I have obsessed over things I don’t have control over and even those I do since I was a young child. I thought it was fairly normal because I guess, I never experienced ‘normal’.
Obsessing over problems 24/7 is not ‘normal,’ so I’ve been told. I was told those thoughts are called intrusive thoughts.
Unwanted intrusive thoughts are stuck thoughts that cause great distress. They seem to come from out of nowhere, arrive with a whoosh, and cause a great deal of anxiety. — adaa.org
I do not have thoughts that include violent thinking, although some people do. My thoughts tend that tend to replay over and over in my brain consist of thoughts that are related to family, finances, self worth and fear of disappointing those closest to me.
Intrusive thoughts escalate anxiety in those who suffer from Anxiety Disorder. When the thoughts won’t stop, this can lead to frequent panic attacks and eventually depression. Intrusive thoughts take a toll on not just your brain but your physical well-being too.
It becomes harder to think with clarity along with tackling daily duties when your mind won’t shut off the negative, worry-some thoughts.
I’ve realized I’ve been suffering with intrusive thoughts for almost 4 years
I’ve always had intrusive thoughts but they didn’t seem to reside in my lovely brain for long periods of time. When I look back, the first time I experienced intrusive thoughts was before a tonsillectomy. I was only in 1st grade, yet I worried I would die. I wasn’t able to sleep through the night for 2 days prior the that surgery. I had to have my blood drawn prior to the surgery and I passed out as she drew my blood. Looking back, that was a panic attack.
Years passed and my worries were up and down but never consistent enough that might have led me to believe I was suffering from Anxiety Disorder. I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder at the age of 29, long before it was cool to share with most people that you were on medication for it, seeing a psychiatrist and going to counseling; mum was the word.
Fast forward to the past 4 years or more… I quit my job because I had a boss who was extremely hard to work for. She lost 10 employees in a matter of 2.5 years, so I did understand it wasn’t me. However, once the high of being free from her wore off, the guilt of not having a job set in.
After quitting my job my husband developed more health issues. He had some while I was working but they became much more severe after I quit. It took more than a few years to get a diagnosis because he’s a complex patient. He suffers from and acquired more than one condition, Asthma, Sarcoidosis, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis and COPD from the lung diseases. It wasn’t until September of 2018, we found out he has Diastolic Left Heart Failure. Yes, I have had intrusive thoughts about losing him. I have to remind myself, it’s easier for him to work (he’s self-employed) since I’m at home and can meet his needs when he’s spent. He’s spent almost daily but he tackles life differently than I do. My husband has the will of iron. I admire his tenacity, yet I feel guilty that I don’t function at his level, helping to bring an income home even though he reminds me that he needs me here and there is more to life than money.
Since I don’t bring an income in and my husband had to let a few larger contracts go for his physical health, our finances have changed drastically. My intrusive thoughts used to consist of worrying about the health and safety of my children, now I worry day and night over our finances with a heavy dose of guilt.
I honestly thought once my children became adults, which they are and I’m so proud of them my worries would dissipate. Wrong! My Generalized anxiety disorder which has been hard to treat, seeks and finds other issues to obsess over, no matter how hard I use the tools I’ve been given in therapy or just try to slow the thoughts down. It’s a vicious cycle.
I beat myself up daily for not trying to find another job and because I’m not employed outside of the home, I internalize all our money issues as if I created them. Most of our money issues were either related to health care costs and taxes. We pay 1500/mo for our HC premium and still ended up paying approximately 6000.00 out of pocket for deductibles, copays and out of pocket costs. We have a payment plan with the IRS because once we lost a proportion of our income, we still owed the IRS the next year… losing income when self-employed can be devastating.
So, there you have it, my mind is now spinning like a Merry-Go-Round that won’t stop because I can’t stop worrying about money or stop the guilt of being a stay at home wife. It doesn’t help that I’m from the generation of boomers- I live in a small town and it’s hard to find full-time employment, particularly, employment that is conducive to my mental health and pays benefits as well.
In the meantime, my head spins constantly, my back and neck are always in pain due to muscles contracting from stress, dizziness and vertigo have become unwelcome friends again, I have become extremely forgetful along with wondering where my coping skills went. This is just a simple example of Generalized anxiety disorder invading my space. It has caused me to have chronic depression which is common when anxiety disorder lasts for any length of time. Let’s just say, depression is one more layer that truly stinks!
I have to keep reminding myself that Therapy is vital. I was going to Therapy one time per week until I found out my insurance increased my co-pays to 90.00/visit. I can only afford to go once per month now. If I needed physical therapy, I could afford to go once per week. So, until Mental Health Disorders are taken just as seriously as physical disorders, many of us will continue to suffer needlessly.
I just want to be able to function without chronic incessant thoughts. I want to be able to leave my home without worrying about having a panic attack in public. I want to be able to function like others who don’t worry on a continual basis. I just want to have more days than not that I feel a semblance or normalcy.
I want this Merry-Go-Round in my mind to slow down.
To those who suffer from Chronic Anxiety Disorder with Dysthymia don’t give up… I haven’t and won’t. I’m determined to heal this Futher Mucker, join me in that determination. We all matter and we should never feel inferior due to a real illness.