A letter I wrote:

I'm suffering from OCD (obsessive over intrusive thoughts) and
anxiety. You could also say that I'm a worrier. Life has been hard for
me. Single parent family, Mom going from boyfriend to boyfriend, never
having a real father figure in my life, living in a couple women's
shelters, being severly picked on as a kid for obesity, not being able
to afford much, etc. Life dealt me a bad hand it seems, but the worst
part is that I never learned how to positively cope. I'm now 23, and
have since developed anxiety and OCD. It's so bad that I cannot get a
job, and I live on food stamps. And because I can't get a job, I can't
afford to see a therapist, medication, or any of these self-help
programs like Panic Away or Instant Panic Relief. Just recently I
stopped drinking caffiene and now I'm eating healthier and going out
for walks. Even though this somewhat uplifts my mood at times, the
anxiety is still there, just waiting. Filling my head with doubt. And
sometimes when I'm distracted enough to feel good, it's as if my mind
notices and says "wait a minute, aren't you supposed to be suffering
right now?" and just like that the anxiety comes back.

Or sometimes when I change focus on something else, like looking
directly at someone's face and into their eyes or looking at a picture
of someone, a bad thought appears about them. Or when I read online to
replace a bad thought with a good thought and I try it out, the good
thought is either hijacked and turned into a bad thought, or my mind
keeps wanting to return to the earlier bad thought and replaces the
good thought with it. Almost as if my mind WANTS to torture me. And
then of course, when I keep trying to tell myself that thoughts mean
nothing and the actual problem is my overreaction to them, my mind
continues to obsessively dangle the thought in front of me anyways.

I feel like I'm in my own living hell, and that life takes a back seat
to the constant war inside my head. You could imagine the
hopelessness, helplessness and despair I feel in knowing that I'm
stuck in a hole and can't afford help. And of course, my mind also
obsesses over the anxiety. I can't read a book, watch TV, play a video
game, or even clean my bedroom in peace anymore. It's constantly
there. And it lets me know that all the time. I most definitely know
that suicide is not the answer, so I feel even more ashamed if the
thought pops up. It's rare though.

Do I hate myself? Do I torture myself on purpose? Do I somehow LIKE
being in this firey circle of torment? If so, why? And how can I
change my attitude so that I can lift myself out of this hole? I'm 23.
I should be enjoying the prime of my life right now. Furthering my
education, finding a significant other, etc. But instead, here I am,
trapped in my own mind. It certainly doesn't help that I have a hard
time focusing. When someone is talking to me, my mind always starts to
wander, and the effort of bringing my attention back sometimes makes
me miss what the person said. Or when I read a book. My mind also
wanders when I do that. It really stinks because I used to read many,
many books.

All this stuff happening to me is exrtremely frustrating. I feel lost
within my own mind. And whenever I try to get out of my mind and into
my life, the anxiety gets stronger and knocks me back down. I really
despise having to keep busy, because it feels like I'm just just
running from the problem, which merely snips at my heels like an angry
dog chasing a mailman. And when I get frustrated or angry and try to
confront it, it merely gets bigger and knocks me back down. Accepting
it gets me nowhere either.

I should by nurturing my mind by following my dreams and/or furthering
my education, but instead I am self-destructing. I need to get out of
this soon, because I might as well be a vegetable. I'm wasting away in
my prime here. Negative emotions run my life, try as I might to stop
them. This anxiety is unbearable, yet somehow I manage to bear it day
by grueling day. I have no physical handicap, yet this mental issue
has crippled me. I feel sad, lost, alone, afraid, and probably any
other negative emotion under the sun. This anxiety disorder has taken
control of my life.

I know that happiness is a choice. I want to be happy. I choose to be
happy. But happy thoughts and realizations shoot merely weak beams
through the thick, dark cloud, which simply covers the holes and I am
once again lost in fear and irrationality.

Sometimes I wish I was some kind of robot, incapable of irrational
thought and emotion. Maybe I'd nevee find happiness, but I'd never
feel anxiety and negative emotions either. And then of course I feel
ashamed for even thinking that. I want happiness. I wish to experience
life with peace of mind and not feeling like I'm watching it pass me
by through a grimy window. I want to be kind to myself. I want to love
myself. I want to be forgiving of my shortcomings. I want to be
humorous. I want to laugh again without feeling pangs of anxiety.

A letter I wrote to Panic Away:

Thank you for your help. I've actually been reading over your free
articles for a while now, and would love to participate in the Panic
Away program, however, I've been suffering OCD and anxiety to the
extent that I can't get a job, and therefore have no money. I live off
of food stamps. 🙁

But I have incorporated a lot of what I've learned from your free
snippets into my life. I now drink lots and lots of water (probably
around 3 pints a day), eat healthier, etc.

Demanding more anxiety doesn't seem to work though. I mostly get it in
my stomach while sitting down. When I'm not having obsessive and
intrusive thoughts, my anxiety gets worse until I do. It's a
never-ending cycle.

The broken record thing doesn't help either, for when I try to think
of something else, my mind either tries to go back to that intrusive
thought, or hijacks my the new thing I'm thinking about and turns it
into a bad thought.

This happens also when I'm out and about. I try to comment on what a
nice day it is, then I'm hit with gloom and doom. I look at a person,
boom, a bad thought. Walking down the street, I see a nice cat sitting
on a rail (I love cats), then boom, a thought enters my mind of the
cat being chomped by a bear trap. It's like every time I think or say
a compliment about something, my mind rebels just to torture me. And
trying to view these thoughts as if they were just grey clouds passing
by only makes MORE aware of them and merely increases thier frequency
and intensity. I went to Wal Mart yesterday and couldn't even enjoy
myself shopping (and before this it was a good escape from my anxiety)
because every time I looked at a person, I had a bad thought about
them. Then the anxiety comes in and tells me that I'll never have
peace of mind again. This whole time I'm trying to stay upbeat, having
a good song stuck in my head, drumming on the cart to it, but the
anxiety really started bogging me down almost to the point of
depersonalization. It was bad.

I really don't want to develop agoraphobia over this, or be afraid to
watch TV. Hell, I'm even afraid to sit down in my favorite chair and
watch a movie or play a game, because my feelings of anxiety are at
thier worst there. I feel a pang of anxiety when I laugh about
something, which immediately destroys the high I could have had from
laughing and smiling.

It's as if I'm not allowed to be happy anymore.

BUT. Through all of this, I realize that things have gotten stronger
because I'm putting my foot down, getting tired of the B.S., and
actually trying to DO something about it. The problem is that I don't
know EXACTLY what to do, nor can I afford any professional help or
self-help programs. I'm all alone, fighting an enemy I cannot see,
though I realize deep down that the enemy is myself.

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