My father and my sister have severe anxiety issues. For a long time my sister has had panic attacks and I think she is on medicine to help deal with it. My father, for as long as I can remember, has gotten severe anxiety from going to the doctor. As he has aged it has gotten worse and spread to other aspects of his life.
I thought I had avoided the anxiety gene but it has hit me with a vengeance. I could usually just roll with things. As I tell my kids “Like water off a ducks back.” But over the past 2 years I can’t.
My sense is that it all started at a job I was at about 4 years ago. The boss was a micromanager. I did my best, but most times it was not the way he would have done it, so it was wrong. I began to question myself. It made me a better worker, but I started to over think everything. I would dwell on the most inconsequential things. And thus started my stomach problems. Because I would dwell on things and I ate really badly, my stomach would act up. And by act up I mean shooting pain through my chest. I ignored it as much as possible, but as time when on it began to happen more frequently. I began to get nervous.
Then it happened again and the feeling was worse than before. I got really nervous, my heart rate went up because of that. At the time I didn’t know that it was anxiety that made my heart rate go up. I got even more nervous. I went outside and walked around and nothing changed. No more pain in the chest but I was really nervous. So I went to the emergency room thinking I had had or was having a heart attack. I went through all the tests and stayed overnight for observation. The doctor in the ER said you didn’t have a heart attack but we are going to keep you overnight to do some tests. I said to her that I never had one before and was nervous. She said, better to be safe than sorry. So I went through a bunch of tests, and after the full stress test (they put the dye in you veins, and you have two MRI’s) the doctor says to me, “You could run a marathon.” He then told me it was probably just stomach problems. I didn’t think anything of it and didn’t connect it to my other pains. I forgot about it after that.
I went on to run two half marathons. I mentally fine. The running relaxed me. It was just awesome.
Shortly after the ER visit I was laid off from the job for lack of work. It is quite common in my industry, but still stressful because it was right around the holidays and I knew there would be no quick turnaround to a new job because it was the holidays. I must say that it was both a blessing and a curse to get laid off from that job. A blessing that I became a better worker and got away from the micromanager, but a curse in that I began to question everything that I did. I would dwell on things and over think them. I was unsure of myself. I was unsure if I would get a new job.
I moved on to the next job a few months later. It was serendipity that I found this new job. I was at one of my son’s sporting events talking to one of the other dads and he asks me how my job is going (we were in the same field and knew many of the same people), and I mentioned that I was laid off a few months earlier and still looking for a job. Wouldn’t you know that he had an opening at his firm and based on my experience, I would be a perfect fit. A week later I had started my new job and had a fresh start.
To be continued…