View Full Version : Not doing so hot anxiety-wise


KarmanMonkey
11-06-15, 10:52 AM
Sooo... For about a decade I was on a combination of Ritalin for the ADD and a non-stimulant for the anxiety/depression aspect (that just so happened to be good for the ADD as well)

Well, about 3 years ago I had a dangerous side effect develop (passed out several times from an unexpected drop in blood pressure) and switched to something else (Straterra), which in turn gave me constant nausea, so was not a viable med to continue.

So for the past year or two I've just been on stimulant medication. And my wife and my focus has been on managing the ADD stuff. Unfortunately anxiety has been off the radar for a while, and we were talking about it last weekend and it's been sneakily intruding on my life.

Basically we came to the conclusion that I've had a low grade general anxiety for an extended period of time, and it's been slowly but surely changing my habits, my capacities, and my physical health, so I'm looking for ideas/strategies.

The problem is that I had my first panic attack at 6yo, and didn't get them diagnosed until I was in my late 20s, so I tend not to be immediately aware of the emotion, and have immense difficulty identifying the feelings/thoughts behind the anxiety. That makes it hard to respond to.

It's reached a point where I step in with our 9 month old son when I have to, but I want to be more involved and more active with him, but I find it overwhelming if done for too long.

I also do what's required of me at work, but not much more than that. I want to be back to the point where I'm enthusiastic about my job and dive into the work.

And I know that the problem lies with me and my anxiety, not just the ADD, and I'm hoping to find ways to change my daily routine and to address the anxiety, as the earliest appointment with my psychiatrist is a month away.

I'll be reading this sub-forum for ideas, but any you can throw my way would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Delphine
11-06-15, 12:08 PM
....so I tend not to be immediately aware of the emotion, and have immense difficulty identifying the feelings/thoughts behind the anxiety. That makes it hard to respond to.....


KarmanMonkey, I'm sorry you're going through this, and especially sorry that you're not getting to enjoy your 9 month old son as much as you might without this difficulty.

I worked with a therapist for quite a while on this very point (quoted above). 'Not being immediately aware of the emotion' makes it almost impossible to find the trigger, and adds to the sense of helplessness!

Taking time to become aware of the trigger takes time and patience, but it is well worth the effort.

We worked with taking a pause as soon as I became aware that I was anxious... initially just noticing.. for now.
-Then taking notes to keep track of what's been going on previous to this, and what train-of-thought I've responded with.

....I found that it became easier and easier to become aware of anxiety at an earlier point. The earlier I became aware, the easier it was to slow the momentum.

The more I took notes, the more aware I became of recurring triggers, or habitual trains-of-thought that weren't helpful. I became aware of beliefs I'm holding about myself or my world, that were often neither helpful nor true.

I found it best to take the notes on my phone (just looked like I was texting) - often using just single words to keep track for now, if I was time pressured.

It helps if you can jot down a few notes immediately, but if not, then the singular words will help jog your memory if you're journaling in retrospect.

Painstaking in the beginning and takes a bit of endurance, but so worth it.

It's not a cure, obviously.... but my efforts certainly paid off. At least now I'm more aware of when I am beginning to become anxious, and what triggered it.... and have found ways to redirect my train-of-thought to ones that are more helpful and supportive.... what actions I need to take to release the anxiety and so forth.

Hope that helps a little bit anyway.

aeon
11-06-15, 04:09 PM
KarmanMonkey,

Iím sorry this is the case. If this is any indication of how much, I would choose to be depressed over being anxious, with no hesitation, any day.

I think Delphine offered a good bit of advice, and I am sorry to say I have none for you. That said, I will offer you this...

I found Ritalin, and in time, Concerta, to work well for my ADHD, but I eventually had to switch to another solution because at theraputic doses, Concerta caused me anxiety that I could not tolerate.

I donít know if any of your anxiety is caused by, or exacerbated by, your methylphenidate, but it is perhaps worth considering if you havenít before.

Ultimately, it was Dexedrine that proved to be my solution. It not only relieves me of anxiety, but it causes a drop in my blood pressure, and I think this is, in part, due to my baseline anxiety/confusion from ADHD being addressed.


Cheers,
Ian

KarmanMonkey
11-10-15, 12:04 PM
The tough part with dooing that deep reflection is finding the time to do it... My external demands are such that I'm either busy or I'm effectively mentally shut down. I'll try and figure out how to devote some of my resources to self-reflection, but I know that'll be difficult, and I guess that's part of the problem, too!

