Anxiety: An Ongoing Game of Cat & Mouse

I’m publicly addressing this (as if it wasn’t obvious enough)…I have anxiety…MAJOR anxiety/OCD. (THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG!) Never have I ever experienced anything of the sort until this past January. While everyone else was shotgunning beers and then coordinating their “get fit 2012” plan of action, I was petrified of everything and anything…with no reasons as to why…which then lead to OCD.

It was as if a switch went off or I had visited a foreign country and been cursed with a constantly heightened state of nervousness. Not the kind you get before you go on stage or before riding the world’s tallest, fastest roller coaster. It was the kind you feel (I would assume) if you were really being chased down by Jason in a slasher movie.

There were probably several build-ups which contributed to my anxiety/OCD onset, but I’d rather not relive them here.

Instead, I’d like to give you some facts and ways to cope if you too indeed are experiencing the same prison of thought patterns and overstimulation.

If this is the first you’re hearing of anxiety, then just go back to your first day of Kindergarten or before you met a blind date. That’s a normal kind of anxiety.

Meet my "new normal"

Anxiety can be generally defined as: immense feelings of worry, fear, or nervousness. It becomes a problem when it begins to interfere and consume your daily life. There are several different types of anxiety but I’m not going to bore you with that either.

My anxiety is more OCD based. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a debilitating disease in where an individual constantly obsesses over or performs ritual actions due to a chemical imbalance within the brain. I’ll admit I’ve had certain OCD tendencies all my life (like perfectionism), but it’s never interfered with my daily life.

This is no joke. While some people struggle with anxiety all their lives, I never had until January. I still cannot overcome the fact that I have constant feelings of nervousness, fear, and/or sadness at times. It’s like an ongoing game of cat and mouse. I’m the cat, anxiety is the mouse. No cheese is able to lure the mouse in, because it’s lactose intolerant or something like that.

It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever encountered. It’s prohibited me from sharing my whole self with most I know, as well as limited me in terms of my friends/job hunt.

I never used to ruminate about the terrible, awful things occurring in the world. People die every day, wars are fought every day, natural disasters happen every day. I can’t even watch television or read a newspaper anymore because my brain is “hooked” on these types of events, which then provides fuel to the anxiety fire.

It’s pretty unbearable, but I’ll tell you what has helped:

1) Calming teas.Β ones that include nettle leaves, dandelion, valerian, chamomile

2) ELIMINATING caffeine. This was huge for me. I’ve never been a coffee drinker until Summer 2011 and by winter of last year it had exceeded 3 cups a day at times. Caffeine makes your thought patterns more intense, which makes sense as to why it would aggravate anxieties.

Drinking a cup of this now will have me back in bed petrified beyond belief

3) Therapy. I don’t even care how many people judge people that “do” therapy. It’s helped me to see why I am the way I am and how I got to that specific point. It hasn’t cured me of anxiety, but it has helped me cope a lot better than crawling under the covers and taking sleeping pills has.

4) Keeping busy. During the onset of my anxiety/OCD, I was pretty much jobless. While I still am jobless, I have found a multitude of tasks to keep my mind focused on the positive and not letting the wretched cat get the best of me.

5) Social interaction. This is an obvious point, but one worth mentioning. I basically lost my main friend set last year as I hit the big “24”. It was pretty earth shattering, but after a few months of pouting, I realized nothing would change if I didn’t allow it to. I joined a few outside groups and have also made several friends online. (I love all of you!)

6) Fish Oil & B Vitamins. Usually when someone has anxiety, there are obvious deficiencies. I never had officially gotten a test done for what I was lacking, but I experimented on my own (being the witch doctor I am) and found that when I took fish oil and B vitamins the world was marvelous.

7) Avoid any anxiety triggers. For me, this was anything to do with doom and gloom. I know that’s fairly impossible these days with most news focused on deaths, betrayals, and general evils, but I am able to shut most of that out right now.

8) Don’t take what the doc tells you as “The Holy Grail”. When I first experienced anxiety, I went to 3 doctors. I was convinced there had to be a why or a circumstance which had caused this. None of these doctors were of any help and prescribed anxiety drugs. If you know anything about me, drugs and me do NOT mix very well. I hesitate over taking a simple antibiotic! I did my own research and scared myself half to death with the bevy of side effects of some of these prescriptions. NOT FOR ME. I guess you can blame my OCD for that one!

9) Exercise & Eating right. This is another no brainer, but without exercise, anxiety increases tremendously. I’m lucky because I naturally crave endorphins! I wish I could bottle them up and breathe them in whenever I was feeling anxious! Eating well and often is a HUGE part of it too. If you’re surviving on cheeseburgers, it’ll just deplete your body further of nutrients. Remember, certain foods may act as drugs too.

10) Tell one person close to you about your anxiety. Anxiety isn’t something you’re willing to celebrate or yell from the rooftops. It’s something you want to lock away and throw away the key down the Mississippi. Certain people detected changes within my personality when this began happening, so it was difficult for me to even speak to them. I of course was conned as a “bitch” and wasn’t able to reveal the why as to the change. I ended up telling my mother and boyfriend. Without that, I don’t think I would be alive right now. (NO JOKE.)

