Old 06-04-2008, 04:54 PM
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Question Anxiety

I'm sure everyone here suffers from anxiety - but has anyone had anxiety about their loved one take over their lives? I find myself almost always on the edge of panic - the last time it happened, it was just that I phoned home and nobody was there. My first thought was that someone had been hurt or that my parents were in the process of bailing *someone* out, or worse, that someone had made my parents take the fall for something happening.

I just hate feeling like this on a daily basis. I worry that legal troubles (not mine, my family member's) will be in the paper and affect me at my job. I worry about my siblings and the impact that it's having on them. I worry about my parents who live with the addicted family member. I have these weird rituals - like if I am playing cards, I'll tell myself that if the next card is red, then everything is fine. Or if the next car I see is a police car, then something bad is going on with the family. I know it sounds odd but I keep playing these little games with myself ALL of the time.

I have a doctor's appoitnment this Friday. I hate to say it but I am considering asking for something for anxiety. I go to the gym on a fairly regular basis, I have a dog so I'm out with him a lot, and I'm attending family counseling at the local detox/rehab centre. I'm not sure what I can try except a prescription. To make things worse, our family doctor is the one who prescribed the drug that -DIDN'T START- my family member's addiction, but certainly helped it. I have no idea what was going through the dr.'s mind - to prescribe a popular street drug to a teenager that has already admitted they have a problem with drugs, and dressed like a gangster. But that's another story...

Anyway, thoughts from anyone would be really appreciated. How do you deal with anxiety and panic attacks?
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:01 PM
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I thnk anyone worried about someone they love does this somewhat. I do try and rationalize my way through the stressful anxious moments. Such as, what would be my action plan for what I am worried about, how would I carry it out, what is the immediacy of my response. Usually I can bring myself back to some realistic ideas and calm myself. I wonder what does help other people.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:14 PM
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I do try to rationalize. When I'm around my family, I'm usually fine. But I didn't know about the addiction in my family until it all came to a head in probably the worst possible situation that someone who is a drug addict could find themselves in. In supporting my family in this really hard time, I also found out that my brother has a severe drug addiction and previous legal problems.

He stayed with me for a short period of time when he attempted school. His drug of choice was actually a prescription that I held onto as the 'adult' of the house. I felt like a drug dealer. Every time I gave him meds I know he didn't need, I was terrified that he would give them to someone who would misuse them and overdose and it would be my fault. I used to drive around the city, trying to find him just to make sure he was OK and tell him I loved him (never worked....)

Because I had learned about the addiction in such a terrible way, I don't feel like I really had time to absorb it all properly. I think I panic because I know things were hidden from me in the past and I'm terrified that something will happen again. I'm certainly aware that drugs aren't the best way to deal with things but I just don't know where else to turn.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:49 PM
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I believe, and I have had it confirmed by therapists, that we who love addicts suffer from PTSD. That is why it is so important to take good physical care of yourself so that you can be as healthy as you can be so that the emotional toll is lessened. Take care of yourself and make sure to do something fun or relaxing every day. Hugs, Marle
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:58 PM
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Hi BigSister

I'm not sure if my post here will help you at all but for what it's worth -

When I get the anxiety or panic, what happens to me is that it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest, and while that big weight is on there, I can't think clearly, everything is "worst case", I anticipate the next shoe to drop, etc. and I go to all sorts of places in my head - but no place that is clear or sane.

What I did was go to our local pharmacy that is a western pharmacy but also does "natural" stuff - all kinds, and talked to someone there that I know and trust and she gave me some natural tabs that, for me, work like a charm. I'm very sensitive to most meds, etc. and Dr. wanted to throw some Xanax at me and I didn't want to do that. This stuff doesn't upset my tum, or make me spacey, tired, or wired or anything, but somehow after a day the elephant was gone and so long as I keep taking them he's gone and I can think clearly. Doesn't mean I don't worry or any of that, but, again for me it was that heavy weight on my chest that made my thinking go really out of whack, beyond what this situation naturally brings.

