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My story: anxiety, energy & sleep
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screen874 posted:
I'm a male in my mid-twenties and I have been dealing with an anxiety/panic disorder for three years now. I have only recently sought limited professional help. I was always hoping that it was something that would just pass but it has become rather debilitating. Aside from just feeling anxious frequently and going through infrequent panic attacks I have a lot less energy than I used to have and terribly stressful insomnia. I've given up fighting this on my own. My psychiatrist prescribed Clonex (Clonazepam) — to help me short-term with nervousness — for about 4 months and after that I started taking Ectiban (Escitalopram) — an anti-depressant, to help me long-term — which I have been taking for 10 months and continue doing so. My psychiatrist hasn't really diagnosed me formally but we just talk of my condition as anxiety. I haven't had many appointments with her but the next time I see her I'm going to ask if I can get something that will help me in those moments when I feel more intense nervousness. When I was taking the Clonex I was nearly free of nervousness but now that I'm just taking the anti-depressant I again alternate between good days and terrible days.

Although I feel some level of nervousness every day. Aside from those days that I feel anxious for no apparent reason, I usually find that any and all physical discomfort increases my stress levels. For example, just getting the flu stresses me out. I'm prone to migraines and a headache can make me feel nervous. The list of stress inducing things his pretty long but it includes stomach aches and general discomfort (such as gases), sleepiness/tiredness particularly after poor sleep the previous day(s).

We are just getting started though because what I think is my biggest problem so far is my problem with sleep and energy. It has always taken me more time than it takes most people to fall asleep but since the anxiety thing took over my life my circadian clock (sleep clock) has been completely out of whack. This is such a huge problem for me that it is impossible for me to keep a job or any sort of schedule. On a good day I manage to fall asleep around 4 a.m. and on a bad day 8 a.m. It doesn't really matter how tired I am — my body won't let me fall asleep. The strangest thing is that even if I manage to fall asleep and stay asleep early-ish I still can't wake up before 12 a.m. If I wake up before noon what happens is that for a couple of hours I will feel fine. Then I will slowly but surely start feeling tired and after about 4-6 hours of being awake — regardless of how much sleep I got — I will start feeling like you would except someone to feel after having been sleep deprived for about 2-3 days; I get a headache, I get slightly nauseous, nervous and thinking becomes difficult. Sometimes napping can help me at that stage but at other times I just have to suffer for hours until I'm in the time range that I can fall asleep in. Most days I wake up around 1-3 p.m. Even if I get the same amount of sleep (in hours), just the fact that I'm getting up before 12 a.m. means that my body will have this extreme reaction.

This has quite simply ruin my life. I can't get a job or go to school because then I'd have to get up around 7-8 a.m. which my body doesn't allow me, as I've said, regardless of how long I manage to sleep. The worst part is having everybody around me just thinking that I'm the world's laziest person. People don't understand. If you're in a wheelchair everybody can see your disability but when it's something invisible you become a weirdo to them. I used to work hard and getting up 7 a.m. and working 12-hour shifts was pretty easy for me but now I'm worse than a 90-year-old.

What will become of me?
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buckie48192 responded:
Hi there. I'm sorry I don't have much time right now to post all I'd like to but I do wanna tell you I've been like you for 11 yrs now. Crazy for sure. Thing is, most of these yrs I haven't had insurance so I've been living with it. But it started when I was up for 3 days in a row n went to the ER and they prescribed Ativan. It helped me to fall asleep for 4 hrs and that's the most at one time I ever got. I just don't sleep deep or very well anymore. I've been on antidepressants and quit trying them after like the 3rd or 4th one. They are too addictive n make me feel strange. Plus Dr's push that stuff too much in stead of trying to find the root cause. You need to get blood checked by a Dr that knows what he's doing. Could be thyroid at the root of it. Also for temporary help you can take benedryl. But if you've never taken them, start out taking half a pill cause it will work. Then the next day or time you take it you can try half again n maybe increase to 3/4 of one. Take the least of everything you can cause you don't want to build up your tolerance to it in case you need it for a while. Nothing really works on me. I think it's my thyroid but I don't have a job or insurance so no Dr's. My life is ruined too I feel cause I can't wake up early and help in church or get a normal job. People do think your lazy and they'll say, Just go to bed at night and get up in the morning. It's so frustrating n embarrassing. I'm actually taking an ativan now hoping I can try n wake up tomorrow early cause our church is doing a 5K and I'm hoping to exterminate able to help. I normally go to sleep around 4 am n get up around 12noon. But I wake up many times in between. I believe I don't reach REM sleep. I never feel refreshed, never. I'm afraid it's taking a toll on my health. I KNOW it is. I'm aging fast now. I'm 53 yrs old. In case I can't find this site again, maybe you can email me just in case. I'm not that savvy with this stuff. My address is buckie48192@yahoo.com. Take care.
Jill from Michigan
 
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screen874 replied to buckie48192's response:
As soon as you said you didn't have health insurance I realised that you were American. Damn those Republicans! I wouldn't wake up for church even if they offered to pay me. Being an atheist requires a lot less effort on your part. I've once been to a hospital because I couldn't sleep for so long and I was going mad. Last Friday I couldn't sleep at all and had to torture myself to say up the entire day, hoping that I could fall asleep the following night, or else I would have to visit the hospital for an injection. Luckily I did fall asleep but I've been feeling pretty nervous since then, constantly thinking to myself: "will I fall asleep tonight?"


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