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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Anxiety issues, and feeling overwhelmed


 worryintheworld - Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:58 pm

So I feel like I know myself pretty well, which I suppose is normal. I know my habits, I know my weaknesses, and my issues. In order for you to understand, you need to know a little about my background, though I will try to keep it quick. I have been suffering with clinical depression for 7 years or so. It has never been treated, nor even addressed at a doctor's office (though I know that dampens the validity, but I'm not a crazy hypochondriac, I do know what clinical depression is, my mom even agrees). I've basically been in the standpoint of, as long as it doesn't get bad enough to the point of suicide, or even self-mutilation, I'll get over it. My mom also wants me to wait until I have life insurance, and in all honesty, we can't afford any kind of treatment. If we do get money for treatment, the first person to go is my dad, because he needs the most help. But anyway, it's been 7 years, and although I've come close to the point of needing to get help, I've never quite reached it. I also suffer from anxiety issues. Not completely sure what (as you may have guessed, also have not sought treatment) but I believe it may be GAD. I am constantly stressed, never seem to catch a break, and am easily, and quite often overwhelmed. A lot of times in the past, when my stress and anxiety were extremely high, I have been known to go emotionally numb. I know it's not good, but it's how my brain protects me, and only goes away when the pain is away, and some events (though some I wouldn't even define as that tragic) have been blocked even after the numbness goes away. I have many 'irrational' fears, though often I don't feel they're irrational, and can reason them, though my mom still tells me they're irrational (such as fear of murder, drowning, car crashes that lead to a death, heights(but only for the fear of falling (to my death)), claustrophobia, and more). Whenever I am stressed or worked up, my cure is to drink soda and listen to music and breathe, and generally I feel a little better. I have also had anxiety attacks in the past. Nothing too severe, though I can definitely work myself into a tizzy. I am also a hoarder, my guess is level 4, maybe only 3, but either way it's not good (I still have papers from second grade that I can't part with, and my room is an absolute disaster, things are literally piled waist high). And well, there's a chance I might have slight OCD as well (I sort my M&Ms and skittles, and other colored candy by color when they're in my hand, and I have to eat one of each color in each side of my mouth, and when I don't have two of the same color, then my favorite color/flavor goes in the left side and my least in the right, and if I have an odd number, than the one that either doesn't match, or the last one gets split my my front teeth, and half goes on one side, and the other goes on the other side to create a balance; I also favor the left side of my mouth, so when I eat a sandwich, the inside generally goes on the left, and the dry crust area goes on the right, until the right side gets dried and unhappy, and gets a bite of the inside to balance; I also, although I know it's not very bad, always have to check things twice, make sure the door or car is locked, or make sure the light is off, or double check I have everything I need; though twice is nothing compared to 17 or something, it still worries me when I didn't double check the door was locked after I've driven away, and then I have horrible anxiety and fear that someone is going to break in and steal everything, or they're going to hurt someone in the house, and it''ll be my fault because I didn't lock the door; Generally, if I'm far enough away, I can usually convince myself in my mind I double checked, I'll remember back to when I was leaving and remember me putting the key in the lock, and checking; generally as long as I can remember, despite my fear, I can push it back in my mind, as long as when I come home, the door is actually locked). Though I know I have issues that probably could use years of therapy and medication to fix, I have one main reason I am here today. I am a procrastinator, but I believe that my anxiety issues have a very negative on my procrastination issue. When I procrastinate, and it's only one thing I'm procrastinating with, and I'm sleeping and don't feel overwhelmed, I always finish whatever I need to finish. However, when I have a few things that need to get done, sometimes even just two, that's where I run into trouble. It gets to the point where I get so overwhelmed, I start break, and then generally I'm knocked into the numbness and I don't even accomplish what is needed to be done. In this particular instance, I need to write a ten page paper and finish reading two books in less than two weeks while cleaning my entire room also in two weeks. And the part about being a hoarder and trying to clean my room is hard enough as it is, and then my anxiety kicks in, and everything is just so much worse. I was just wondering if maybe there was a way I will be able to accomplish all that I need to in time. My procrastination has worn off from the typical procrastination, and now only lies in the anxiety procrastination and the fear of not finishing. I am starting to get overwhelmed, and I know that soon, if I cannot get this under control, I am going to go numb again and not accomplish anything, and it most definitely will not be the good first impression I'm hoping to make at college. Also, if I can figure out how to curb this, and stop it from happening, I hope it will help me in not doing this during school, resulting in me flunking out. So if you have any advice, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advance.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:44 pm

Hello worryintheworld,

Although the only way to actually diagnose a psychological disorder is through a detailed psychological interview, I can give you a little information. All that you describe - the episodes of anxiety, hoarding, obsessive thoughts, compulsive actions, chronic low grade depression, constant stress, episodes of feeling numb - can all be classified under Anxiety Disorders, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Since you are still able to manage your symptoms and have found ways to offset the severity at times, your condition would be considered moderate in severity. You would benefit very much from both medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy. You have already identified ways to distract yourself, so you are on the right track. Some people use the technique of snapping a rubber band on their wrist when the urge for obsession and/or compulsive behavior occurs, or use a mantra (repeating a phrase) that is acceptable to them, and some are able to substitute an action such as counting to 10 to ease the stress. Meditation can help, as can a regular exercise program, such as daily walks, which helps restore levels of neurohormones in the brain.

Your local public mental health facility may be able to help you at little cost, as most base their rates on the person's ability to pay. Your college may also have services that can assist you. If you have a regular physician, he or she may be able to help you a great deal. Your local hospital very likely has a patient assistance program, and you can try talking with the Social Worker, who can help refer you to the most appropriate resource. If there is a Family Resource Center in your area, they too may have assistance available.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please keep us posted on your progress.

Good luck!

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