Anxiety And Depression Are Weaknesses, So Learn To Deal With It!

Depression sign

I used to know a girl who grew up with many fears, and she thought she would out grow those fears.  When ever she felt nervous she doubled over with stomach pains as a child.  This young child was afraid of the water, afraid to put a plug in an electrical outlet, afraid to ask questions in school, afraid of angering those she loved, afraid of camping, because ‘there might be bears,’ and afraid of death and dying.  Until she grew a bit older, she thought it was normal to have ongoing fears, and assumed all girls her age feared many of the things she did. This little girl had to be weak!

1970’s

When the little girl became a teenager she became less interested in her education and much more interested in boys, along with hanging out with the ‘in’ crowd.  She felt if she hung with the in crowd- she would be popular and that would boost her moral.  Unfortunately, what she was searching for didn’t change how she felt on the inside; it just shifted for quite a while. She didn’t pay as much attention to her internal feelings. She also lost her father when she was eleven years old, and hardly thought about him after a year or so of his passing.  This young teenager was passive, yet angered easily, and if she was hurting deeply inside she would punch her thighs or take her fingernails and scratch herself until she bled.  The young teenage girl would cry behind closed doors, but tried to wear a smile when she was in front of others.  She was weak! 

1980-90’s

When she became an adult new symptoms emerged; symptoms IE: Vertigo, racing heart,  along with a sense of hopelessness that seemed to come and go on a fairly regular basis when she was a young adult.  When she told others about her vertigo in particular they reacted as though she was a hypochondriac.  She didn’t want to lose her friends, because she was beginning to realize she was different and not as strong as they were, so she tried hard to keep her symptoms to herself.  She also attributed her symptoms to the stresses of raising two young children, working full time and taking care of her home.  She was weak!

2005-2015

She is now a middle aged adult, and found out in her late twenties she had anxiety, but no one told her it would hang on for a lifetime if she didn’t get help. After all, she was diagnosed in the 80’s, and and medicine was the answer! The medicine seemed to work for quite a few years, because her anxiety lessened, and she became less fearful of life in general.  Sadly, counseling wasn’t overly popular in the 80’s, and people didn’t talk about anxiety and other ‘mental health’ issues with others due to a major stigma attached to the term.  Again, she was weak! 

  • She wakes up every morning feeling as though she’s shaking from the inside out.
  • Her legs feel like jelly much of the day.
  • She replays her worries in her head all day long.
  • It feels like someone keeps tightening a noose around her neck through out each day.
  • Her heart beats fast most of the day.
  • She stays up late and could sleep all day if she could get away with it.
  • Her bed is her friend.
  • She cries easily, and gets distracted just as easily.
  • Her head feels like it’s carrying bricks instead of her brain.
  • Her muscles are tense all day long and cause pain.
  • She feels as though she’s in an abyss she can’t climb out of.
  • She beats herself up mentally, because of course “She’s weak!”
  • She gets dizzy easily which interferes with daily functioning.
  • She doesn’t share *most* of what she experiences, because she doesn’t want to appear weak! 
  • She feels hopeless.
  • She’s been on a waiting list for counseling for almost eight months.
  • She feels so alone, even though she is surrounded by so many loving people.

One thing that helps her when she’s feeling despair, anger or even extreme sadness is to crank up the jams.  One song she loves and actually brings her out of the funk she’s in (at least temporarily) – This summer gonna hurt like a Mother#ucke@

This middle aged woman would like to introduce you to Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.  She was told that if you have Generalized Anxiety for a period of time lasting more than six months it generally leads to depression. Anxiety disorder and depression are still so misunderstood if one has not experienced it first hand. There is still a stigma attached to GAD and depression, and that’s why people try desperately to hide their symptoms or make up excuses.

She was genetically predisposed to the illness, and 40 years later is finding that there are a lot of medications doctors want to prescribe, however counseling isn’t easy to get into. The brain is an organ just like any other organ in the body, and it’s signals are misfiring along with sending out the wrong chemical messengers which lead to all the symptoms listed above. It’s disgraceful that the medical community puts patients on the back burner when it comes to mental health; mental health should be taken just as seriously as a person’s physical health. Sadly, if someone goes without proper treatment for any length of time- the condition worsens.

If generalized anxiety and/or depression go on for a long period of time, it does begin to take a toll on a person’s physical health.  The symptoms a person experiences on a daily basis if untreated or not treated properly affect not just the brain, but the body as a whole.

The gal, who is now middle aged has been on a medication for years. She has been in counseling before, but it wasn’t the proper type of counseling. Talk Therapy does not help.  They have also found people diagnosed with GAD tend to have bad experiences with most antidepressants, so GAD is hard to treat with medication alone.

She is patiently (or not so patiently anymore) waiting to get into proper counseling. She was told EMDR along with CBT works well with people like herself.

She did however learn a few things over the years; she can’t control the anxiety and depression, because it is an illness.  She’s aware that with proper counseling there is hope. She’s also aware that she is not weak, she’s been ill and trying hard to function as normal for way too long. She’s learned that she is fairly strong, considering she’s been able to function even when she feels as though she can’t go on.

