Suffering From Anxiety Disease and Social Implications


Warning- This post will be bluntly honest.

Many of you that follow me know that I suffer from Anxiety and Panic Disorder. My mom passed away in January and it seems my Anxiety has been full blown for the past 4-6 weeks.

The only way I can describe anxiety is to compare it to being in a dark parking lot alone at night. Picture yourself walking to your car and getting ready to enter when out of nowhere a stranger grabs you. What sensation would you feel? I’m going to guess you would feel your heart pounding very fast, palms would become sweaty, legs feel like jelly and your mind would be circling with thoughts of- “Will I survive this?!”  Let me state for the record, I hope no one would find themselves in a horrific circumstance like this. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. People with Anxiety Disease experience the same symptoms but for no apparent reason.

When anxiety hits and lasts for any length of time- you feel like your in an abyss that you’re unable to climb out of. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Generalized Anxiety Disease (which is what I have been diagnosed with) appears out of nowhere and leaves when it’s ready. You wake up with your heart beating 100 mph and go to bed feeling the same. Anxiety disease, when full blown is a vicious, relentless cycle of symptoms. Another issue that arises when anxiety stays with you for any length of time are racing thoughts, which are referred to as intrusive or obsessive thought patterns. I worry about money 24/7. I thought most people worried about money issues just as much as me,   until I began therapy and I was told that even with debt people without anxiety disorder don’t worry constantly.

Another issue when anxiety is at it’s worst- concentration and memory problems. I swear my short term memory is about 5 seconds long lately. Concentration isn’t much better,  which has made it hard for me to write. Writing always came so easily to me but it’s dwindled because my anxiety is trumping!

I’m currently back in counseling and my counselor is using a newer module of therapy called EMDR.

“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress.” 

I’m feeling hopeful because I have a psychologist that is well trained in EMDR and feels I will be able to re-train my brain to help offset the anxiety I’ve been plagued with for years.  One thing to remember as I was reminded, the negative thought patterns began years ago and the brain will not re-wire itself overnight. It also takes a lot of self-practice (dedication) to the therapy if you are hoping to see results. As I was told, It’s like exercising and trying to build muscle. This doesn’t happen overnight and re-training your brain to adapt isn’t a quick fix either.

I do know that social interaction is vital to my well-being. This is not the case if you suffer from social anxiety disorder.  When I was working, I was much more focused because I had something to keep my mind busy other than the disruptive thoughts that occur when I’m home.  I also had an income which helped to defer my worries. I am very pro-active with my husband’s business but most of the work I do is done behind the scenes with little social interaction.

I live in a small, rural town and the job prospects are slim. I also feel I reached an age that allows me to be a bit picky when it comes to finding my next job. I have a diverse background and I learn fairly fast. Every job I’ve ever had- I had to learn how to do after being hired. So it’s funny (not in a ha-ha type of way) that I’m so anxious while at home, yet focused and feeling a sense of calm when I’m working for an organization that values their employees.

The good news- Anxiety Disease is something you can live with if you find out your triggers and divert your attention in a positive direction.  You can live with Anxiety Disease but it’s vital to get professional help if it’s consuming your life. Working outside of the home can be beneficial because you are focusing on something outside of yourself.  Going to work gives you a sense of purpose and builds positive relationships outside of your home life. The key is finding a job that is conducive to your mental health. Actually, finding a job that’s conducive to your mental health is wonderful in any scenario.

I won’t lie, life seems tough right now but I’m holding on to hope that ‘this too shall pass,’ because I’m getting treatment and actively seeking employment. It’s been over 2 years since I worked outside of my home and I miss it.  I put a lot of things on hold  when my mother was terminally ill. It’s time to keep moving forward. Tomorrow always brings with it new beginnings and that’s what I’m counting on.

Please feel free to share your own stories. I know it’s hard for some people to share openly because they fear the stigma that is still attached to talking about ‘brain disorders,’ ( I don’t like the term, mental).  Anxiety disease is more prevalent than people are aware- it’s not selective. It’s my hope with more discussion about anxiety disease and panic disorder the more we can learn from each other! Remember, you are not alone.

It’s also my hope that employers become more educated because people should not have to hide the fact that they are afflicted with anxiety. Many times trying to hide the disease from others just makes it escalate. It’s just as real as diabetes and many other illnesses.

Header image: from google images- original image can be found:

Will We Ever Move Forward- Mental Health

This is a very tough personal story for me to write. I find this tougher than writing about myself.

I have a sister who was diagnosed with the Schizo-affective disorder in her late 30’s. Actually, she’s been given many diagnoses but I think the Pharmaceutical slaves, her Doctors finally settled with this label.  My sister was a high functioning person until she became ill. She went through a prolonged postpartum depression after the birth of her second child. We all felt something wasn’t right but we were not able to pinpoint what was going on. We all received a call one afternoon that she had tried to commit suicide. From what I remember, my sister dropped her daughters off at school and the babysitter then proceeded to drive to the Lake. She parked her car and swallowed a ton of pills. When she began to feel the effects of the pills she panicked and she rushed herself to the Doctor. They called an ambulance.  My sister was in ICU for 3 days and then sent to the Psychiatric Ward. Things just got worse from that day on.

