Hey everyone! It has been a while
I need to vent for a hot second - to just shout into the universe (aka Support Wall).
For those who won’t know, about a decade ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It has been an on-again/off-again battle since then. Fast-forward to 2022, I’ve found that once I find the right medication, it’ll stop working after a couple of years. Then, I’ll need to switch to something else. One thing that has ALWAYS bypassed medication:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
1-2 times per year, I’ll experience what I call a “clamp.” The best way I can describe the feeling: You know that feeling you get right before you publicly speak in front of a crowd? Yes, that. 1-2 times per year, for about 2-3 weeks per session, my mind and body will clamp down on me, and for 24/7 I’ll feel the following:
- Tightness in my head and chest
- Nausea and loss of appetite
- Racing thoughts
- (Extra) trouble sleeping
Well, right now I’m going through one of those periods. This weekend, I’ll be finishing up Week #2. Usually I’ll start to feel some relief around Week #3.
What’s most frustrating about all of this? No-one knows what’s going on. Psychiatrists, psychologists, you name it. I saw my psychiatrist last week, told him what was going on, and his response was, “Hm, yeah, that’s weird.”
I’m tired. I’m going of repeatedly going through this. I’m tired of no-one knowing what’s going on. I’m tired of feeling alone because I haven’t met anyone (or heard of any stories) who have gone through the same thing.
Has anyone else experienced this?
I am sorry to hear you have such a hard time right now.
It must be very frustrating if medication that has helped you for years suddenly stops working.
Is there an alternative strategy that might help you through those weeks, something non-medical? I don’t mean as a replacement for medication, I mean additionally. I’m thinking about things like meditation, yoga, sports… something that also makes you feel better outside of these troubling weeks throughout the year. (There are many different relaxation techniques, although I guess since this has been going on for such a long time, that you have tried all you can.)
I can only wish you strength for these hard times, but I’m sure you will get through it, you sound like a strong person.
Hi Eric! Thank you for posting this, I can relate a lot to those feelings. Seemingly out of nowhere I can tend to get that “butterfly” feeling and nauseous. Sometimes it’s over small things and sometimes I’ll have no idea why.
It’s stressful and scary. And I’m so sorry that your psychiatrist said that to you instead of responding with empathy.
In those moments do you find anything that helps centres you? Grounding techniques?
Do you have any particular thoughts that race through your mind?
Sometimes I find that going outside and taking a deep breath, closing my eyes and picturing what the anxiety looks like. Perhaps like a grey cloud or something. I imagine a white cloud starting to surround it. That cloud starts to form into an orb and trap the cloud and close the noise of it out.
Take a few more deep breaths and imagine pushing that orb away. Or if you’re not ready at least it’s trapped. Put it in another place.
You’re definitely not alone in this place, but I hate that you’re experiencing it. Has there been a lot of changes going on around you?
You deserve to have relief from this. I hope your weekend has some time for you to regroup and look after yourself
I have not experienced those exact symptoms all together but I have experienced anxiety as well as an ED. Have you tried going to a physician to try to rule out if it’s anything that’s goi my wrong physiologically?
Yeah that happens to me all the time, if the meds stopped working try listening to music, going on a walk or something like that and your psychiatrist is 100% unqualified if his reaction is “Thats weird”
@Solemnis - Thank you! I’ve definitely tried almost everything. In general, I’m a pretty anxious person, so I have habits like going to the gym, eating healthy, hanging out in the “meditation corner” in my room, etc., to manage it. Over time, stress/anxiety seems to slowly build up, regardless, and the “clamp” seems to come down when my mental capacity collapses. Imaging your mental capacity being a glass table, and stress/anxiety being a textbook on top of the table. One textbook after another, the glass table can only handle so much until it gives in and needs to rebuild itself.
@Bimini - I appreciate your response and I’m sorry to hear that you go through periods of symptoms as well! I’m very familiar with grounding techniques. These techniques definitely help if I’m having a full blown panic attack (uncommon, but happens from time-to-time), but for generalized stress/anxiety, it doesn’t seem to help much, unfortunately. I’ll still use them if I’m meditating, though. The thoughts that race through my head vary, depending on the root of the stress/anxiety. The thoughts are typically flight-or-fight related. For example, I’m pretty sure the root of this “episode” is linked to my job. I’m a sales rep for a personal finance company, and sales is an extremely stressful industry. So, the panicky “flight” thoughts are encouraging me to find a new career. But, I have no where to go, which amplifies the anxiety of feeling “stuck.”
@Bobohobo - I have! Unfortunately (fortunately?) all tests came back negative, regarding bloodwork, echocardiograms, etc. The body is in good shape, which is why I would bet a lot of money my physical symptoms are stemmed from psychological thinking.
@3pac - Yes! My favorite relaxing music comes from the group Hammock, and I love going on walks around my neighborhood.