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Enough Anxiety Was Enough: Too Many Unwarranted Medical Visits, Bills, & Relationships Ruined

Stigma and bias can be a hard thing to overcome, even if one is not aware of the stigma for which they are living with.

I had led a life, up until the point of my unwarranted health anxiety making itself blatantly clear, of uninhibited happiness, health, and carefreeness.  I miss those days, but the dark days in-between have made me a better person today.  I almost miss the days in which my anxiety and fear was at its worse, because during that dark time I learned about myself, about my resolve, and no matter how dark it got, I had hope at the end of an fearful tunnel.  I found that light, and I’m living in the light now, although I still have anxiety daily.

For two long years, between 2010 and 2012, my anxiety and obsessive fear over my health hit its zenith.

For each new symptom I would act illogically; in my mind, an eye twitch meant my muscles were dying; sensory symptoms of tingles and zaps meant I was developing a Neuromuscular disorder; headaches meant I was battling a brain tumor, and so on. The twitches were the worst, because they were ever-present and I truly thought that they were the beginning of some sinister development, of ***.

During those two years, I visited countless doctors, ranging the whole spectrum of specialization, from neurologists to eye doctors to nurse practitioners, to my doctor back home.  All of the experts, across the board, would give me the same prognosis: you are fineyour symptoms are benign; you are extremely healthy.  Yet, I did not believe them.  I felt that they did not understand or that they were missing something.  My eyes were twitching, I told them!  This can’t be normal! They twitch a lot, sometimes days on end, sometimes for weeks straight. My muscles twitch, my toes tingle, this is not normal, this never used to happen to me, this must be the start of something sinister.  I would leave one renowned neurologist to seek my doom from another; I would seek the results of tests, for they could not lie to me; emg’s, cat scans, MRI’s, etc., yet those also declared I was ok.  I stopped believing in science, it must be missing something, how can it know what I am going through!

I was prescribed some anti-anxiety medication, and I took it for a while, about 4 or 5 months, but I did not like the effects it had on me; I felt like a zombie.  I didn’t tell my doctor, and I stopped taking them, cold turkey.  In hindsight, that was a mistake. The anxiety, obviously, worsened.  But I thought I could battle this affliction on my own.

Even in my committed relationship, I began to have irrational fears.  I became hyper aware.  A redspot the size of a pencil tip on my d*ck was concern enough for me to visit a doctor, an expedition that before this affliction, would have been the last thing on my mind.  Yet, by the end of 2010 I had no shame.  I had shown my you know what to at least five separate doctors, an act of embarrassment for some, an act I went into without reservations.  “You see that red spot,” I’d say.  “What red spot?” they would ask.  “Look, right here.  See it?  What do you think that is?  Am I okay? What could it be?”  I’d say this anxiously yet calmly, because I had become so convinced that I was doomed, I began to expect that to eventually be the answer.  “It is nothing, it looks extremely healthy,” they would say.  Without breaking a blush I’d pull my jeans back on, they’d tell me to talk to someone about anxiety before this starts to snowball out of control, and that would be that.

I did not tell my girlfriend that I was seeking out these diagnosis and she never suspected as much, because a rational person had nothing to suspect.  I was lost in a terror inside of my mind.  My outlets of exercise, reading, writing, provided slight distractions, but no cure. Eventually, after two years, I started to get better. I figured, I’VE HAD THESE SYMPTOMS FOR TWO YEARS, and I am in FACT HEALTHIER than I have ever been, that doesn’t add up.  What am I afraid of?  I am okay.

I am okay.  I am okay.  I am okay.  I am okay.  I am okay.

I actually started to believe this.  I stopped going to doctors for every little fear — after THOUSANDS of dollars of medical bills, which I’m still paying off today.  I stopped calling my Dad daily with my fears, telling him I was afraid I was dying and instead would call my Dad as a loving son, asking him how he was doing, a normal loving relationship.  I started to care about other people, as I had my entire life before ANXIETY took over.  I worried about my younger brothers instead of myself, instead of my irrational fears.  I stopped googling every symptom under the sun, and began reading classic novels again.  I stopped examining every inch of my body throughout the day, and instead only looked at a mirror at night before bed and in the morning after a shower.   The relationship I had during those years of anxieties peak ended, which was very hard at the time but which made perfect sense.  If I couldn’t care for myself, if I spent all my energy worrying about myself and hiding it from my partner, what value did I possibly bring to such a relationship.  I am lucky that that was the only relationship in which I lost forever.

