I want to share my anxiety story

Old 07-20-2013, 04:17 AM
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I want to share my anxiety story

I'm Jeff J. and I'm an alcoholic. Long before my drinking became a real problem for me I had trouble sleeping. I couldn't fall asleep or I'd wake up in the middle of the night worried I would stop breathing. I have severe sinus issues which I'm taking OTC or prescribed meds for all of my life. I used to be allergic to everything but some of the allergies I've outgrown. Mostly now it's airborne or chemical orders that cause flare ups.

I have had two sinus surgeries. The first was in 1999/2000 for deviated septum, open up turbinates etc. I've got extremely jacked up sinuses. But when I had that first surgery I was not given the drugs for surgery in the right order. I was 100% aware of everything as I went into surgery. They gave me the paralytic making me incapable of speech to say anything before giving me the twilight drug to make me forget the entire procedure. I was told I came out of anesthesia fighting.

Recovery was a real nightmare. The whole ordeal was unpleasant but I think what made it so was it triggered this anxiety attacks of previous years into major overdrive. I stayed up three days straight. Ambien didn't help. Prayer didn't help--and I was a deeply religious person. My wife didn't understand. All I wanted to do is talk to my mother and cry. I was having. Nervous breakdown. I had seen psychiatrists and was given Prozac and then in following years. I've taken every antidepressant/anti anxiety pill on the market. Many caused other more serious health problems such as HBP/hypertension/diabetes/heart disease. Finally I was given Xanax and that was a miracle. I immediately felt like myself. I took .50 three times a day then weaned off while transitioned to another antidepressant etc.

Eventually with the blessing and help from a psychiatrist and a nutritionist friend I got off of antidepressants. They were actually causing more problems emotionally--particularly flat affect and agitation. I resolved to work out my problems with God and good common sense. However Xanax has always been a back up. It worked for the anxiety and I didn't need it all the time.

Eventually circumstances led to the breakup of my marriage for a time. Still not completely healed but hoping that comes one day. I was under a lot of stress but thought "eff it" I'll go and get a bottle of Turkey 101 and drink to help me sleep. That started off with a few swigs then went to quarter fifth to half and so on. Then there were weekends I was in bed drunk the entire time.

long story short---alcohol whipped me. Almost died from extremely low blood sugar. Thank God my wife found me. That began my journey into recovery.

I had abused/not taken as prescribed the Xanax and anything OTC to help me sleep when the booze stopped working. Since starting recovery I haven't used Xanax other than as prescribed although I'm not entirely comfortable with any mood altering chemical in my body. I plan on weaning myself off these as well.

However please don't let my experience with antidepressants etc. encourage you to jerk yourself off these meds. They do provide temporary relief. For some they are a miracle. Taking yourself off too fast and without help can really mess you up. I tried for years until I found a slow, steady regimen and proper dietary supplements and vitamins to offset withdrawals. Actually they were used in the 60s to get people off LSD etc. Any drug which alters your brain chemistry is addictive in my opinion. But that's my personal belief. If you have no personal conviction or issues I'm happy for you. I still take Xanax so I'm not totally without bias.

However, something happened to me this week. As mentioned earlier I have allergy/sinus issues. Constantly bother me. Well, I had to clean the garage to relocate two hot water heaters at home. Sent me into a bad allergy attack. I woke up at 3 am one morning broth sides of my nose were stopped up. Nasal sprays, meds didn't phase it. I couldn't even blow my nose. I panicked. I was up from then on. Tried relaxing praying driving around town...nothing was working---not even Xanax.

I came home and resolved if I couldn't get any relief and calm down...I knew what I could do to achieve that. Drink! I even resolved to commit myself. I was in complete hell.

Thankfully I went to my regular meeting and although exhausted and not able to really follow discussion I calmed down and looked forward to seeing the ear nose and throat doc that afternoon. Good news is I got relief from sinuses but will probably need another surgery to remove polyps. Bad news is steroids are causing lack of sleep and a lot of stomach discomfort. Thus this post...ha!

I did learn something very important about panic attacks from one psychiatrist: all anxiety attacks start with one is single thought about a situation you couldn't control anyway. And if you can train yourself to recognize those ideas and the progression of a panic attack, you can do something to arrest it without more meds or a drink etc. we've all experienced the panic when we can't get our fix. That's a single thought-- I'm going to run out! Or worse, I'm out!" Then we search like hell or do something which brings on more shame Nd guilt and so forth.

I'm so happy that God gave me the ability to rationalize in the midst of my suffering that a) I e got a mouth to breathe through, b) I had a drs appt, 3) alcohol doesn't effing work anymore, d) that it alcohol would only further dehydrate me, e) that my reliance is upon God and I could trust my care to him.

All this happened after several months of sobriety and working out the steps. it has been a learning experience.

I shared a condensed version of this in a meeting this week and it allowed others to share that panic was a trigger to drink for them too. So I hope this helps someone. Thanks.
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