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I always read other peoples' stories but never write my own.

My anxiety started when I was 13, but I was really ok with it until college. I had a rough adolescence; parents who were never home but expected perfection....growing up in a tiny rural area where EVERYONE drank. Abusive boyfriends, etc. etc. Whatever. That wasn't my problem. I really coped quite well and was psyched when I could move far away to go to college. I learned very early to be able to handle high stress, but I always distanced myself from people so as to not get hurt. Breaking that distance and opening myself up is what doomed me.

I fell madly in love with someone in college, and he up and moved back to Europe at the end of one semester, never even telling me -- the next semester, my best friend's boyfriend decided he hated me and made her move out of our dorm room (some friend!) I ended up getting back my then-boyfriend, but it was long distance, and that was a lot of pressure, and he was incredibly verbally abusive (though, I loved him very much, still do, despite what he put me through). My sister dropped out of college that semester, my brother was using cocaine, and it was all sandwiched into the same terrible few-month period. I at least did well in school, which seemed to be the only constant in my life.

I started on Paxil. It helped for awhile, but my doctor never told me I had to wean off it, so my body FLIPPED OUT for weeks when I tried to discontinue use...I've never used another daily medication. I use klonopin when I need it, but that is as far as I will go. I moved off-campus, in with friends, but my anxiety was getting worse. I developed insomnia. I had constant panic attacks. My boyfriend (same one) thought I was cheating on him, while he was visiting, and he lost it and threw my computer out my second-story window. He broke everything I owned. I should've called the cops...but I didn't. Shortly after, his best friend (and a mutual friend of ours) totaled my Xterra in a terrible accident....damn thing flattened another car. This so-called friend jumped ship, never to be heard from again, and I got stuck with $10,000 in insurance payments because he lied to me about having a license. Obviously I have a talent choosing the worst possible people alive to be my closest friends.

I finally moved out of Boston and got my act together. All throughout college, I worked two jobs and paid most of my own way through a private school. I worked really hard and was proud of myself, but I always fell short in my parents' eyes. I guess this never bothered me as much as it should have; ultimately it was my interactions with other people that spawned my anxiety and panic. I never was depressed or had low self confidence or anything....I just had a knack for getting wrapped up with the wrong people and letting it destroy me.

I moved back into the woods, where I am now 100% positive I belong. Sadly I made the stupid decision of moving back to somewhere I had already lived (got an incredible job offer), so I know a lot of people in this crazy place, and everyone knows what a nutcase I was in high school, so it seems impossible for me to start over. Thankfully, I have almost no friends here, which is a step up from having terrible friends. Things are not so different here from when I was in high school: people are mostly on welfare, drunks or drug addicts. Or all three.

I am battling a BAD bout of anxiety now, but overall my life is together. I have a great boyfriend now. I live in a nice apartment. I am not struggling financially. I've watched my brother go to jail, get out, and his life is still horrible. My sister moved far away. My father became an alcoholic. My next move will be much farther away from my parents...but I try not to let other peoples' problems destroy my own life. I have it good now. I can afford to live comfortably and for the first time in my life have a boyfriend and a handful of friends who truly care about me. I feel very fortunate.

I think in August we may be moving to Alaska....somewhere I can really start over and make my own life. My job is stressful, I work incredibly long hours and I just can't wait to start a new life somewhere. I am not a huge fan of the industry I work in, but in terms of what my life used to be (how terrible it used to be) I am doing fine. Having a strict diet, getting plenty of exercise and making time for myself has really helped me through.

I guess this story isn't as emotional as I wanted it to be....I don't really know how to connect with any of this but hopefully it makes sense. If you got this far, congratulations and thanks for reading ;)





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