I am now working to help others who go through anxiety.  Nothing is taboo.  Anxiety is something that I still live with daily, and every now and then I almost allow myself to fall back into a state of doom, almost…..

How did I get BACK to this place; a place of production, health, and dare I say: happiness? There wasn’t ONE PATH, there never is.  People who tell you there is one path towards anything are often wrong, or often haven’t walked enough paths to attempt to be dishing out advise.  There were many things I had to do, and although I did it without medication, I wouldn’t say that there is a right or wrong way — medication helps a vast number of people.  Lately, I have been studying how my BRAIN functions through a service called BrainPaint, which is a natural and safe tool of neurofeedback that studies your brainwaves.  Seeing the image of my brain and how it works is a powerful sight.  It makes me want back all of the years I was mistreating my brain, the damage of my illogical, fearful, constant state of doom way of thinking; a state of being that I didn’t know how to escape. It is further reinforcement of the power of the brain, the importance of keeping yourself sane and the importance of the Pursuit of Happiness.

What You Should Know About Detox

Detoxification is a process that can be used with rehabilitation to help overcome alcohol, drug or other addictions.  Once an addict stops using drugs and alcohol the body experiences symptoms of withdrawal, which can range from minor to severe. These centers specialize in taking a person through the whole process to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Medical supervision is critical when detoxing. The cessation of drugs is just not possible alone. Detoxification centers provide a safe environment to go through the treatment. Having medical professionals present will lessen the chance of relapse significantly. Setting up an appointment with your preferred detox center to discuss the process is always a good idea. The center staff will discuss the entirety of the process and your chosen methods.

Another thing to keep in mind is after the body has rid itself completely from drugs and/or alcohol it will begin to heal. So, this means that after an absence of drugs, one time use can affect the body in a severe manner. There could be intense consequences from using again. This is why medical supervision is imperative in order to combat any withdrawal symptoms, but to also monitor the body in the chance that the it is thrown into a state of shock or worse. Immediate medical attention may be needed.

When entering the center keep in mind that any wounds or medical ailments will need to be inspected. If deemed appropriate the patient may need to enter into medical attention for such treatment before said detox can actually safely occur. An evaluation of each person’s mental and physical state is done before entering the program.

Both Inpatient and outpatient options are available to those seeking treatment. Outpatient treatment will allow the patient to return to work or necessary duties after detox is complete and the patient has been cleared. However, inpatient treatment allows a much better transition into a complete therapy and treatment of that individual. Inpatient treatment will allow extended and essential supervision throughout the entirety of treatment. Treatment centers with inpatient programs will usually allow the patron to have their own room and move freely within that area as opposed to detox taking place in a more medical type facility.

Cravings will return after the drug has left the body. Arm yourself with the knowledge and support needed in order to fight the cravings. This is why rehab after detox is the best course of action for any addict looking to become clean. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Backing detox with rehabilitation treatment ensures that the patient will have all available tools and a network of support to engage if it becomes necessary.

Detox can take some time. Each person’s experience will vary. This is great information to discuss with the detoxification center as well. Withdrawal symptoms may cease after a couple of days for one person and last for an entire week for someone else. The staff is there to solely support that individual seeking treatment. Medicinal and holistic remedies will be made available to the patient for the entirety of the session. Caretakers will make sure that the patient is fully safe and as comfortable as possible during this time.

Rehabilitation and detox centers usually take many forms of medical insurance as payment. This should not be a deterrent for entering a program. Always call the center to discuss payment options. Many centers are quite flexible with payment plan options, but it is always a good idea to check. The goal is to get the patient healthy first and foremost.

Know that now is the time to commit to detox and rehabilitation. Nothing is more important that becoming happy and healthy. Family and friends are allowed at just about any detox and rehab center. A support group will be allowed to help the user through this difficult time. No one wants to watch their loved ones suffer. So, medically supervised treatment immediately is crucial to sustaining one’s sobriety.

The Story of a Parentified 16 Year Old Girl

I’m a 16 year old girl and I had to grow up fast. I never really got to enjoy my childhood, at times I don’t mind because I like feeling as though I’m capable to do things on my own, but sometimes I feel as thought I should’ve been able to live a normal teenage life. My father was in the picture but he was never mentally or emotionally there for me.

My mom had to take the role of both mother and father, but that made me feel like I had to be more responsible, like I had the responsibility of being a parent which I didn’t like. I started working once I turned 15 and I’ve worked ever since.

