The grass is greener on the other side!

by Holly
(St. Clair Shores, MI USA)

I can remember as far back as a little child, waking up every night wondering where my father was. I was so young that I just figured that he was at work. One day he was there and he wasn't happy. He was fighting with my mother and I remember him telling my sister and I that we had one minute to decide who we wanted to live with, him or our mother. I think at that time it was the best decision, but now looking back I'm not so sure. My mother wasn't very dependent. She definitely didn't know how to raise two children on her own nor do I think that she was capable of doing so. Life was alright I guess, I remember being happy most of the time. The only time I would get upset is if my mom rejected me when I wanted to come and visit or didn't show up. My father had so much anger inside towards her he couldn't even talk on the phone with her without getting upset. The problem here was that he let his anger be known to us. If we did go and visit her and we happened to bring something home he would freak out and break it and throw it in the trash. Can you imagine how devistated you'd be at 5 years old experiencing this? I believe that this is where it all began. He managed to plant those negative seeds of insecurity and low self esteem that would soon blossom into a life of depression and struggling as life went on. I didn't have that good of a childhood from 9 years on. My father met somebody that he would soon marry and that's when everything started to surface. She wasn't much of a motherly type, she didn't even want children, not even her own son. From day one it seemed that her goal was to turn our father against her with the simple little comments to us "who's your father going to believe? You or me?" I don't want to get too much into my childhood, for I just wanted to give an example to what lead to the struggles that I have today. The hard part was going from having a father all to yourself to not having him at all because all of his attention was now focused on his new found love and he was unable to be there for us emotionally at this point. We were locked up in these homes until about 16 years old then we were kicked out of the house to fend for ourselves. She just didn't want children and my father had tunnle vision as the old saying goes "blinded by love". He was unable to see the truth until 2004 when he filed for a divorce. The damage was already done. The first time that I experienced anxiety was in 1999. I was living with my boyfriend and his family at this time. I remember waking up one day and I thought that I had lost my mind, my heart was beating so hard I thought that it was going to jump out of my chest, I couldn't breath. I didn't know what was happening to me. I went to the doctor and he really didn't tell me what it was, he just prescribed me something to slow my heart rate down. Remember, here I am at 19 years old and I'm taking heart medication. My heart still racing, insomnia, panic attacks, counting my breaths thinking I was going to skip one, etc. I just wanted answers. A couple of days later I contacted another family doctor because the medication was causing me to have chest pain. This is the day that I learned that I was suffering from chronic anxiety. He reffered me to a psychiatrist to help me understand what was happening to me. Like all psychiatrists it seems that the only thing they want to do is put you on medication. That's they're job anyways. I was put on prozac and xanax to help me. It didn't really help. As hard as it was to make it through the days it was the nights that really got me. Every night when I would lay down it felt like I was flying in circles as if I were on a rollar coaster and I felt as if I was falling through the floor. Very uncomftorable. Months and months passed and there was no relief to anything. My heart was still pounding, my mind still racing, my palms sweating, depression... I had enough, there had to be an answer to this. I have been suffering with this for 9 months non-stop and I was ready to get better. I went to the bookstore and purchased a self help book called "Attacking Anxiety and Depression". When I told my psychiatrist that I was going to stop the meds and apply this self help method, he told me that he thought that it was a bad idea and this wouldn't help with the problem. One night I was going to bed and I applied this one technique that I read about, it was when you start to panic and your mind starts to raise just let the thought pass. I did and it was amazing, my anxiety blew away like a bunch of leaves in the wind. I had my life back basically overnight. The mind is a powerful thing, but this isn't the end to my story. My anxiety came back in 2002 but this time in a different form. I was going through a really abusive relationship and it triggered everything once again. This time I was experiencing minor agoraphobia. After that relationship because I was so torn down I never learned or tried to learn how to overcome this. I've been walking through life depressed, helpless, victimizing myself, etc. I use to face my fears and it would help a bit, but the only thing that happened was that my safe places would just expand a bit, but there were always new bounderies that were set. In 2006 again I would learn to overcome one of the scariest depressions I have ever been through. I was prescribed z-pac for a sinus infection and something in it triggered a bad reaction. I felt angry, suicidal, like I was going to lose control of my mind and body. I was not even comftorable in my own skin. I had to admit myself into the hospital with no avail. I thought I was going to once again get some sort of answers to why I was feeling this way. They only wanted to medicate me. I struggled with this for about a month and I mustered enough strength to jog. Once again within a week my thoughts slowed down and the obsessive scary thoughts were gone. Now at age 30 I have been put in a stressful situation and I'm experiencing major depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and intrusive scary thoughts. It's hard to realize that the grass is always greener on the other side when you're stuck in such a dark place. I just try to hold on and have faith and remember what I've conquered in life but it's hard. I really don't have much support. Actually I have none. My children and God are what keep me holding on. I've learned through the years that my father is emotionally unavailable. It's hard not to have someone helping you through these hard times and help you come back to reality. Let's just pray for eachother that we will make it through this together. God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen

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