My Anxiety History
Anxiety has haunted me since childhood. It was not until my fifties that I began to learn how to manage my anxiety disorder in such a way that I could experience life with peace, joy and no guilt. I began listening to motivational speakers on cassette tapes in the 1980’s. Marianne Williamson made the first impression on me in “Return to Love”. Her message gave me hope. It was in 1980, that anxiety disorders were officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. It was in the mid 1990’s I was officially diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder. I continuously went to the doctor complaining of rapid heartbeat and skipping heart rate. Every time my heart tests came back normal. In 1990, drugs known as antidepressants were found to increase the dopamine and serotonin, the “happy” chemicals the brain makes. My doctor prescribed these miracle pills for me.
In the 1990’s, anxiety disorder treatments were still new and included non-structured counseling and trying different antidepressant prescriptions to see which one worked best. None of these treatments made me feel like I was getting better. My regiment was to take antidepressants in the morning, Xanax (a sedative and muscle relaxant) in the afternoon, attend counseling or group therapy and on the way home I would stop and buy a 12 pack of beer to calm the raging anxiety chemicals pulsing through my body. The idea was just enough to go to sleep, about 8 to 10 beers. I did not drink every night, but I drank many nights. One problem with me drinking is that I stopped feeling the raging anxiety but my family and friends then got the full impact. I was a black out drunk dialer and would call people all hours and complain about everything.
Looking for Relief
In my mind, I felt unloved, unworthy, hopeless, not smart, lacking social skills and incapable of any kind of follow through on any goals or dreams. These feelings brought about guilt, shame, and a feeling that somehow, I had to find a way to prove to the world that I had a right to be here. There were many times that I wished I was no longer living or that I had not been born, however, I never was truly suicidal but I never lost my faith in God and I don’t remember ever blaming God for my anxiety disorder. Many nights I prayed for help to find a way to get through this pain and find some kind of peace. I continued to listen to motivational speakers discovering Zig Ziglar, Joyce Meyers and Joel Osteen. I purchased countless books and audio tapes.
It was the year 2004 and I was at my wits end, as they say in Texas. I had gone through alcohol rehab, even though I was never physically addicted. I would have tried anything that would help me quiet the raging chemicals that filled my body. At Sacred Heart, I learned about serenity and accepting what I could not change. I learned about holding on to my faith with every ounce of my being. I learned that Delisa is a pretty great person with much love in her heart to share along with passion and intelligence to make a difference in this world. Somehow, I knew that I was going to be all right. After leaving Sacred Heart, I got my own apartment and lived alone for the first time in my life. I worked and came home to my black lab, Captain.
Finding my Direction
Somehow, I knew that the only way I was going to find my way out of anxiety disorder madness, was to get quiet. I did not date, I did not drink at the bars, I did not meet friends for dinner – my life was working and staying home. My focus was on finding out who I was and what I liked. I remembered Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride with all the eggs not knowing what kind of eggs she liked. Her favorite kind of egg was always the kind of egg that the man she was with at the time liked. I was like that. I spent two years by myself with Captain and I learned all kinds of things about myself including cooking and crafts. Finally, it was time to venture out and the first person I met was my now wonderful husband, Larry.
When I met Larry, I was in no way managing my anxiety disorder. I had, however, gotten rid of the guilt and hopelessness. Armed with the patience Larry was teaching me, a structured lifestyle and knowing God was taking me through my recovery, I began to manage this crazy disorder. The right people came into my life at the right times. The right opportunities showed up at the perfect time. I know now that these were Divine appointments God made for me. One day, I met a woman who encouraged me to share my story and become a certified coach to help others learn to manage their anxiety. I am here for you if you need support, guidance or just someone to listen to your story. Join me on my Facebook group, Healthy Evolutions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me. Find your direction. Many years, my friend, many years.