Truth Time

All right, kids. It’s time for me to come clean. I said something to Katie about this a few days ago, but it’s official: I was accepted as a participant in a study on anxiety at IU. I spoke with a woman today and see a psychiatrist next Tuesday.

I’ve been experiencing incrementally more periods of anxiety lately than I ever have in my life. I think it all started when I was in the car accident with Liz 10 years ago, and has gotten progressively worse. It could have been bad prior to that, but I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. Since I’ve quit drinking I have definitely felt worse.

It’s reared its ugly head most recently in a series of social events that I’ve missed out on due to my constant worrying. We almost didn’t go to dinner on our anniversary. I have managed to make excuses for just about every single thing that’s come up in the past few months.

I don’t know what all of this is related to or why it’s getting worse. I just know that it’s begun to seriously affect my happiness, and is something that Charlie has had to deal with — and he shouldn’t have to. I feel like work and school wear me out. When I have to socialize in any way, I do expressly what I have to do. Beyond that, I feel exhausted. Making a phone call makes me want to take a nap. Going to the grocery store is a challenge. I’m okay doing things at home; cleaning the house, walking the dogs, doing dishes. But if I have to do certain social things after work, after having conversations for five or six or however many hours, I just want to lay down.

Because of my inactive social life, my neglect of my friends, my lack of energy, I know it’s time to do something. At first I put it off until April, when IUPUI is going to be having an anxiety screening in the new Campus Center. But then I saw they were enrolling people in a trial. Besides, I don’t need to be screened. I’m about 150% positive what needs to be treated.

This study includes compensation for time and travel, a couple of medications (they choose which one), and perhaps a PET scan or two. The last two options interest me more than first. I could care less if they gave me money. The fact is, I’ll be receiving free treatment for something that started out as a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder (according to a shrink I saw a few years ago — I’ve only seen a counselor three times in my entire life and have never gone back to any of them more than twice) and has developed into something that’s putting pressure on my relationship and friendships.  The idea of getting a scan of my brain is really exciting, for some reason. And since we have no health insurance, my only other option is the CAPS program at IUPUI, which limits the amount of times you can see someone during your entire college career.

To show you exactly how bad it’s been, let me detail the phone call I had this morning. After getting up the nerve (I have to do this) to call and leave my name and number last Friday, someone returned that call this morning around 11:30. I saw my phone was ringing but didn’t recognize the number. If I don’t know who’s calling me, I will definitely not answer. I waited for the person to leave a voice mail and finally got one. It was someone recruiting for the study. I sat down in the bathroom for about ten minutes, trying to calm myself down. I was excited that they were calling me, but I was nervous about what I would have to do. Would I have to go somewhere I’ve never been before?  Talk to someone new? Find a place to park? Pay to park? Would they want to see me today? What if they didn’t want me at all?

I ended up speaking with the recruiter for about fifteen minutes as she asked me a series of questions — none of which I answered negatively. It was all “Yes.” “Definitely.” “Frequently.” “All the time.” When I got off the phone I was bouncing around the house in a kind of manic, nervous excitement.  I felt shaky and tense, and the muscles in my neck and shoulders have been hurting ever since (it’s now almost 4pm). I wanted to ask Charlie to go with me, but he has to be in class on Tuesdays at 10:30, so I couldn’t ask him to skip just to sit in a waiting room while I had a conversation with the doctor.

I’m very, very glad that I’m doing this, but of course, I’m also really worried about the outcome. What I know is that my worry has had a tremendous impact on my happiness and I don’t want that to happen any longer.

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2 thoughts on “Truth Time

  1. I think it’s great that you are doing it. It will take a lot of effort on your part and it will no doubt cause you a bit of anxiety, at least at the beginning of it, but if you stick with it, you might just find ways of coping. I’ve known people with severe anxiety who have just given up and crawled back into the anxiety. It only gets worse. Good luck!

  2. You will be ok – better than ok. I’m not a shrink but it sounds as though the worrying and anxiety is also causing some depression (the not going out, isolating, exhaustion) which is a combo/cycle I am more than familiar with. They can trigger each other. And whatever the deal is neglecting your mental health can so impact the quality of your life and those all around you and sometimes you might not even be aware until it gets really bad. Not that you are in the exact same situation I was, and I know that I would not be with my ex eventually in any case, but that whole deal crashed and burned in a very melodramatic and horrid way when it didn’t need to because I didn’t realize what was going on with myself for a long time and when I finally had a sense I was too proud/scared/ashamed/anxious to ask for help. I finally hit my own personal rock bottom when I did finally seek help – I can trace it back to the exact moment when I had the epiphany – at a Cubs game in Chicago of all places. I was fortunate that I had friends who picked up the phone when I finally called and said I needed help. It takes courage to do what you are doing – don’t for a minute not give yourself the credit you deserve for seeking help, and talking about it.

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