After my sister was discharged we found out they had her on at least 4 different medications. At the time, we were just hoping the meds would help her to climb out the deep abyss she had been in for quite some time. Sadly, her symptoms began to escalate. My sister was beginning to hear voices and see ‘things’ that weren’t there. My sister developed psychosis and became suicidal again. Luckily she was able to confide in her family that she was suicidal. Back to the hospital she went and came home on even more medications.

Fast Forward

My sister has been in and out of the hospital for the past 15 years. Her psychosis has increased, she has trouble with her fine motor skills, cognitive impairment, receives IGG infusions because her immune system is shot, and is depressed most of the time. She stutters when she’s nervous or tired. I swear she’s on enough medications to kill a horse! She is unable to work because she can hardly function. She’s also gained a lot of weight along with other health issues.

As I write this tonight, she ended up back in the hospital a few days ago due to her psychosis increasing. I am her health care power of attorney and I requested a family meeting with her Doctor and Social worker. They are poisoning her with drugs and these drugs will eventually be her demise, not her illness.

She told me she is on 8 psychiatric drugs, AND the Doctor increased one of her medications today. 8 drugs, REALLY? What is wrong with these Wacka-Doodles?! She sounds like a zombie but that’s all good because the staff doesn’t have to deal with real strong emotions and the Doctor can discharge her faster if she ‘appears’ emotionally stable. Nevermind that she doesn’t appear physically stable.

The goal for calling a family meeting?

As a family we all have concerns. We want to know WHY she is on so many drugs, and bring it to their attention that many of these drugs interact severely with each other. We want them to know the drugs are causing her more physical issues. We want to find out if the Doctor has ever looked into alternative answers for her? She has currently been in IOP (Intensive Out patient therapy) for over a year because I requested something long term after her discharge last year. Unfortunately, it sounds as if the group has a wide range of illnesses and is fairly generic with the therapy the use. They need to understand that she functions fairly well for the first hour after waking- that is until she pops her drug cocktail.  My sister was also diagnosed with PTSD years ago and I don’t think the Therapists she’s seen have ever focused in depth on this aspect of her illness.

Pharmaceutical Companies are winning!

According to the Washington Post (2012) “The US spends $113 Billion on Mental Health Treatment and most of the dollars go towards prescription drugs and out patient therapy.” Many of the psychiatric drugs have side effects that are worse than the illness itself, not to mention they are dangerous when combined. Most of these drugs are highly addictive, even those which claim they aren’t. I’ve seen the withdrawal, and it’s not pretty.

So, what is the answer?

I’m stumped. I want to see her improve, but what I am witnessing is a continual decline. I would like to see her receive intensive one on one therapy which would include focusing on her PTSD. I want to shake her doctor and Therapists- asking them if they could function on this many drugs? I understand she needs medication because of the psychosis, but 8… I repeat, 8 psychiatric drugs?!

Sadly, my sister gained labels years ago and now they treat her in a robotic manner instead of understanding she’s human with emotions, a good heart, has dreams for a better future just like those who treat her do. She’s just a number to them- she’s become part of the system instead of keeping her individuality.

I would love input from anyone that has experienced something similar with a loved one and had much better luck? I would love to know what we are missing as a family, so we can be of more help to her.

Why I Quit A Job I Actually Liked


I have stayed silent too long, yet I feel like I’m going out on a limb sharing what I’m about to share- being bullied in the workplace.

I worked in Health Care for most of my adult life, that is until I we moved, and I decided it was best to stay home with my children. I worked as a Respiratory Technician, and Cardiac Lab Technician for most of my career at our local hospital in Ohio. I learned these jobs are not for the faint of heart. I learned to suck it up, because you must maintain your composure at all times when working with patients and their families. You must stay strong for them. Not always an easy task when you are working with a diverse group of health care professionals who are trying to save a person’s life. We were a team, and we were all able to pull it together for the sake of the patient; who’s life was a priority. There were times we all had melt downs after the fact, but not in public and we were fairly supportive of one another.

Fast forward… After my children left for college I decided I would like to get back into the workforce to build my resume, and just get out of the house! I wanted to learn something new, and I also decided that I wanted a job that did not require holidays and weekends. I have always been a confident person (put ego aside), which gave me the confidence to seek a position in an environment completely different from health care.  I applied for a position that sounded very interesting, and with ease got the job.

When I interviewed for this particular position which was 24 hours per week without any benefits and paid under 10.00 per hour I asked specific questions, because I did not want to take on a job without being honest up front.

