Monday, May 7, 2012

One Step Forward Two Steps Back?

Hi Everyone - I'm sorry I have been absent from the blog for so long. I've had a rough two days and so I thought I'd share my state of mind with you all. My wife is away - she returns today - and yesterday I was supposed to make a relatively short drive to help a friend with some recycling. However, I was only a short way into the drive - into an area I had never been -- and I started feeling anxious and so I turned around. Of course, then I spent the rest of the day worrying about how to "fix" the problem I had created by not completing my drive. I did eventually get that taken care of but I still feel bad about it. Today I am supposed to drive to the airport -- about a 20 minute drive in no traffic, longer - much longer - if there is traffic -- to pick up my wife. I don't have to leave for another 4 hours or so but I'm already feeling anxious and I just left a VM for my wife telling her I wouldn't be able to make it. Now I feel almost sick to my stomach worrying about her getting my messages and sure that she'll be upset with me and hoping she checks her VM and doesn't stand around the airport waiting for me. I feel like I haven't had to really "deal" with my anxiety and so I had the false impression that I was doing better but yesterday and today have made me realize that I'm not doing better.. but the trouble is I'm not sure how to move forward and work through some of this anxiety.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation (All I've Ever Wanted)

Pam and I have just come back from a wonderful two weeks of vacation. Getting out of the city and back to the "country" life on Long Island was ideal for me and my current state of mind / state of anxiety. And making it all the more wonderful was coming back to Brooklyn to a new job that is ALSO in Brooklyn meaning I can walk or ride my bike to work! SCORE!

We ended up being out of town for the better part of two weeks, one week due to Hurricane (Tropical Storm) Irene and the other week being a scheduled week off between jobs. All in all it was just what the "doctor" ordered as far as some low stress down time for all of us - Pam, myself and our doggy who also has anxiety issues.

I'm happy to be back in Brooklyn and thrilled about my new job that not only allows me to walk or bike to work but in which I'm learning multiple new skills -- Android and iOS app development!

Due to the two weeks away - again, one unexpected because of the weather and one scheduled, I did not see my therapist for two weeks. However, given my mental state during that time away I think I was okay with missing some therapy sessions.

Of course, once I got back to "the grind" I started having weird dreams about my brother and having altercations with him.I'm sure this is due both to my sometimes acrimonious relationship with my brother as well as my mostly always acrimonious relationship with my brother-in-law, but I won't go into the details of either of those unhealthy relationships here!

I'll be turning 40 soon and I'm in a period of mixed emotions about that. My new job is awesome and on some level feels like a post-college-graduate kind of situation, and yet I'm realize I'm 40 and I have responsibilities -- a mortgage,  a wife, a "child" (okay, a dog) but never the less it's a lot too think about..

But I guess I'm looking forward to whatever kind of party my wife has planned for me and willing to except that you only get older, you can't go backwards and get younger.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anxiety or Health Issue?

Recently I have had some episodes of what feels like maybe anxiety but what might also be something more serious. Basically, what is happening is I wake up with what I can only describe as a "fluttering" feeling my my chest, almost as if I'd had too much sugar or caffeine  However, since I'm just waking up in the morning I know its not from too much sugar or caffeine. Anyway, along with this feeling in my chest is some nausea and feeling hot and/or sweating - even after taking a shower.

The first time it happened was about a week ago and that day was the morning I was going to give notice at work (I got a new job, more about that later). Anyway, I tried to just let it go and started off on my way to work but the feelings continued and so I took an anxiety med. The med helped a little but not enough and made me tired so I ended up calling in sick to work.

These feelings happened again this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday morning. On Saturday I was up earlier than I normally would be on a Saturday because I was playing in a touch football tournament. Again, I chalked it up to anxiety because my wife was away and I was driving with a friend to the event. But my friend knows about my anxiety and so I pressed on.

Sunday morning though I felt it again -- less so than the previous two times, but still on some level. I had slept in on Sunday and had no reason to be feeling any kind of anxiety so I started to get a little concerned. I did some research on my symptoms and found that they could be associated with an arrhythmia.

Now, it should be noted that I was diagnosed as having a slow heart beat when I was young and have had one my entire life. One type of arrhythmia is a slow heart rate. Additionally, these kind of feelings can be caused by anxiety; however, these kind of heart issues can also cause anxiety so its a chicken or the egg kind of thing.

I'm planning to go see a cardiologist and will report back his/her findings.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dream Log

In therapy yesterday I told me therapist about strange dreams that I have had over the past two weeks. (She was on vacation last week so it had been two weeks since I last saw her.) Her feeling was that my psyche is trying to work out a lot of issues that I have conflicting emotions about and so that explains some of my dreams.

I've decided that I'm going to try to write more regularly on this blog and part of that is going to be chronicling dreams that I think are of interest as far as my anxiety.

