I’ve shared here before my realization that anxiety, specifically Generalized Anxiety Syndrome has been living rent free in my head for a long time.
Many of you reached out, in concern. I appreciate it. You suggested, rightly, that it requires professional help to combat mental health issues. I agree. My first stop was the doctor. I have a prescription for Lexepro. I don’t know if it’s helping, but my lovely wife assures me that she’s seeing a difference. I’ll have to take her word for it.
Today was the start of Step Two: therapy. Considering I was diagnosed a couple of months ago, I’m coming to the therapy session a little late. In fact, when I first met with the doctor, she suggested therapy and set a return appointment for six week. At my six week checkup I had to admit to not following my doctor’s advice. I was taking the meds, but I hadn’t set up the therapy appointments.
Here’s the thing about anxiety, at least the flavor I’m drinking, the thought of setting up the appointment actually triggered greater anxiety. Like many people, my coping technique is avoidance. I can avoid scheduling an appointment for. . .a long time.
After the second doctor visit, my lovely wife realized this was an area she could help.
Would it help if I set up an appointment for you?
Ah. . .yeah, I guess it would.
Here’s the crazy part. I like talking to people. And talking about myself is one of my favorite subjects. In fact, I can easily fill a 53 minute hour without breaking a sweat.
I’ve been to therapy before, although not for anxiety. I told the therapist, (whose name I constantly forgot, but that’s another issue) all about my episodes of anxiety, my PTSD, my ADHD. I told her about times when I was literally paralyzed into inaction. We talked mostly about work. I’m good at my job. I get tons of accolades from my job. My job causes me stress, which is good. It has recently started to cause me anxiety, which is bad.
At one point the therapist stopped me.
This first meeting is supposed to be about intake questions, but if I can offer a bit of analysis, it sounds like you are triggered by circumstances where you don’t know the answer to a situation. . .but you feel you should know.
One time my lovely wife and I were at a nice restaurant. We were sitting at the bar waiting for our table to be available. The bartender was mixing us a drink that tasted vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was right on the tip of my tongue. (I want to apologize for that pun.) He attempted slight variations on it, but I simply couldn’t recognize it. As they called us for our table, he finally said, “Ginger Ale.” And just like that, the taste “clicked.”
The therapist’s statement was like that. Suddenly a whole bunch of my life suddenly came into focus. I started looking back through various experiences and each one seemed to further validate her assessment.
I’ve always been fairly self aware. That’s why this anxiety thing has been so hard for me. Until today, I didn’t understand why I act certain ways in certain circumstances. Of course, simply naming your demons won’t make them disappear. I still have work to do, but this one additional piece of insight has at least reassured me that there’s a path out of this Mirkwood.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
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