The questions I presented

  • Will it be a problem if I take time off without much warning, because I have a family member who is under the care of a specialist, and I can’t miss any appointments.
  • This family member may require hospitalization, which will not allow notice in advance, are you sure this wont be a problem?
  • My husband runs his own Company and rarely takes time off for himself. Will it be an issue if he free’s up time, and we are able to take a vacation? I went on to to say, that on average he takes 2 weeks off approximately every 2-3 years.
  • I also asked if there would be any conflict if I took time off to visit my son and his family who happen to live 1500 miles away.

What I was told during the interview after presenting my question’s

This is a part time job without benefits, the pay is low so I have no problem granting time off . The boss I interviewed with went on to say, it’s a low key atmosphere here, and there are always enough people to fill in and do the job if you are not able to be here. This sounded like the perfect job at that time in my life due to so many circumstances which were beyond my control. I should have known it was too good to be true.

The first year was great, but everything went down hill from that point on

  • I was told who to talk to, and who to avoid very early on. I took it with a grain of salt for the first year.  Because, I’m not a follower and tend to think of myself as a free thinker, I relied on my own experiences with others in this small office to make my OWN impressions.
  • When I became friendly with those who were looked down upon by my superiors, the atmosphere began to change.
  • My superiors began to hide along walls which were close to me and other coworkers who were not liked, and listen to our very boring & quick conversations.
  • I was accused of errors I didn’t make, and I would be accused in front of others. Luckily I was able to prove I did not make the errors I was accused of.
  • And I also found out my boss was talking about me to my coworkers- a few who were part of her ‘gang’ began to shun me.

Can we say awkward??

  • My boss began to ignore me. I thought it was my imagination until a few months went by, and she would hang her head when walking past my desk to leave the building.  I would say hi to her, but after a period of time I realized her silence was very intentional.
  • A bit over a year into my job my mom developed late stage Lung Cancer. She did not live in the same state, but I was granted some extra time here and there to take her to her radiation appointments and be there for her when she was hospitalized. “My bad, I should have foreseen the unforeseen.” 
  • My office experience took a turn for the worse after my mom was diagnosed.
  • I smelled natural gas for a period of 4 days or more and told my boss about this, she kept telling me no one else smelled it. I told her it was strong, and I was feeling ill about and hour into my afternoon shift.  After 4 days of complaining as she walked by my desk with her head lowered she uttered, “Call the gas company if you feel your smelling gas.”
  • I called the gas company within 15 minutes of her departure and stayed by myself in the office a good hour and a half waiting for the gas company to arrive, they found the leak (coming from a vent right over my head). It was a 35% gas leak. The gas company turned off the gas to the building and I had the Tech call her to inform her.
  • They repaired gas lines to our building, but unfortunately I smelled gas within a day or so after they were done with their work. Again, I informed her and nothing was done. This time I took it upon myself to call the gas company. They found a leak again from the same vent and shut the gas off again.  There were 3 incidences of gas leaks within a short period of time, the last incidence was detected by others as well, and they had to replace the heating element.

Combine my time off which was not supposed to be an issue, along with talking to certain employees my superior didn’t like, and reporting gas leaks that my boss refused to acknowledge and this led to what felt like a hostile work environment for me.

I was given extra ‘busy’ work. I was told I would need to fill out paper work the full time employees used to request time off and approval would be pending. I was also told to tell a coworker who sat next to me not to talk to me. I refused and finally told my boss that if she had an issue with this person talking to me then she needed to address it since she was the boss.  I was ignored, and began having horrible anxiety attacks before it was time to go to work.  Seriously, anxiety attacks over a job I took to get out of the home for the most?  Yes anxiety was present, because I still took my job duties serious. I enjoyed the job, hated the atmosphere. I actually began to fear the atmosphere.

Needless to say, I left my job a little over 2 years into it. I felt like a loser! I had to keep reminding myself I was tough, because if you can work with trauma patients under extreme circumstances, believe me you do grow thick skin.

I found out from other employees that I was the 6th person to leave that particular position within 3 yrs.  After I left a gal that also felt ostracized, and had worked for this office for almost 20 years quit her job too. She found employment with another company, and lost some of her wonderful full time benefits, however she is much happier now.

Since I left my job I’ve learned that my former boss lost 2 more employees. How does she get away with this? Well, the short answer is simple- her superior is a relative of hers.  And, both my former boss along with her superior are good friends with the person who over sees the entire office along with a few other offices within this organization.

Bullying within the workplace is all too common, recent studies indicate that an estimated 54 million Americans have been bullied at some point in their career. If you feel your being bullied, there are signs to look for.  Reach out to someone you can trust if that is possible. I wasn’t lucky enough to have that opportunity due to the tight nit organization I worked for.

I can happily say I don’t regret leaving. My life has changed for the better in so many ways. I don’t have the obstacles I had in the past which leave my next chapter wide open for more opportunities.  I have much higher standards now, and one of those standards is the fact that I will get more background information on an organization prior to committing to them. I also know my skills, and past work experience is worth much more than 9.00 per hour without benefits. I will never allow anyone to bully me again.

Lessons can be tough to learn, but there are reasons we must experience hard times in order to find that path we were meant to follow with better things waiting just over the horizon.