Monday, June 27, 2011


I've been putting off this post for a while because I was still working on my reaction to some sad news.

I found out that other day that someone I knew had died. He was a doctor - a chiropractor - that I knew because I had been a patient of his from 2003-2006. He was only 35, so I'm older than he is. I guessed that we were around the same age. He was such a good guy. He died of hantavirus..such a rare thing to die from. He left behind a wife and three children.

I was really effected by learning of his death because I read about how he was cleaning the basement of the house he and his wife owned and that the virus he died of probably came from mouse droppings in the basement. When I was his patient I remember him speaking fondly of the "old" house he and his wife had bought. The work they had put into it. His oldest child is five - I remember him telling me about his wife being pregnant and how excited he was about the pending birth of his first child.

He was a great doctor and after almost three years of treatment I stopped seeing him because my back felt better. And it still feels good. I've had other problems with my upper back and I've moved from one place to another and so I see a different chiropractor when I need too. But the problems he helped me with - my lower back - I had suffered with off and on for almost 8 years before I found him. He treated me, and after 8 years of suffering he "cured" me. It took almost 3 years but he did it and I felt great. And now he is gone.

I was almost sick to my stomach when I read the story about him. It was "news" because it was such an unusual way for someone to die. But it should have been news because this young man, only 35 years old, died. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, it should be brought to the attention of the general public. Good people shouldn't die.. but they do. I know that there are many brave and heroic men and women who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan or who died in countless other wars, and I know that often their deaths go unnoticed or unaccounted for by the general public. And those deaths are no less important, but this death, really struck me. Maybe because I knew him, maybe because we had a lot in common -- our age, our attempts to start our own businesses, other things.

I'm so sad thinking about him being gone, and that doesn't even include when I think about the wife and children he left behind.

And I guess on some level, this sad story helps me put things in perspective too. I have my anxiety, I worry about getting stuck on a subway or an elevator, but the reality of this sad news makes me realize that my life is pretty good, and being stuck in some scarey place, for minutes or even hours, doesn't compare to the pain his famiyl must feel.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I saw a new psychiatrist last week and I like him. The reason I switched was because my company's insurance changed and my old psychiatrist wasn't on the new plan. Plus, she was basically just a pill dispenser - I started seeing her when I first moved to Brooklyn and wanted to continue on the same meds I had been on and I never did any real "talk" therapy with her.

The new psychiatrist , Dr. B, was referred to me by my new(ish) weekly talk therapist, C. I guess C is a clinical social worker but she may be a psychologist. I'm not really sure the difference.

Anyway, I like Dr. B. I had to fill out all sorts of paper work before I saw him and I included in that the multi page document I had written about my history of anxiety. Of course, he hadn't read it when I first saw him, but that was okay as we covered the highlights in our session.

So for now he decided to keep me on my "regular" meds, Paxil CR 75mg a day -- which he said was a very high dose, but I knew that. But he also prescribed me new meds - beta blockers - which are used for people with high blood pressure. The theory is that the new meds will help reduce the my body's normal fight or flight response and so I should feel less anxious. He told me to take one about 30 minutes before I want to visit the subway. Of course, he told me to take a test pill first to make sure I wasn't the one in a million person who ended up passing out from it! 

The whole thing with "visiting" the subway was C's idea. Basically she wants me to slowly get back into being comfortable in the subway, first by just hanging out on the platform and then eventually going at least one stop, and then two, three, etc. So far I've had "bad" experiences because I get anxious just being in the subway station, even though I know I'm not going to get on the train. So Dr. B thinks the new meds will help me with that general anxiety and help me to evolve into getting on the subway again some day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Anticipatory Anxiety

I'm supposed to meet some friends in NYC around 7pm tonight for karaoke. I'm meeting up with people I played touch football with and the get together was actually my idea. However, I'm feeling a bit anxious about the whole thing. I believe the anxiety is mostly because Pam is on Long Island at her Mom's as opposed to here in Brooklyn with me. Even if Pam were here she most likely would not be joining me at karaoke but I would feel better for two reasons -- one, she would be here and reachable if I "needed" her and two, I could drive. 

Of course, she is still reachable - she has her cell and I can call her. I can also can any of the many others who know about my anxiety and have offered to "be there" for me. But I think having her physically here would make me feel better before leaving.

And driving would be nice on one level but on the other hand, if I don't drive I can have a cocktail or two and not worry about the effects of the alcohol as I would have to worry if I drove.

I know myself well enough to know that this anxiety is not new or unusual and that once I get to the bar and meet up with my friends I'll most likely be fine. However, I am considering taking a med before I leave our apartment. And speaking of meds - I need to do another blog post about the new psychiatrist I started seeing and the meds he put me on.