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My first post is on New Year's Day. I want to introduce myself because people might have a panic attack seeing a new moderator in their midst. I will probably edit it after a while since it is long has a lot of information, My name is John, username Ironman, and I am a carryover from anxiety-space.com. I have been a moderator on that site since almost the beginning, and was a moderator on another forum for over six years. A résumé in three sentences lol. My history with anxiety: My first real panic attack was January 28, 1989. I was in the eighth grade (13 1/2) and I was dealing with a mother who has mental illness and had just been hospitalized for 11 days during the previous Christmas. Her illness behaved much like an alcoholic only it was 24/7 with her behavior. That, in turn, had me put pressure on myself to succeed. In the beginning, I could count on two nights a month where I would not sleep well. It would shift into hypochondriasis and catastrophization (big words lol). I got through high school and college with periodic episodes. I ended up having acquaintances, but they never really go to know me. I wouldn't let them because I was teased about my mother. That mindset stuck. By 1999, I had finished college and attempted to start my own life - but depression set in. At that point, I decided to seek help. I started seeing a doctor who couldn't quite pinpoint what my issue was, just that I had anxiety. In 2000, I joined a church with the expectation that I could make friends who were decent. Little did I know that the more I tried to make friends, the worse I got. In 2002, the anxiety started getting worse after a weekend trip to Gatlinburg. The worry about what was going on flared up and got worse throughout 2003. On New Year's Eve 2003, I remember being the only person at the altar praying (this was one of those charismatic churches) and God told me that I would not be at the church at the end of 2004. In the midst of the anxiety, that was unsettling. This is where things get really weird and I have to use my hindsight and what I have learned. In January 2004, I know that I had anxiety that was bad enough that I was derealizing/depersonalizing ("zoning out"), and the choir was sitting behind the preacher/evangelist. At the end of one service the preacher's wife screamed "you are going through what you are because you didn't try out for the choir!" The choir knew I was interested in trying out - but when I did in 2000, we were handed a several-page document on rules, ending with a contract that we would support the leadership (preacher's daughter and son-in-law) 100 percent. I found that kind of odd and walked out before I auditioned (I play woodwind instruments). Taking things personally is a big thing with anxiety sufferers and that made it worse. To make a long story short, they tried to kick me out of the church twice, incorrectly using Scripture. Since the church was not part of a denomination, they could do what they wanted. The first time was Easter Sunday 2004, after I was so racked with anxiety that I felt unworthy to take Communion - BIG mistake in that church. The preacher's wife screamed out "if you're causing divisions, we'll kick you out!" I went to the altar and prayed for something unrelated like my anxiety - and the choir was cheering and pointing to me.....before shunning me altogether. I started withdrawing from people I thought were my friends - I was in with a group that were brown-nosers to the pastors. They had a TV show on a cable channel and thought they were something else. The anxiety exploded to the point I was rocking in a fetal position begging for the nerves to stop. In my mind, "looking at people" was my crime (derealization was something I didn't know anything about at the time) so I won't look at the preacher or the choir. That must have offended the ego of the pastor's wife because she tried to kick me out again in June 2004. It's a three step process to kick somebody out and June 6, 2004 was actually step two. I pulled a friend who I could trust, had him pray with me at the altar, and I left the church for good. I have to add that August 2002 to June 2004 was also a trying period in my life (I call it my Job trial). Job, in the Bible, was a man who lost everything and people around him told him to give up his faith and he wouldn't do it. In my case, I had become unemployed, lost my dog, my grandmother, faced having a root canal with no insurance, had boils like Job, lost my friends, and then my church, and almost what was left of my sanity.....in two years. Twelve days after I left the church, I landed a job (software engineer). But, the anxiety didn't go away! I got a new doctor in June 2004 and finally got diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. That's another storyline in my soap opera lol. I have been at my current church since October 2006 - a HEALTHIER ONE. I would be able to help here with the issue of spiritual abuse. I am still working on social interaction, though - it's a process, but I have come a LONG way. ...oh and before I close, that "bad church" sent me a packet to rejoin in March 2005 - I keep it as a reminder of the pain I went through. The pastor's wife and that church have been through unbelievable stuff that only God can dish out! One example - June 14, 2010: God released me from the Church when the 62-foot tall fiberglass statue of Jesus ("Big Butter Touchdown Jesus" as people called it) was struck by lightning and disintegrated. Anyway, I wanted to provide a bit of background. Those at AnxietySpace know me, but AnxietyCentral would see me as an invader lol. I hope 2021 can bring some peace and knowledge that 2020 was actually an interesting experience. People were going through what we have for years!
