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Yellowdog's avatar

Has anyone overcome overwhelming anxieties and fears due to life circumstances ?

Asked by Yellowdog (12183points) March 14th, 2017

My fears and anxieties are not unwarranted but I cannot seem to get a grip on them. My problems are only small to moderate compared to others’ problems but still seem insurmountable. As I’ve mentioned before on Fluther, I have extreme difficulties with procrastination. This, of course, is not willful. I do have a disability in this area, but have worked a few all-right jobs before in spite of this.

When I was younger, things didn’t bother me so much, perhaps because I didn’t have such overwhelming financial obligations, and because I was younger, there was hope in the future. Now the future is a source of anxiety.

Here are some things that really paralyze me right now:

—I am 52 years old and pretty much had to start life over after being shot in a robbery five years ago. The thing is, this time I didn’t bounce back. Not out of fear, but lack of finances.

—I became dependent on my parents and have been living on disability for almost two years. I need to be working again but haven’t found anything that pays a living wage. I still have limited abilities which prohibits many of the manual jobs others have relied on.

—I rescued someone from my past from homelessness and still have feelings of anxiety from the times she was homeless and I couldn’t do much to help. Several people pretending to help her have robbed her or taken advantage of her. She wants to get her stuff back but the law just doesn’t seem to really deliver

—My parents don’t like my girlfriend or want to meet her. I am spending most of my money and hers to support her in an apartment. My parents have grown dependent on me for assistance around the house and for transportation.

—My mother is severely crippled from a brain tumor and my father has advanced Parkinsons disease and Bursitis. I feel as if I cannot give him all the time and assistance he needs. He doesn’t seem to have any life left in him.

—I have no financial security whatsoever. I have my parents to fall back on now, but when they’re gone, then nothing.

—The bills seem insurmountable. Services lost really will cause what’s left of life to fall apart. I cannot afford food, rent, meds and bills.

—I have hording issues which I’ve written about in another thread.

—I tend to live in the distant past, but even that has unresolved pain. Nothing like the present.

—I have even had a moderate brush with the law lately. This would shock most people who know me. There will be consequences, but I was actually working for my own survival.

—My own health—well, I’ve basically lived right but I have insulin-resistant diabetes that isn’t getting any better, chronic nerve pain from the gunshot, high blood pressure, am developing heart problems, and have pretty severe ostoperosis.

Yes, I am going to a therapist and I DO believe in counseling and therapy. My Social Security Disability does cover it. But forty minutes to an hour every few weeks doesn’t get one very far. I’m sure others on Fluther have lost everything or suffered major losses—and I am about to loose everything. Or at least a significant portion thereof. Nights and mornings are sheer hell. My feelings even haunt my dreams and that’s the worst of all.

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6 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I can’t say that my situation is like yours, but I have had health issues put a serious kink in my ability to live a normal life and that has compounded my (severe) anxiety and fear of inadequacy, so I will weigh in.

The very best advice that I can give is to be gentle with yourself, but push yourself. You have to nudge your way out of your comfort zone every day. I’m not saying that your anxiety will miraculously go away or that your life is going to change beyond recognition, but the reality is that a therapist can only offer you tools, you have to be the one to apply them and the best way to do that is by challenging yourself regularly. Don’t get complacent. Count your small victories, no matter how small. Praise and support yourself the way that you would if you saw a friend going through a serious hardship, but don’t make excuses for self destructive behaviors. One day at a time.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am in recovery from mental illness, and I lived on SSDI for 10 years. Dealing with the mental illness was the most difficult part. The poverty was not fun, but I got by.

I have been in therapy for 30 years. It is not a quick fix to anyone’s problems, but it can fix them. The reason it works is because in therapy you get to work out your own solutions to your difficulties guided by the psychologist. When I work out my own difficulties, I have a much greater chance of succeeding.

I also meditate daily. This helps control my agitation and anxiety. Meditation does not have to be elaborate where you sit with a perfectly empty mind. That’s not possible for me. Instead, I go to My Happy Place. Your Happy Place can be anything you choose. Mine has green grass, a fountain, and a stream with a little bridge that leads to a building of light. I very carefully concentrate on walking around My Happy Place. This has an amazing effect of calming me.

I also take medication. The doctor gives me pills that help with the mental illness, and I’m lucky in that they work well for me. I know others for whom they do not work, and those friends use other methods to stay stable.

Finally, I rely on good quality sleep to help me stay stable. Sleep resets all my insides so I start each day fresh.

