short of none.

    So Suzie, please keep us all up to date with your progress so this site isn't just about sufferers it's also about the cured!

    Kjayzee xx

  • We're very similar. It's why I love this site. Not that I wish these problems on anyone but it really is comforting knowing there are many other people going through the same thing and we're not alone with our issues. I also have had panic and anxiety problems that I for the most part overcame 20 years ago and BAM back with a vengeance after I quit smoking January 1st. I'm a 54 yr old female and like you, my spouse tries to understand (thank goodness he tries) but never really can. Glad you added your post. It helps. :) I'm also back on medication. My doctor tried Paxil and I had too many side effects so now he's given me Zoloft which I start in a few days. I wasted a lot of days and feeling like crap on Paxil only to have to stop taking it. Hopefully Zoloft will help.

  • Hi kjayzee, welcome aboard!!😁How many times over the years I have heard people say what have they got to be depressed about? Great job!! Great life!! Is it hormonal? Sometimes I believe it is. I think some people inherit a specific gene which makes them more predisposed to suffer anxiety and depression. Our life experiences for sure can cause it, leaving us with triggers which can be set of at any time.Which ever the cause or causes may be it's very real. Very scary, very lonely. We hopefully come to recognise the signs and hopefully the triggers. We then have to have a plan to try and manage it all. For me it is distraction, walking, meditation and reminding myself that I am very lucky for lots of reasons. My heart is still beating, I'm living this day and try and make the most of it all. We have to try help support and encourage each other to get through the hard times and I'm happy to see you've found this forum where hopefully you will get the support you need. You told your story brilliantly by the way!! I could picture it all in my minds eye 😁

  • Hi Angep

    You are absolutely right in your reply. It's strange that I'm quite happy with my lot, but to be honest I feel there is something missing in my life.

    Since reaching 60 I started to evaluate my life over the next 4 or 5 years and to be quite honest, I couldn't think of anything I want to do or achieve before I get too old to do anything, which is sad really.

    I feeling too old now to experience all the things that young people today are experiencing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the 60's and 70's and enjoyed growing up but I envy these young people as they have the world at their feet whereas life was so different when I was growing up.

    That is why I'm feeling the way I do as I'm bitter that I was not able to achieve as much as I wanted to when I was young, unlike the young people of today.

    Sorry for venting my spleen but its the way I feel. The answer is more simple than I thought, which is, I need to accept that I'm getting old and need to do as much as I can rather than thinking about life in an 'old people's home' and ultimately the end of my life.

    I suppose the only upside to my gripe is that I'm lucky to think that I won't be growing up in the future looking at the state of the world at the moment.

    Kjayzee

  • Well I do understand what your saying but first of all you're not getting old!! Your just getting older!! I'm 55 this year. I could feel robbed by events that happened in my passed but it's a long story and it would take too long to write it all down., but briefly I nearly died last year. I have an incurable ilness (chrohns) disease. I'm having treatment to try get me in remission but that treatment could give me cancer or a host of other things. So let's just say it changed my way of thinking!! I work in a care home and there are two people in there that are 100 years old. They are both mobile, have all their facilities walk to the bathroom all be it a bit slowly, and one does lots of crosswords, Both of them a bit deaf otherwise they are really well and happy!! So my point is this, 60 really isn't old, think about the people you have known that perhaps didn't make it to 60!! And you don't have to sit there and accept anything!! Think of what you would like to do? What haven't you done yet? Just do it!! New hobbies new places to see!! Don't grieve for what has gone because we can't change that. We can make our future though, we can plan and we all need something to look forward too. If ever I feel hard done too I always remember this quote!! One day your heart will stop beating and none of your fears will matter!! What will matter is how you lived!! I don't envy the younger generation. I have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I think it's harder for them in lots of ways. I also think things we were taught like basic living skills, cooking, sewing etc is a dieing art. Even ironing is a No No in some cases!! I value the lessons I learned from being a 60s child😁 It's my weekend off my family all live up North if it hadn't been bank holiday we would have visited them as I haven't seen them in a good while and I miss them. So today my lovely chap and I will go out for the day and make some good memories 🙏🏻 I hope you have a great weekend too. Do something nice 👍

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