Hi everyone, This will be a long post, so feel free to skip it if you want to. But somewhere on the site I read a reply from Jonathan in which he wrote something about finding the underlying cause of health anxiety. I have one symptom after the other and cannot seem to get to the other side......but the underlying cause is starting to be pretty clear to me, and I have never told it to anyone other than my husband and my parents, and I think I need to put it into words, get it out there - so this is my story. I have suffered from depression for more than 15 years, actually when I think back it has always been a part of me, I just never knew what it was. For 15 years I have gone through these long depressive periods. I would be good for a while, able to work and then it hit me, and I could not do anything. It still goes up and down like that, and right now I am down, can't work or do anything else. I have been medicated for 15 years, every now and then my meds have to be changed, because they just stop working. So I have struggled with side effects, withdrawal syndrome, you name it. Right now I am on a med that gives me so many side effects and does not seem to help my depression or my anxiety, so I am facing a new med once again. In the early spring of 2012 I found out that I was pregnant. I was 40 at the time and felt really well and my husband and I felt blessed. We already had 2 children, but decided to welcome this third child with open arms. My doctor sent me for an early scan because of my medication. A few days before the scan I started spotting. Went to the hospital and was greeted by an elderly, male doctor who said that the spotting was probably a miscarriage due to my age. He scanned me anyway and right away said: There is no baby, just some tissue. He sent me home with what they call a medicinal abortion. I had to take 2 pills the next morning and wait to start bleeding. I was heartbroken! On my birthday when the children had left for school and my husband for work, I took the pills and waited.......nothing happened. In the afternoon a nurse from the hospital called me to hear if I had started bleeding. At that time I was in a lot of pain with cramps and she said it would be over soon. I started bleeding a little, and thought that that was it. A month later I went for a scan to see that all the tissue was gone. My husband and my daughter were there aswell, in the waiting room. A young doctor scanned me and got very quiet. Then she said: How long ago did you take the pills? I answered her and she said: I don't understand because I am looking at a foetus, app. 10 weeks old and with a heartbeat. I started crying and shaking and did not understand anything. She got my husband from the waiting room and said that she had to consult with an older colleague. She came back a few minutes later and said that I could continue the pregnancy and come back for a scan of the baby's neck a few weeks later to check for Downs etc. No explanation, nothing.... Came back for the scan. It showed that there was an increased risk of Downs syndrome and they advised me to have a biopsy of the placenta. Came back for that - the doctor said: Before we do this, have you been told that the abortion medication can cause different birth defects? I said that we had been told that we could continue the pregnancy without any problems. She told me that there could be numerous defects and that I might want to reconsider the biopsy and have an abortion instead......I said no and had the biopsy. The results came back the next day: everything was fine and we were expecting a boy. We were so happy! A week later the phone rang. It was the hospital and they said that something had showed up in the biopsy anyway: an inversion on chromosome 14. Noone knew what it meant - and we had to have further tests done and sent to the genetic lab. They also sent us papers to apply for a late abortion (at that time I was 18 weeks along). Everything was so surreal and I just felt totally lost. After a week the genetic lab called me and said that it was good news. The inversion would mean absolutely nothing for my baby. Everything was fine, but they advised me to go for specialised scans to check for any birth defects from the medication. I had scans every 2 weeks for the rest of the pregnancy, it was horrible. My blood pressure was way to high and I was admitted to hospital twice because of it. I just could not believe that things would end well. I finally went into labour 6 weeks too early. When the baby came I closed my eyes and asked the midwife to take a good look at him and tell me if anything was horribly wrong. I was too afraid to look for myself. She said: he is beautiful! And she put him in my arms and he looked at me and I just broke down. I was so happy. An hour after birth he got