Anxiety is normal part of life, but there’s a point when there’s more to it than that.
It’s normal to feel worried and fearsome, and probably even necessary for survival in certain situations.
However, when these feelings interfere with your ability to do every day things – and maybe even cause panic attacks – there’s probably something wrong, and it may be part of a mental illness.
Anxiety for me, personally
I’ve suffered from varying severity of anxiety since I was a child. And I still have symptoms of it today.
For example: when I was younger – if I had to go out and do something new, especially if it involved other people, I would get anxious at times to the point where I’d become irritable, panicky, and want to avoid the situation at all costs. If I was supposed to talk in front of people in a classroom at school, I’d often “fake ill” in order to escape that. Sometimes even when family (people I knew and trusted) were coming over or we were going to their house, I would still get anxious and almost panic over it – even desiring to hide away in my room or outside to avoid the situation.
I don’t know why I have those kind of feelings, especially since 95% of the time nothing bad happened – and it was never as bad as I imagined.
My mind would just race with these “what if”, “but…”, “oh no”, “fuck fuck fuck” thoughts to myself about what might and could happen. I would always think of the worst and usually unrealistic scenarios.
But it gets worse than that
To this day, I still experience such feelings. But it’s much broader, and it’s not just about people. I imagine unrealistic things happening.
I might be sitting or laying down, and actually believe somebody I know is going to be hurt or die, I may think I myself am going to get into a car accident, somebody’s going to break into my place, something is wrong with my body physically and I’m going to become sick – my teeth will fall out, I have a cancer or some other illness suddenly, or whatever other thing tends to come to mind at the time.
I also feel like this when I do every day things.
For example: if I’m cooking I might worry about the gas stove blowing up, somehow burning my hand off, or worse.
If I work with electric (even just changing a light bulb), sometimes I’m ridiculously afraid that I’m going to be electrocuted and imagine my body being zapped – turning black and white with ‘lightning bolts’ throughout my body, like in old cartoons, even though that’s very unrealistic.
Sometimes when I eat, I’m paranoid that there’s bugs in the food, or that I now have a parasite and even feel it moving around inside me… but, there’s nothing there.
Walking or driving over a bridge? I’m afraid it’s going to collapse, at times.
Random objects are going to fall on and crush me?
If I see an animal – sometimes even a very innocent one that literally can’t hurt me, I’ll imagine it being ferocious and attacking me – and somehow I’d be helpless, forced to deal with the pain and damage inflicted to me.
There are nearly unlimited possibilities of these kind of thoughts that I have.
With the anxiety, sometimes (embarrassingly) I do things such as picking “scabs” on my body in attempt to distract from and relieve it. That seems to happen subconsciously.
My mind (especially if not distracted by something else) tends to wander into very deep, dark scenarios and my body sometimes tends to have a reaction as if I’m actually in a life threatening situation that can lead into panic attacks. By panic attacks, I mean where my adrenaline starts to kick in, my heart races, I may even get sweaty, and have a very uncomfortable/uneasy feeling; my stomach feels like it’s going to knot up, I get antsy – and sometimes pace around.
I feel like I’m going to die.
What’s causing it?
I am very paranoid at times, as you’ve probably learned by now.
Let’s not forget, I have bipolar disorder – along with psychosis, which seems to be associated with it.
So the paranoia seems to be a symptom of psychosis, which is a symptom of my bipolar disorder – and possibly causing the extra anxiety?
I do know that anxiety can be related to bipolar disorder, but is it common for it to be this extreme?
Years ago, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in addition to my Bipolar Disorder. But this was only by one psychiatrist out of the many I’ve been to. So I have no idea if I have this or not. I have told all of my psychiatrists that I am extremely anxious, but I’ll admit that sometimes I leave out details like this – so it may be my fault for not being thorough.
Problems in life
If it’s not obvious, all of this anxiety – and especially the panic attacks, cause a lot of problems for me. Whether it’s a social situation, or I am by myself.
Both being anxious and depressed have their down sides, and both impact my ability to function “normally” in life. But I hate feeling so anxious and paranoid, maybe even more so than I hate being depressed.
I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m going to die just by doing every day things.
Right now, I am taking Klonopin and Vistaril (as needed, up to 4 times a day) for the anxiety. But at times, even this isn’t enough. Thankfully it has helped me be a little more comfortable in social situations, and I have less panic attacks.
However, I’m still paranoid and think the way I mentioned somewhat often.
Perhaps – and hopefully – therapy will help with that more because it seems to be a habit / thought pattern more so than something the meds can treat alone. But who knows what the future holds for me?