So on to last nights dream.. I was in the town I grew up in and, as is the case in many of my dreams, I was having difficulty with my legs. Basically, they felt tired and heavy and I was able to walk but not very quickly - or what would be consider a normal pace. I was also leaning forward as if to use my upper body to help push myself forward. I then went into a place to get food - it was a buffet type place, similar to where I often eat lunch when I am at work. In the dream the buffet place had a seating area and that is where the cash register was also, but they were closing up the seating area so I was trying to finishing pick my food quickly so I could get in to pay for it. However, the dinning room / register closed before I got there. And because I was rushing I some how wound up with two plastic containers - one inside the other. So I exit the buffet area and figure I guess I don't have to pay for my food since the register is closed and so I start to leave. Then I pass these three girls I went to grade school with - they are sisters - and their Dad is with them but he is in a wheelchair. Now what was weird was that they were all still young in the dream - as when we went to grade school - but their Dad was older, and as I mentioned in a wheel chair. I said brief hello's to them and then continued out the door but then I realized that the plastic container I was carrying was empty -- and I only had one, not the one inside the other one. It was as if I had dropped the container with the food in it. So I went back into the food place - and again my legs were tired and heavy so I could not move very quickly - and as I walked in I saw my food container on the floor and a janitor guy was about the sweep it up and throw it out. I called out to him to stop but before I could get his attention he hit it with his mop and it flipped over and all the food spilled out. Then I woke up..

I'm not sure how interested any of you will be in my dreams but I want to post them to my blog so I have a record of them and I can share them with my therapist later.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I've finally signed up again for the mindfulness and meditation workshop that I blew off earlier this year. It starts on September 14th and runs 8 weeks. The classes are 7:00-9:00pm so it will be a total of 16 hours.

On Tuesday when I got to my therapy session I am planning to work with my therapist to semi-induce an anxiety attack and then talk through what I'm feeling, etc. with my therapist. I read an interesting article on the Psychology Today website about this approach ( The idea being that when an anxiety attack comes on rather than trying to get out of the situation and stop the anxiety, you "turn into" the anxiety and try to deal with it head on.

I'm excited but also nervous about doing this. However, Pam will be home so I will have her to help me post-therapy session if I'm still in an anxious state when I get home.

Friday, July 8, 2011

End of Day 2

I spoke to my boss over the phone today and he was very understanding and supportive of my anxiety issues which was a nice relief. My old boss knew about my issues but I don't believe he had let anyone know so when he changed positions and I started reporting to the new boss I wasn't sure who knew what.

I still feel bad about not getting to the office, and I realize that I have to be at the office for meetings, etc. unless its a pre-arranged "work from home" day. I get more stressed from the potential repercussions of the anxiety.

It is ironic that I would feel more comfortable if I had the car to drive too and from work since my anxiety started out as a driving anxiety. I guess I could consider my anxiety "travel" anxiety.. Getting from here to there is stressful.. Crowded buses or subways, traffic, planes.. even elevators (although not so much recently). Basically if it moves me from point A to point B it causes me anxiety.

I wonder why that is? I should talk to my therapist about that more. I had always thought it was the fear of feeling trapped -- or not in control. Hmmm.

So I ended up having a productive day work wise and then I watched some TV and the start of the Mets game (they are playing on the west coast so it was a late start.) But now its 11:05pm and I'm a bit wired. I know if I try to go to sleep I'll just toss and turn and so I'm sitting at my computer writing this blog post, trying to decide what to do next.

Anxiety, Day 2

I'm working from home again today.. Even though I really should have gone to the office. I had borrowed a friends iPad and he is leaving today (he lives in Virginia) so now I have to mail it back to him. My boss is also coming to the office today and wants to chat about the next phase of a project I've been working on. I sent him an e-mail and told him about my anxiety. So now that's out there.

I'm not sure whats going on with me these days. I made sure I got a good nights sleep last night -- well made as "sure" as I could. I went to bed early, etc. I felt like I slept okay, although I did have this strange dream. In the dream I had apparently been in a car accident -- I was hit head on and then another car hit me from behind and flipped the car. I apparently ended up being in a coma for a few months. I know this because when I woke up (in the dream) baseball season was over and football season was on. Then people told me about the accident, etc.

I woke up with a headache on the right side of my head too. Normally, when I have sinus issues I'll get a headache on the left side of my head so having it on the right was odd. It almost felt like a hangover but all I drank last night was ginger ale.

The other "pressing" reason to go to the office today - or at least into the city - is to pick up my prescription refill since I took my last pills Thursday night. I think I'll be okay for a few days without them. I am going to encourage my wife to come home early on Sunday so she can drive me into NYC to pick up my meds.

Thats the other thing about the anxiety -- I've been driving myself to work but when Pam is away with the car I don't have that option. In theory being in a cab should feel the same as driving myself, but it doesn't. I don't have the same amount of control when someone else is driving.

I'm really not sure how to proceed from here as far as my therapy, my meds, etc.

I so fear having an anxiety attack that I get anxious thinking about it that it prevents me from even trying. I guess if I could find some way of inducing a panic attack in a controlled environmental I could learn how to cope with them and then the anticipation of having one wouldn't be so bad.