As soon as I got my first job my mom stopped helping me with anything and always asked me for money.  I felt like I was the parent and she was the daughter. It really gets hard sometimes cause I feel as though she’s never played the role of being a mom. She kept a roof over my head and food in my stomach, but emotionally she was never there. I never got an “I love you” unless she did something really horrible towards me and felt guilty. I’ve never heard how was your day, how are your grades, how was school, would you like to talk about anything…none of these normal questions parents ask their kids. And it really hurts, I have just always wished I had an actual mom I could look up to.

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

I’ve never spoken about any of this. I’ve always been afraid that my secrets, the ones I knew I’d take to the grave would get out and tear my world apart. But as I get older I’m starting to see that my world is falling apart anyway, so here goes nothing.

I think there’s something wrong with me (I’m so annoyed that it sounds cliche). What I mean is that, while growing up, things happened, things that I was never helped with and things that I didn’t deal with. Now that I’m older, I feel like my walls are closing in on me and I don’t know what to do. I come from a family of 12. I’ve never been the one to give my parents any trouble. This means that they don’t have the time to know whats going on in my life and I’m so glad I’m not a burden to them. Sometimes though I wish I had a bit of guidance on the more trivial things.

When I was younger my older brother used me to masturbate. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know I felt sick writing that sentence, but I think I’m just scared that people will know. I don’t talk about it, I’ve never told anyone. I’m not really sure if that’s abuse or not. I’ve heard stories far worse then that and I don’t think it would be fair to say that I’ve been through the same thing.

I guess I’m a little angry at my family. I know they all knew. I remember telling my older sisters and watching them giggle. (they were young so I don’t blame them). The problem is life went on like nothing happened. To this day. That wont change because if I tore my family apart like that, I don’t think they would ever forgive me, I would never forgive me. In spite of everything I still love my brother and I think that’s enough.

Next was primary school. I didn’t have a single friend, I remember trying to hide from the girls who used to hunt me down for fun. They were always coming up with new names and new games, they picked on the way I looked mostly. At home it was the same, I have four sisters and for some reason I didn’t fit in, when I was home they used to play tricks on me like tying me up in our bedroom and leaving me there for hours or pretending to make me a drink when I was sick only to spit and put detergents in it. They would tease me about my weight a lot, about how I was getting bullied at school, about how I was different, odd and disgusting. What I never understood is why. I would always try to be so nice, why was that the thing that made me so vulnerable. These were the worst years of my life.

High school was pretty much the same right up to year 9. I was the outsider. In year 10 I thought “Screw it!” I’d rather not have friends then surround myself with people that would bring me down. Ironically, while alone, I made some pretty wonderful friends that year.

Now I’m 22, still living at home and I feel riddled with insecurity. I’m embarrassed to be seen in public, I try not to be noticed, when I do get out and socialize, I’m awkward, nervous and my words get jumbled up.

I’ve been dieting since primary school and in spite of all my good and bad choices I’ve only ever gained weight. I’m a size 12 now. I don’t wear clothes that show my figure or skin above my fore arm or even my legs. That is something that has gotten worse in the last year. I used to at the very least wear dresses. It was over 40 degrees yesterday and I couldn’t take off my jumper because I didn’t want people to notice me. I don’t go swimming anymore and I tend to avoid parties. I have the most wonderful friends in the world but I find it hard to get close to them, or to feel entirely comfortable around them.

I study Architecture at university. Its a grueling course that requires me to present my work to people who will exploit my weaknesses. I should be getting stronger and developing a thicker skin shouldn’t I? Instead I feel like my confidence in presenting is getting worse. I’ve developed a stutter and I always go blank.

I’m scared that I’m spiraling, I’ve researched psychologists but the ones I’ve found are expensive and I’m worried someone will find out. I don’t wont to be the girl with “emotional baggage”, but I don’t want to be completely shut out either. This is all I think about now.

I’m sure I’ll work it out but if you have read this, thanks, and I wish you so much happiness and healing on your own journey. God bless.

A Sister: A Story

I would just like to start off by saying I am majorly, supremely, unbelievably fucked up. Now that that’s understood, I always got what I wanted. Since the time I could walk, I could manipulate people. I’ve always understood thought processes and emotions, and I guess that paired with the fact that I had a natural talent for bribery and puppy dog faces resulted in a little girl who didn’t know the meaning of the word “no”. I did know pain, though.