So that's my suggestion, for what it's worth, if you have something like that in your area and someone you would trust to maybe try something that's not a perscription first for yourself.

It's such a difficult situation already, just make sure that you do what you need to for you and YOU are comfortable with it, whether it's an extra walk, Rx, hot baths, etc.

Big hugs to you!
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:59 PM
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Anxiety does indeed come with the territory. I think it's a control thing and until we finanlly give up the ghost, we harbor a sense that we can somehow influence the outcome and make a difference. It probably has more to do with who we are than it has anything to do with the addict.

I refuse to take anything to control anxiety or help me sleep. Sooner or latter, we all crash and tomorrow is another day.

I think this forum has probably prevented a lot of heart attacks in the making, because venting is allowed and no one judges or blames.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:11 PM
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Thank you all so much for your advice. Fortunately, I have NEVER had a problem sleeping, I think that's the only part of my life that my anxiety hasn't affected! I like the idea of a natural remedy, thank you, codeinewife. I'm going to find out what I can online. I hate the idea of dealing with this issue of a drug addict by taking drugs

Marle, you are right about relaxing and having fun. I have really dealt with all this by locking myself in my house and crying... I need to get in touch with my friends. They all know what's going on (an edited version) so they have been awesome with giving me space. I think I need to have a camping weekend or just get away somewhere where I can't compusively check email/news sites to see if anything has gone wrong.

I think it's a control thing and until we finanlly give up the ghost, we harbor a sense that we can somehow influence the outcome and make a difference.
This definitly hit the nail on the head, outtolunch. I replay things that happened last summer and think, if only I'd visited my family that weekend. If only I'd told my parents not to let friends stay over. If only....

Thanks so much. I love this place and hearing the good and the bad. It makes my odd life feel a lot more 'normal', which is unfortunate, but I'm glad I'm not alone.
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:39 PM
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Bigsis, huge hugs to you. You are a human being. Please don't forget that. I play those little games in my head sometimes, too. It's like I want to resign myself to fate, but then I don't believe the answers I get half the time. :rof

I think seeing someone is a good thing. They will be able to tell you if medication is a good option. Please keep us updated.

And another thing, try to get out of the negative thinking. Think positive. Good things. Every time a bad thought comes along, imagine it like you're watching it on television, on a DVD. Then imagine you eject that DVD, break it in half and throw it in the trash. Replace what's on the screen with something good and positive.

It sounds dorky, but I have to tell you, it helped me past some serious traumatic issues that I have struggle with since childhood (that had to do with some pretty horrific events.) I never found peace until I started this technique and I did it at first just for the heck of it--not believing it would work. But it did for me.

Thinking good things about people and allowing yourself to HOPE for those good things is not naive or foolish. Positive begets positive a lot of the time. Good comes from good.

So, on that note, I'm sending you a million jillion oodles of good mojo.

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Old 06-06-2008, 07:00 PM
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Yeah! I just got back from the doctors. He told me that I had a 'catastrophic personality' where everything that happens, I imagine will be a catastrophe. He advised me to see a cognitive psyciatrist (which I think will help more than going to see a counselor at the rehab centre). He also mentioned Adovan but I didn't like the fight-drugs-with-drugs idea.

On a happy note, I spent a few hours with my brother last night and it was awesome. He was definitly clean (at that point in time, who knows for how long). We watched a movie with my mom & dad, we talked about him getting a job and some help from the John Howard Society, and just joked and made conversation. He was so nice to my family and offered to clean up and get them drinks/food while he was up, and played with our pets. I couldn't believe it. Even if it doesn't last, last night was like a wonderful dream to me, I had my brother back for a little bit!

Sometimes I think it would be easier for my bro to always be mean/inconsiderate so that I could turn off my feelings and truly detach from him. That's the hardest part for me - I have no idea how anyone does it, even though I understand what it is and why I should. But I wouldn't trade last night for anything.
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