She is not weak!

Is Anxiety Disease Interfering With Your Job?

Anxiety-33085817

We all get anxious when it comes to our jobs, however Anxiety Disease – also called Anxiety Disorder can lead to missing too much time from work, leaving work early, or ultimately losing your job.

Many people aren’t aware they have Anxiety disorder until their symptoms worsen.  Most people with Anxiety Disorder have had a degree of it their entire lives, and without proper treatment,  the symptoms intensify with age.  When symptoms of anxiety begin to intensify; those symptoms will begin to affect your job.

I began working as a Respiratory Technician when I was 19 years old.  I loved my job!  I was so proud of myself at the young age of 19 years old to be working with trauma patients in the Emergency Room, and Intensive Care.  I was proud that I was learning so much, and at a fast pace. I enjoyed my one on one time with patients who needed breathing treatments. I even enjoyed charting.  I got a long well with the many Physician’s we had to interact with,  which is very important when you are working in the Medical Field.  I must admit, when we were called to the Emergency Room stat,  a rush of adrenaline would over come me.  I believe that ‘rush’ helped me to cope during some very difficult trauma’s we would face.  When you heard the stat page to ER, you never knew what you were going to see until you walked into the Emergency Room.

One afternoon we received a stat page to the Emergency Room, and we were told that there were two cold water drowning victims that would be transported in.  The patients were still in the water, so we had to set up our equipment in order to be ready when the Paramedics brought the patients in.  We were told to go back to our floors and continue our treatments there until we got the call that the patients were en-route.

I was working, and suddenly hear my name being paged stat by the hospital operator.  I picked up the page, and it was the Emergency Room Supervisor;  she asked which floor I was working on, and asked me to meet her at the end of the hall.  I couldn’t understand why she wanted to meet me, because she was not my supervisor.  I met her, and I will never forget the words she spoke.

“Lisa, your brother is one of the cold water drowning victims!”  I panicked, and asked where he was?  The Nursing Supervisor told me, “He’s in ER in shock, and he needs you.”  At this point I was beginning to feel tears well up, and I asked her who was with him in the water?  She told me “Bobby something.”  I spouted off a last name, and she said, “Yes, that’s his name.”

At this point I ran to the Emergency room to be with my brother who was in shock. Bobby was brought in approximately 20 minutes later and sadly, he did not make it.

After this incident, every time we received a stat page to the Emergency room I would begin to get dizzy, worry it was going to be someone I knew, feel nauseated and just want to run in the other direction- out the door!

As time progressed so did my symptoms. I decided I needed something less stressful, so I transferred to our Cardiac Lab, and thought that would make life much easier.  This couldn’t have been further from the truth.  I began having panic attacks in the form of extreme dizziness which I felt I was going to pass out from.  The panic attacks would come on without any precipitating factors.  I thought I had a serious illness, because they were so frequent; I didn’t know anything about Panic attacks at the time. Panic attacks can present with many different symptoms.

After seeing many different Physician’s for my dizziness, along with other symptoms it was determined I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It was time for me to reassess my life.

The good news is there is treatment, and many people will have to make life style changes that are conducive to their own health. A life style change may mean a change in career as well. In my case it was determined that a chain of events (seeing people die, in particular my brother’s friend), opened up a can of worms, because I had lost my father 8 years prior to working in Respiratory Therapy. I also found out later on that I did not go through all the stages of grief; factor in the fact that Anxiety Disease is not due to a person being nervous- According to the Cleveland Clinic.

“Like certain illnesses, such as diabetes, anxiety disorders might be caused by chemical imbalances in the body. Studies have shown that severe or long-lasting stress can change the balance of chemicals in the brain that control mood. Studies also have shown that anxiety disorders run in families, which means that they can be inherited from one or both parents, like hair or eye color. In addition, certain environmental factors—such as a trauma or significant event—might trigger an anxiety disorder in people who have an inherited susceptibility to developing the disorder.”

The good news IS- there is life , and employment beyond the disease, and you are not alone.

Anxiety disorders “affect about 40 million adult Americans.They are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. Most anxiety disorders begin in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. They occur more often in women than in men.”

With proper treatment, early recognition and even employers who educate themselves, you do not need to give up your day job.  Don’t be afraid to speak about it, because it’s an illness just like diabetes, thyroid disease etc… , there is no shame in having any illness.  The only shame is when it’s untreated, or not recognized.

I have found over the years that it’s good to be open with those you can trust. They may not fully understand what you are going through, but this is the case with any illness when another has not experienced it, yet a good employer along with a good support system outside of your job will help you to over come obstacles you may have thought were not possible.  Remember,  with diligence, and faith in yourself anything is possible. Never give up, and never think you are not worth it!  And, what I have found works very well for me & it’s proven to work for many is some form or exercise or relaxation techniques.  Exercise increases endorphin’s, and reduces stress/anxiety.

Remember, with support, treatment, education,  and understanding; You’ve got this!