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Worsened Anxiety, In Better Times?

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I am struggling with something I used to really resent my mother for doing.  I never understood it until now, and I want very badly to get control of it.  If anyone has insight or thinks I'm looking at this wrong, PLEASE let me know.  I don't want to read too much into the situation, but I DO want to try to help myself.

I always have anxiety to some extent.  There is always something to worry about.  Little or big, important or not.  Worrying occupies my mind.  It doesn't always bring me down.  It just distracts me.  Sometimes I get waves of anxiety that are not comfortable.  They sometimes go with an important situation I need to worry about, or a very sad unresolved situation/relationship.  But usually, it's a mild type of anxiety and I go with the flow.

Lately my life has fallen into place in many ways.  I feel competent as a caregiver of a teenager, for the first time since she's lived with me.  I think I am actually going to make a positive difference in her life by doing things right.  I enjoy my job and know I am wanted and valued.  I've felt that before in other jobs, but in this one unlike the others, it's been "enough".  I'm making positive progress with my family and friends, though I continue to isolate myself some, I make efforts in baby steps rather in the past extremes (completely shutting people out or always being with others).  I believe I'm going about it the right way, for once.  I'm back in college and getting good grades.  It's been simple.  The classes are so easy for me.  I don't stress over getting perfect grades but I get good grades anyway. 

And instead of easing up, my anxiety has increased to unbelieavably distressing levels that have threatened my job, my ability to be a good caregiver, and make it difficult for me to continue to progress with my relationships.  WHY???  I NEVER wanted to be that person who was doing fine and decided to MAKE problems, just to MAKE problems.  But that's what it feels like!  I have no reason to be more anxious!  My life is going RIGHT!  I'm making good decisions and I want to feel good about myself.

I just don't understand this.  My counselor seemed to think I had added stress but I really think it's the other way around. I have so much that I've wanted and I'm making gains in my life that I never did before.  That doesn't stress me out.  It's like I'm afraid to be happy.  That my subconscious doesn't WANT me to be happy.  I feel like I'm out to get myself. 

Am I missing something?  I swear to god, the job and school and everything, has been such a good thing for me.  Two years ago I was aimless, three years ago I was in the middle of a terrible family situation, five years ago I was making stupid choices that could have caused a lot of trouble.  NOW I am doing the right things and doing them WELL.  But it's all being threatened by anxiety, and for the first time ever I've had panic attacks.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't think its unusual to feel anxious when things seem to be going well. Sometimes my worst days are those sunny perfect days.  Its a pressure we put on ourselves that everything is "supposed "to be  perfect- it never is even if it looks like it.  I've read lists of some of the biggest stressors in life and many of them are " good" things- like marriage, a move, new job , new baby etc.

also- you say things were pretty bad a few years ago. Even though you've improved your day to day functioning and satisfaction- all those old feelings, problems, memories are still in there somewhere. Part of you may now be calm enough to feel the anxiety of those things. many say the best work in therapy can be done when you are out of crisis.

maybe its scary to acknowledge the feelings with the anxiety for fear it will mess up how good things are now.  if you pay attention talk to counselor- myabe things can continue in such a positive direction you'r clearly headed in- but it still can be one step forward twwo steps back.

good luck!

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  I also suffer from what you are describing. I didn't know I had GAD, which is what you are talking about, and it hit me AFTER a long period of stress.

  It's funny stuff. You know how they say that you get hit with the reality after a situation occurs? This sounds like what happened to me. My husband had a major breakdown that lasted for three years. I did fine during that time, but afterwards, all these symptoms of my GAD came out.

  I would look into a good p-doc and get some meds for awhile, and then also someone to talk with. This is "liveable" and you are living life ok. Just the worry thing. A good therapist can really help you. It has me.


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I know what you mean - exactly! It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I guess part of us knows that even when things are going smoothly, there will be other stressful times. And deeper - maybe the anxiety is related to whether or not we feel we really DESERVE good times (at least in my case, this is something I'm exploring).

On the one hand, I guess I'm almost afraid to let myself enjoy the good times - I know they don't last. But on the other hand, I've practically made it impossible for myself to enjoy things - my mind brings up all the crap I "need to do" or things I should be worrying about. Almost like worrying is a useful activity that will make things better or keep bad things from happening, ya know?

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Guest billycat

Wackydog It is exctly the same way for me.  I am always suspicios of something

that goes good. I know that shoe will drop. It's weird Ikeep pressing forward and the next shoe always drops just when I finaly think I'm past the point .

This of course only adds to the depression. and panic attacks.

Ahalo It sounds like you have made some very positive things happen in your life.

That's so wonderful to hear that someone can get back to feeling good...don't take it for granted and continue to put effort into yourself and focus on the good not what migt happen, I'm sure that it is very scary....      I hope the good things in your life will be support and encouragement.    If you feel that some of this is causing anxiety it is possible that that your ARE just being cautious. And I don't

think there is anything wrong with taking something for the anxiety while you continue to make progress. WE are fragile and yes you do have to walk before you can run.  I wish you continued succes.

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i relate to this as well.  *sigh*

with great therapy and meds, my anxieties have gotten better overall. BUT it's also like there's some free-floating anxiety (pre-trauma-phobia?) that feels like it needs to stick somewhere (lately it manifests in OCD ways).

i don't know the answer but for me i'll continue therapy and am considering a possible med adjustment.

but i did want to chime in and let y'all know you're not alone.


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i think maybe there are several issues...

one, fear is a hard thing to let go of, and something i think is tied to anxiety.

i've always viewed fear of failure and fear of success as linked in many ways.

now that you have things in place and so many possibilites open to you, maybe you're scared of loosing it all, now that you have things you are proud of? 

i don't have a magic answer for why you are having increased anxiety.  However, while i don't agree that it's from stress from work.  Now that you've acheived so many goals, there is extra pressure in the form of fear that you will not continue to advance/loose what you have acheived.  If this is the case, then a lot of it comes down to recognizing how far you've come, and beleiveing in yourself.  which is easier said that done.

i'm sorry if i'm totally off the mark on this.

i wish i had a more complete answer.  that's amazing that you are doing well on so many of your goals.  you should be incredibly proud of yourself for that.

please keep us updated on what's going on?


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I have this too,..like someone else mentioned,..GAD.  At least that is what I am diagnosed with.

I also have read that the reason this happens (among others) is the same principal behind why you always get sick on the weekend or AFTER taking the test you studied so hard for.  It's like your adrenaline pushes you thru the difficult situation,..at the time you really don't have the time or resources to worry about the problem.  You are just too busy trying to fix it,..but after it is finially fixed,..you are making good decisions and doing well,..then you feel all the anxiety you supressed while going thru the difficult situation(s).

Like I said before,..alot else goes into it,..or so I think.  But this is part of what I believe is behind it.

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