My parents divorced when I was two, and I grew up spending 50% of the time with an extremely abusive (emotionally and verbally but NOT physically) mother, until I was 12 and realized I’d had enough. I cut her out of my life and have seen her very few times since. You see, I did what I wanted. I got what I wanted. I didn’t mean for the lie to become so huge. It started one day in science class, my friend and I were comparing problems and fighting over who had it worst, as preteen girls tend to do. Well, the problem with emotional abuse is that even though it hurts, it doesn’t hold a lot of punch on paper. My friend didn’t believe that I had it bad (but believe me, I DID), so I did what many girls would have done: I lied. I said that she hit me, my mom, and my stepdad too. I justified it to myself in that it wasn’t far from the truth, the things they did to me hurt as much as punches, after all. And after that, my friend comforted me, pitied me, and never questioned my pain again. I got what I wanted.

After I realized that all I had to do to get affection was stretch the truth, I did it with everyone. I never saw it as a problem, justifying it as I explained before, until one day I met a girl and I took it way too far. The Sister, as I’ll call her, was someone I met who soon became the most important person in my life for two years. Unfortunately, she was one of the people to whom I told the lie. In later years, I often wished I could take it back, and wondered if anything would have been different if I had. Would I have gotten what I wanted? The Sister came in to my life when I was in the deepest pit of my self-inflicted depression from the situation with my mother. You see, I had become addicted to the affection I was receiving, and had spiraled out of control creating more reasons for people to pity me. The Sister came and “fixed” me, helped me to stop cutting myself (a habit I had taken up), and even mostly out of my depression (at the time I didn’t realize that’s what it was).

In the next few years we became inseparable, talking every day. She was ten years older and I saw her as a mother, a sister, and a best friend. I considered her opinion fact on everything, and consulted her on every event that took place in my life, not once stopping to think that maybe a 23 year old wasn’t on a place to mother a preteen/teenage girl, because hey, I got what I wanted. That’s all that mattered. And now the story gets interesting… I’m not at liberty to share her secrets, but The Sister had a lot of “problems” of her own she was dealing with, and as I grew up I started becoming a moody teenager, and took it out on the parent I depended on most: her. Needless to say, the combination of both of these factors and the fact that we were both drama queens, led to a very unhealthy relationship. Not just unhealthy. Toxic. I won’t go into the details because it still hurts too much, but I’m sure you can imagine the fights, the codependency, the stalking.

I didn’t know what to do, I was losing the person that mattered most to me on the whole world, and I tried every kind of abuse to force her to stay with me. I had to get what I wanted. And then, one day, after years of getting everything my heart desired, I didn’t. She found out that I had lied to her, and she gave up. Obviously, that wasn’t the only reason, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like now if our relationship hadnt been formed on a lie.

Of course, it left me all kinds of broken when she ended our friendship (I phrase it as “one day” but really it was quite a messy process), but in the end I’m thankful. Because that’s when my story begins. For a few months, everything was black. For those of you who have read the Twilight Saga, it was like the part in New Moon where every page was a month. Time flew and I felt nothing; there goes November, December, January. I did a lot of stupid things to try to make myself feel, things like drinking, drugs, and stealing. Needless to say, the only results this gave me were being grounded more often than not. But then, in about February, or March (it’s kind of a blur…), I started to heal. With the help of my friends, and family (both amazing, wonderful people whom I am blessed to have in my life), I started to build my own person. The Sister had made up my character, choices, and opinions before, and now I was left with nothing.

It’s still an ongoing process, reforming my whole person, but I’m proud of myself so far (especially my kickass style). I haven’t talked to her yet, The Sister. I hear bits and pieces about her sometimes. Usually those days aren’t very good. But luckily I’m now at the point where I can wish her the best. I don’t know what life holds for us, in terms of a relationship. I know it’s not just up to her, or me, it’s up to God. I know there’s a lot of things we’re going to have to talk about one day, but I know that day won’t come for years (if not just because we’re not ready, but also that I’m not allowed to talk to her until I’m 18). In a perfect world, after that day, when we’re both older and independent, we’ll be able to begin some sort of….civility, and maybe eventually a friendship. But if not, she’ll always be My Sister. I’m not sure why I wrote this. Maybe in hopes that she’ll read it (she introduced me to this site), maybe in hopes that it’ll help me move on. Maybe so that someone out there can relate to the loss I went through. Just kidding. That’s a total lie. I’m just hoping she’ll read it. I love you, Sister. I really do.