Fuzzy12
11-10-15, 02:43 PM
Once you know or understand the thoughts and emotions behind your anxiety, how would you deal with it? What would you do? Is there anything non-specific among those things that you could do?

I'm not sure if this is good advice but I've found that the only thing that really helps me to deal with anxiety is to get a problem solved. One of the problems. It doesn't even have to be the most important or most urgent problem or the main one causing most of the anxiety. Somehow just solving something and having one worry of my mind, even if it's a minor worry, makes me feel a bit more reassured and a bit more confident.

Aeon, I agree by the way. There is nothing I hate more than anxiety. It's just so unpleasant.

KarmanMonkey
11-12-15, 10:45 AM
While cleaning up my desk I re-found a workbook for a workshop I took on "Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma" back when I first started this job (wow! almost four years ago!)

In it is this worksheet called "What's Draining You?", basically a checklist with different categories for Relationships, Environment, Body Mind and Spirit, Work, and Money.

For me it looks like environment and Body/Mind/Spirit are the two particularly high on the list.

Environment boils down to things like the car interior needing cleaning, my desk having no visible surface due to the piles of crap, a home that is generally cluttered... We've lived in our house for almost a year and still haven't put up stuff on the walls, which may have to do with the fact that our son was born 2 weeks after we moved in...

Mind/Body/Spirit is stuff like never feeling rested, lack of exercise, a couple non-urgent medical issues I've gone a long time without addressing, and a lack of time spent in intellectually stimulating leisure.

A fair bit of that stuff is under my control; I just need to dedicate time to it. So today I'm continuing to get my desk under control, and at home I'm going to start tackling a room -- I think I'll start with the bedroom -- and taking the time to declutter and decorate. Make it more of a restorative space than a draining one.

Until I figure out where the anxiety is coming from, I've decided I'll try and control what I can see that affects me.

Fuzzy12
11-12-15, 11:00 AM
There's always a million things that need doing and a lot of these might be fairly important. However, I think if you are feeling overwhelmed and bowed down maybe just focus on two types of things: the absolutely vital ones and the ones that are fun or relaxing (a third category would be the quick and super easy ones..just to give you a feeling of success). Everything else (like cleaning the car, putting up stuff) can wait.

KarmanMonkey
11-12-15, 03:47 PM
Right now that's pretty much exactly what I'm looking for; the quick easy wins... Enough molehills make up a mountain, so sometimes kicking over some of those molehills can make the trek easier.

KarmanMonkey
12-01-15, 03:20 PM
Update; Things are doing a little bit better. Still not back to fighting form, but at least I've noticed positive changes.

I've started a new med this week, so hopefully that'll help as well. I always hate med changes, because for a while I question every physical and mental weirdness and if it's a side effect. *sigh*

I've been doing a bit better on self-care; at my request, my wife has prompted me a few times "Hey, do you want to take our son for a walk around the block?" to help me remember to take some time to just breathe.

I've also had enough people stress to me the reasons to focus on self-care that I'm able to beat aside the guilt and such I feel when I take time for myself rather than giving my wife a rest.

We're also starting day care this week, which makes things a lot better for us; we'll be on even footing when we get home as far as looking after him goes.

As usual, recognizing the problem and admitting it to (select) other people immediately cuts my anxiety by at least 1/4. The other 3/4 I'll deal with, and I'll continue to look for quick things that help.

For now, putting up xmas decorations, sweeping, folding laundry... Quite therapeutic! And as much as I have to keep a close eye on my son, and it's stressful spending time with him, it's also wonderful and immensely rewarding. A recent development is that he'll crawl over, pull himself up to a standing position using my pant legs, and reach up for me to give him a hug. It's just awesome!

So, in summary, not fixed, but I feel at least it's improving, so at least it's headed in the right direction.

qanda
12-05-15, 08:23 PM
My daughters therapist had her make a list of things that relax her. On her list: chewing gum, cuddling with a soft blanket, watching a movie, butterfly hugs (hug yourself, tap your right hand on left arm, then left hand on right arm 8 times total while you think of something nice), playing with the dog, doing arial yoga, deep breathing. She is supposed to do some of these things every day. Her therapist said You can even put an app on your phone reminding you several times a day to do one thing on the list.

For her, Zoloft seems to take enough of the anxiety away where she can actually do these things, but before the med she just could not seem to.