Your situation is bad, but it’s not hopeless. You are going to have to make some decisions. Your first decision seems like it needs to be about your recovery. Do you want to recover? What are the steps you need to take to get to recovery?

You are a kind, generous person. I know, because you are helping your old friend stay in an apartment. You should celebrate your kindness. Give yourself a pat on the back. Now thinking about your recovery, would it be a good idea to start helping your friend find a way to pay for her own apartment? Go to your city or county office, and ask about any programs to help homeless people stay in housing. Call any state offices that might help, too. Call churches. Ultimately, her housing is her responsibility. You have helped her enormously. Is it now time for her to help herself?

Are there housing programs for yourself that you can get acquainted with so that when your parents aren’t there anymore, you will be able to find a place to live? One thing that helped me a great deal was Section 8 housing assistance. It’s a federal program administered by local governments. Here it was administered by the county. Having my own place to live was very helpful in my recovery.

Finally, I want you to know that I understand. I have been to the depths of the black pit of despair where no light shone. No light. I thought all was lost, and I wanted to die. I got very close to trying to die, but I got help. Your problems are big and they are real, but they will not kill you. Mine didn’t kill me. You can live.

I have only one suggestion: tell your therapist everything. Hold nothing back. I mean nothing.

All the best to you.

chyna's avatar

You will not like nor heed my advice, but you barely can afford yourself, why are you supporting your girlfriend? I know she was homeless,etc but you can’t afford to pay her rent. At various times in my life I have been broke and it causes me high anxiety if I can’t pay my bills. Can she afford to rent a room? It would be cheaper than an apartment. Slowly taking away the things that are making you anxious will be a help.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yeah, I’m afraid that my first response is similar to @chyna.‘s Well, okay – my first response is that I’m sorry to hear that all of this is happening to you. But, you need to deal with the things that you have control over. If you are haemorrhaging money, then your current situation is not sustainable. Fix this first, to the best of your ability. You cannot afford to pay your girlfriend’s rent. This is her responsibility; if she cannot afford her apartment, she needs to move to one she can afford. Do you have any kids together? If so, then you should be contributing, but all of you should sit down and figure out how this can be made to work, because it’s not working now.

Next, consider sitting down with a financial advisor to determine whether bankruptcy would be a good idea. I know some people feel a social pressure not to do this, but I know people who were helped enormously by it. Not sure how different the situation is in the US, so I won’t make suggestions other than to ask advice.

Starting to take steps to control your financial problems will help with the anxiety, but it’s good that you’re in therapy. Keep that up. And come talk to us. We’re not invested in your “public persona”, so you might find it easier to get objective advice (though always take that with a grain of salt… you know what they say about people on the internet. :) ).

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Yellowdog First of all, the fact that you are able to write about your issues factually and articulately shows that you have a level of self-awareness that many lack. This alone gives me hope that you can improve your situation.

The next question is, are you willing to endure some discomfort to get your desired outcome? Other people above have given fair, actionable advice I think you should follow.

Life is hard but it can get better. But don’t sit around and wait. Act now.

NormaPadro's avatar

If you have all of these health issues that you’re describing then you should see a lawyer and apply for Disability permanently. I personally have health issues that kept me from keeping a job. My disability is invisible most people have it, but no one discusses it. I developed a lung diseased when I was 9 months old. It’s called Asthma. When I began working I had to hide my illness from my employers until one day I went into respiratory arrest and had to be intubated for 24 hours.
This was enough for me to take my health serious and get help. I missed days from work from not being able to breathe well when I got a terrible cold. I suffered from skipping heart beats and later found out that I have Mitral Valve Prolapse. It’s not the one that doctors will want to operate on since they just said to be careful with heavy lifting.
I also suffered from dizzy spells. Another bad health issue which is low blood sugar. They call it hypoglycemia.
They made a movie where this man fell out while at work and he carried candy with him everywhere. Well this was me. Feeling dizzy for no reason at all is not a good feeling. I have to eat at a certain time or my day is out of control. You know your body better than anyone else.
I survived all of these being that I was a walking ticking bomb. I call it a ticking bomb, because you never know when your body is going to act up. I could be fine one moment and then the wave of depression comes for no reason. It’s like living in the twilight zone. I’m now 51 and still dealing with the same issues now I take high blood pressure medications. So I have sort of joined the rest of the great health problems of some in this country.
I don’t want to be a debbie downer here, but I threw the towel and taking care of myself. I can’t deal with my health issues and I needed money for my medicines. Inhalers, high blood pressure medicines. Since I couldn’t keep a job I had to get help and I did get help. I’m not ashame to say that I’m disabled anymore. I am disabled.

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