'Thoughts of an Anxious Man is back for 2020. For those new here, the series is my little way of sharing the trials, tribulations, ups and downs of living with both social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder. One of the biggest things I've found with anxiety, indeed mental health in general, is that there are so many more people suffering in one way or another than you could ever imagine. Despite all the positive marketing mental health issues have received over the past few years, many still choose to suffer in silence rather than seek support.
I might be a little guilty of that myself. I'm not someone that will go out of their way to open up. People will ask me how I'm doing, and I'll give the usual 'meh, alright thanks.' Instead, I turn to writing - this series is an attempt at articulating my anxieties; an inner dialogue open for all to see. Truth be told, I'm just not too good at explaining it in person. No matter how many times I'm asked what it is that sets me off, even though the answer is often the same, I can never find the words! At this point, I just couldn't say! Writing it down gives an opportunity to really think about triggers, direction and reflection. It's therapeutic.
New Year, New Plan
The back end of 2019 was a bit of a rough one for me. Despite a few high points, it had begun to feel as if I was slipping a little bit. I didn't seem to be making any headway with my therapy and yet still my symptoms worsened. To the point where I struggled with a 20 minute drive across the country to visit family. I've tried every holistic treatment I could research - hypnotherapy, L-theanine, green teas, meditation, mindfulness, CBD - but nothing seemed to take root enough to allow breathing space needed for the CBT to take effect.
I decided it was time to revisit the idea of medication. Having tried a few different SSRI's (and taken a distinct disliking to them), my doctor put me on beta blockers instead. These particular little magic pills slow down the uptake of adrenaline in your system, slowing your heart rate and, in turn, slowing down the symptoms of anxiety. Also - I'm not a doctor (ssshh) so I might have missed a key point or two there. But hey ho - that's my understanding of them!
I'd put off taking them for some time, getting anxiety about taking anxiety medication is an irony in itself - right? I just didn't like the idea of something messing with my heart. But, after the way the year ended, I felt I really just needed to get on with it. So I did. And it felt a bit bloody good, I don't mind saying, telling my anxiety to f*** off.
4 days in - I'll let you know how they go.