Phew! Anxiety over writing this post…has now…subsided! I hope you all continue to accept me the way I am…a chocolate loving, endorphin craving fiend! πŸ™‚

Have you ever dealt with anxiety? How did you overcome it?

Peace, love, and stay calm and carrying on!


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7 Responses to Anxiety: An Ongoing Game of Cat & Mouse

  1. Great post! I have anxiety too … some days are worse than others. I like to think that I’ve got a handle on what triggers it for me now. Caffeine is a big one! Getting to the gym and getting it all out my system seems to help for me too πŸ™‚

    I’ve always been someone who has wanted to try therapy, but never have. I think it’s a great thing!

    • choc3178 says:

      yes therapy has actually made me see myself in a different light. It took about 4 months of sessions but it’s slowly beginning to help. I’m much better off than I was, hopefully I’ll be able to resume a normal life sometime soon!

  2. Hey there, you are definitely not alone. I too have anxiety/ocd every day.

    I get nervous about whatever I have to do at work and think everything has to be immediately. I fret and worry over my workouts and I’m always scared something will come up that gets in the way of my workout which I really worry too much about.

    It’s crazy, every morning going up the stair to work I “have” to climb to the highest step on the 4th floor…..I work on the 3rd. And I can’t stand dishes in the sink; if some are in there, I either clean or put in dishwasher right away.

    I could go on, but, I think you know the feeling already. Thanks for this post as I do have a lot of caffeine, and might try to cut it down/out. I have the exercise and eating right part down, but want to try some of your other ideas too. I used to always have my cell phone ringing and going out to places, but now I worry so much over food and can’t stand having any place prepare food for me, so this limits where I go. So I hardly speak to old friends anymore. My wife is my spouse (obviously) and best friend; we pretty much just have each other and family to hang out with.

    Wow, sorry for the novel of a comment, but knowing how I used to be and how I am now drives me crazy too. Your description is spot on for how I feel too. Hopefully we’ll both see improvements soon! Have a great week!

    • choc3178 says:

      it’s so crazy how this can interfere with daily life. never imagined I would be affected by something like this. every day i’m like…okay…when will it end? and yes, caffeine for me personally was a trigger. Don’t apologize for the comment, I am glad there are others out there, but hopefully someday we’ll be able to eradicate it completely! πŸ™‚

  3. purelytwins says:

    we suffer from minor anxiety, well lets say we go through periods where we have none, than all of a sudden we feel anxious all the time. its weird. but usually by staying active and talking with others helps calm us down.

  4. While my experience is not as severe as yours, I tend to have a little anxiety in the car if someone else is driving. I went to see a therapist about a year after my car accident because I had not dealt with things and my life and well being seem to spiral down the tubes. Then I officially experienced depression. Let me tell you, you don’t really know it until you actually experience it. You know how some people don’t understand how people can be depressed? Their initial remark is why don’t you just get up and do something? Why don’t you just get out? Yeah, easier said than done and now I can say that from experience. I was DEPRESSED. I functioned enough to get to work, get through the day, and then go home and glued myself to the couch in PJs with Raven and the remote. I didn’t move. I didn’t eat. My mother came to spend the night with me on several occasions just so I wouldn’t be alone. (She lives about an hour away.) Anyhow, back to what I was going to say…the doctor said I had a slight case of PTSD from the car accident. It was a traumatic and fatal accident. And even to this day, I still get anxiety when someone else is driving. It’s gotten a little better as time went on. But there’s nothing I can do to make it go away…and it’s because I don’t have control.

    So…I’m totally a social butterfly (even though I try to deny it by saying I can be shy however I think everyone sees through that denial) and if we lived closer together you’d totally be dragged along to all my social friend gatherings. πŸ™‚ Just sayin…<3

    • choc3178 says:

      First off, I just want to say I love you. I admire you for being able to go through your struggles and turning out the way you are. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even live and crawl back into bed under my covers because these thoughts are so overpowering. Everyone and their mother is trying to shove me medication, but I stopped going to MD’s or anyone in the conventional medical field for help. It’s the most difficult issue I have dealt with in my life to date. My mother has severe depression and was diagnosed around my same age. While I do experience bouts of it, mine is more about reoccurring thoughts and anxiety. You are right, too many people think depression is a mindset, when it really becomes a lifestyle. (not by choice, either). Doctors are terrible when they say there’s nothing you can do but medication and therapy. I’m still on a quest every day to find something that eliminates this for good and gets myself back to the “old me” completely.

      I hear you on the control part. My therapist taught me a lot about my personality and how just because I may not be demanding on the outside, doesn’t mean on the inside I expect to be in control of other factors affecting my life. My family upbringing has also instilled that into me. I suppose being the oldest receives a lot of direct and indirect pressure and assumptions. It’s made me also be like wow, I hardly had a childhood or adolescence because I was always obeying and never doing what I really wanted. Everything makes me question my entire life and reasons for even existing. I suppose that’s normal at this age, but for me it’s a train wreck that happens over and over again. Fleeting thoughts are a complete foreign concept to me.

      I have to say the one positive thing that’s come out of this is that I believe in God now. I think he truly has a reason for having me experience this and I try to pray and thank as much as possible! and yes- I would so love it if we lived closer!!!! πŸ™‚

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