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Warning: Long post

I'm 42 now, and thinking back I started having horrible anxiety when I was 19. My husband-to-be would go out drinking and not come home till well after the bars were closed, and I would be at home worrying and anxious about his whereabouts. It seems stupid to me now that I got so worried, but I really did work myself into a nervous fit those nights. (He never did stop doing that, and eventually I divorced him although for many other reasons)

The first time my anxiety became a problem such that I knew I needed help was after I went sailing. When I was 16 I went sailing for the very first time in a small boat in San Francisco Bay. We capsized and were rescued by the Coast Guard. I was not affected by it at all at the time. Then, six years later, I went sailing again on the Bay, expecting to enjoy myself. Wrong. I was terrified that the boat would capsize. I was panicking. Immediately I started having panic attacks on the subway, driving over bridges, flying (oh yeah, around that time I had flown to Hawaii and the flights were so turbulent that people were throwing up and nobody got food etc.), going to the grocery store. I had to make huge changes in my lifestyle to avoid all those things, so I did some reading on stress and relaxation techniques and desensitization etc., stopped drinking coffee, and over about a year-long period the panic attacks stopped.

Over the years I've had anxiety issues. It seems to come and go for me, although this latest bout is the worst (maybe it always feels like the worst because the feeling really sucks, doesn't it).

My fear of flying persisted, though, and I had a job that required travel, so my psch MD, whom I saw for depression, gave me a very small amount of Clonopin for when I needed to fly.

Several years ago I was going through a horrible divorce and my anxiety became such that I couldn't function to the level I needed to take care of my kids and work, so my Doc increased my Clonopin and put me on Elavil at night, which is an older antidepressant. The elavil made it so that I didn't wake up in the morning with anxiety attacks. That combo worked well, the divorce finally was over, and my anxiety subsided.

This bout, though, started about a year ago. It's been a horrible year. My father died suddenly in an accident in Thailand. I left my job because they were so horrible about my leaving to take care of that. I moved to a new location for what I thought was a better job, only to find myself in a very hostile work environment, so hostile in fact, that I filed a complaint against the company. I went out on stress leave last November. I have been looking for a job since November and have found nothing that I feel I can do, given my anxiety and social issues, so I'm very anxious about my lack of work, and money.

A bunch of other bad things have happened this past year, enough that it is understandable that I'm a nervous wreck. But that doesn't make it any easier. I'm anxious from morning till night, unless I take Clonopin which makes me tired and lazy, so I don't get done the things that need to be done, thereby exacerbating my anxiety and depression. It's a vicious circle and I await the day it ends.

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