really quiet and all of sudden a doctor from the NICU came running and said that because of my antidepressants the baby's blood sugar was too low and that he had to take him right away. My husband went with them and all I could do was lay there. I begged the midwife to let me get dressed a go to the NICU and she finally said yes. I walked along the long, dark halls of the hospital crying my eyes out. At the NICU 4 people were standing around my baby sticking needles in him and putting a tube in his nose for milk. They allowed me to stay the night in a chair. The next day he was better and I could take him out and hold him and feed him. The day after we were able to leave the NICU and 3 days later we went home, so happy. But after a couple of days it was clear to us that something was wrong. My son slept all the time and did not wake up for his feedings. We were sent back to the hospital and were there for a week until he fed better and put on weight. We finally had a break and I allowed myself to relax and enjoy him. When he was little under 3 months old he got very sick. I was sure that it was the genetic defect that made him sick. He would not eat, coughed and could not breathe. We were admitted to the hospital with what the called a RS virus (a respitory virus). He was so ill and barely ate anything. We were there for 10 days. When the day came for us to go home the doctor examined him and said that there was an abnormal sound on his heart and that we had to have it checked out. I was sure again that it had to be the genetic defect. We had his heart scanned be a specialist - nothing was wrong, it was just the virus that had that effect on the heart. In that period my best friend was also battling breast c****r (today she is fine) and we lost my father in law to c****r. After that every little thing about him scared me and I just could not give up the thought that something was wrong with him. But everything turned out to be fine and he grew into the most beautiful little boy. But for me it went downhill. I could not relax, had panic attacks and got a serious depression. They put me on new meds......did not help and then this health anxiety started. The psychologist I am now seing says that when everything was finally fine about the baby I had gotten so used to being on guard all the time, and be prepared for the worst, that I referred the fear to myself. It makes so much sense to me. Because that is exactly what I am feeling: that if I relax and believe that everything is fine, something terrible is going to happen. I just cannot get out of that mindset!! My mind is totally focused on c****r, although I have had so much blood work done, that my doctor says it is impossible!!! It is as if my mind is just totally locked on it and I just don't know how to rewire it, but I think that telling this story is a step in the right direction, and I am going to work very hard in cognitive therapy to get over this. I just have so much to live for, and I am terrified of being taken away from my children and my husband. I hope it is ok that I posted my story here! Lots of love, Camilla
So where do I begin... I'm 18 and have been dealing with anxiety since I was 10, it all started when my dad got ill after my parents divorced (my dad is now healthy and me and my mum have the best relationship). This caused me to have anxiety about losing my parents, I was so scared about being alone. I had this anxiety issue only at night when I would have panic attacks and eventually fall asleep after reassurance from my amazing parents. My anxiety isn't constant, I have gone 3/4 years and only had several panic attacks - all occurring before big events like starting school, college or a new job. However when starting university and living away from home I quickly went downhill. I became so anxious that I had several panic attacks a day, and then became depressed. It took one week for me to make the decision that it wasn't right for me, and I came home and am currently looking for a job. Since coming home I have tried two different medications for my anxiety and depression, the first didn't help as the side effects gave me more anxiety, but the second medication has helped a lot. My doctor reassured me that taking medication didn't make me weak, or crazy it was perfectly normal. If you had a thyroid problem you would take tablets for it, so why wouldn't you take medication to help your brain function normally? I am now writing this 6 weeks on, I am still looking for a job but am hopeful and have an interview tomorrow...eek! My depression is gone, my anxiety is much calmer - I still feel anxious at night but no panic attacks. If anyone actually reads this any tips, advice or questions you have will be greatly appreciated. Remember, you are not alone in the fight to stop anxiety!!