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Thread: Good morning from Texas

  1. #1

    Good morning from Texas

    Hello everyone... I've suffered from anxiety and panic pretty much all my life. I didn't have a name for it until I got seriously into therapy in 1983, when I was around 35. My then-therapist pointed out that a major traumatic hospitalization I had at the age of two was a Really Big Deal. That seems to be the event that set me up for the belief that the world is not a safe place and I am not safe.

    I'm 72, a widow (of 20 years-- we married when I was 40), childless, and also an only child. Both parents deceased and I have no other family. I've been in two relationships since my husband's death. One I broke up because he was an alcoholic. The other man died two years ago. As with my husband, I held his hand as he drew his last breath. We were close friends and intellectual/emotional soulmates, but not romantic.

    The thing that is eating me up lately is sheltering 100% alone, 24/7. I'm an introvert, so I need a certain amount of alone time, but this amount of isolation is killing me. I focus on my thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and I'm consumed with anxiety. I talk to people on the phone, sure, I Zoom-- all of that. It's not enough. I'm not only physically isolated, but when my friends talk to me about how they miss their kids and hugging their grandkids, and Facetiming with them... I'm just filled with helpless envy and frankly, rage. (Yes, I know families are not all idyllic and they have their problems. I get that.)

    I've been in lots of therapy over the last 40 years, have a degree in counseling myself, and have a therapist now (we met in person at first, now we're on the phone). What I'm experiencing is a deep, deep loneliness that was present before the pandemic (mitigated by choir singing, lunch with friends, book club, etc.) but now that I really am alone all the time with no distractions, I'm staring into the abyss-- it feels like all the time. It probably isn't all the time, but it's a lot. This past weekend it was all the time. When the panic is too much, I take .25 mg of xanax. I've been on several different antidepressants over the years, and I really don't want to go back to any of them. For one thing, coming off of an a-d is utterly miserable. I only take xanax a couple of times per week-- I don't want to become dependent and I don't want the *magic* to wear off (i.e., become adapted to it). I do take CBD oil a couple of times a day, this amounts to a daily total of about 50 mg cannabidiol. Does it help? Not sure. Maybe. I've never taken any recreational drugs. I hate the foggy, woozy feeling of being "drugged."

    I do meditate every day, both with a Zoom class (no conversation) and make frequent use of Headspace, Calm, YouTube videos, etc. Thankfully, I'm retired and okay financially. I would not want to trade places with friends who are struggling with work, decisions about the children's schooling, aged parents, and aging, fragile husbands. That's the upside of having no ties.

    I want to be okay with being alone. I want to be okay with ME being alone. I'm not. It feels like a judgment against me, like rejection, abandonment, failure, and loss all rolled up into one. And that feeling sets me up for anxiety, especially health anxiety, where I'm afraid I'm having a heart attack or a stroke and no one will find me or care for me. I've taken care of lots of people. My husband was ill during all of our 10-year marriage (he had a kidney transplant, leg amputation, many other surgeries), my alcoholic boyfriend after him had quad bypass surgery, the most recent man who died had many health issues (one of the reasons he didn't want a romantic relationship and in retrospect, I'm glad as losing him would have been much harder than it was). Before my husband, another boyfriend went on to have a heart transplant, the one after him died of cancer. Health issues scare me...well, to death. There will be no one to care for me or even care if I die, when I get sick. Before COVID we didn't think about people dying alone...

    I can't see a way out of this hole. I don't want to be afraid all the time. I want to feel better, even okay, if possible. When the pandemic eases (not sure it will ever be over), I'll still be all alone... and scared.

    Thanks for reading this far...

    P.S. If you know who "Della Street" is, major points for you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Welcome to No More Panic!

    Hiya DellaStreet and welcome to NMP

    Why not take a look at our articles on our home page, they contain a wealth of information and
    are a great starting place for your time on the forum.

    I hope you find the as site helpful and informative as I have and that you get the help and
    support you need here and hope that you meet a few friends along the way
    Emmz xx

    nolite te basstardes carborundorum

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    It sounds like you are doing everything you can to maintain your sanity. This isolation has taken a toll on many of us, myself included at times. I know that electronic communication is not the same as in-person meetings. It's good that you are reaching out for more support. I think that's really all any of us can do.
    I'm still a work in progress.
    Currently working on: World Domination

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Hey Della,

    Welcome! I'm also from Texas. Dealing with COVID has been really tough. For me, one of my best "coping" tools to deal with anxiety was international travel or travel in general. That has all be put on hold. The feeling of isolation can really get bad. I'm with you on having regular Zoom/calls/Facetime, etc. But somehow that just doesn't cut it.

    Anyway, hopefully this site will offer some helpful info and make you feel better.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Welcome Della - this is a great place to reach out for support, even if it’s not “in person” support. We’re glad to have you here!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Hi Della,
    how incredibly well written. Thanks for sharing. How tough life can be when one is consumed by anxiety. I was pleased to read you meditate. I did plenty of that through my last big anxiety period and I found it gave me some better space in the day. It sounds like you are incredibly isolated without the little pleasures of choir, lunches and book club. With the vaccine on the horizon, I am sure some of these things will be back in the months ahead. For me, just walking to my local coffee shop is a wonderful pleasure which makes me feel more human and normal. I was interested to read about your major hospitalisation at the age of two, it really may account for those feelings, then the trauma of people close to you getting so unwell. How traumatic.

  7. #7

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Thanks, y'all, for these sensitive, welcoming replies. It's good to be around people who get it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Hi Della, fellow introvert here..

    I very much hope we can help you to lose your fear. Failing that, you're in good company and amongst friends. Welcome. X
    I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another. ~ John Lennon

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2020

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Hi Della, welcome & we certainly do get it, we’re all pretty much in the same boat, & Christmas seems to my mind like it just emphasises all the things we maybe put on the back burner the rest of the year. Anyway always here for help & support, take care.

  10. #10

    Re: Good morning from Texas

    Good evening, y'all- I joined this community just before Christmas and then for some reason I breezed through the next month with virtually no anxiety or panic. Alas, that stretch of inner peace has ended with a crash. Yesterday about noon I was stricken with a massive anxiety attack that is still with me. I took .25 mg xanax yesterday evening, but it didn't help all that much. I went to bed and woke up at 3 in a state of terror. Physical terror, the kind (I imagine) you would feel in an airplane that is plunging toward the earth. I sat up watching guided meditations on YouTube for a couple of hours, took another .25 mg of xanax and then went back to bed and slept until 8:30. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day here -- got up into the high 70s, bright blue sky. But I was in this bubble of fear all day with a burning sensation in the middle of my chest. God, I hate feeling this way whenever it happens. I feel so cut off from everything and everyone. For the past month, I had been feeling so "normal." I am so glad for the outcome of the election-- maybe this is just an unwinding from four years of high tension. I dunno. I do know that I dread going to bed. I sometimes think I will just sit up all night alone in the living room with all the lights on so the panic monster can't sneak up on me. But he's already here. How I long for relief from this terror.

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