Interview Seven: My Experience with Anxiety, Depression, Perseverance, and Hope
“I wish my symptoms were different. They’re pretty much out of my control now. The older I get, the less I can take, you know? I’m 38 now, so I can’t really take as much as I used to be able to take… Where I’m at now, it’s just humiliation… just too much misery. Every day I’m disabled… it adds up.”
[Content Warning: Drug Use, Reference to Suicidal Thoughts]
Reading Time – 7 minutes
Beginnings in College
I was able to control the anxiety in most situations, until I got out of high school. After about four and a half years of college, I had to drop out… just because it was too much. I would twitch and have tics… I was just scared all the time. Any sounds would make me jump… which was really embarrassing. Just insecurity… and the stuff going through my head… was just torture. Halfway through college I started getting depressed, and I was just tired all the time. I could barely get out of bed. I think it was just getting to me… all that anxiety. It just kept getting worse and worse.
I was living with my mom at the time, and I had two friends who I commuted with to college. We smoked a lot of weed… I think that was one of my problems. Smoked weed every day on the way to school, and I think that made my anxiety worse. Smoking all that weed and then going to class, I think that messed up my nervous system or something. I think marijuana, it just… whatever state of mind you’re in when you smoke it, it just puts you more into it. My buddy… it used to calm him down real good… but it made me worse.
First Explorations with Treatment
My mom sent me to a psychologist when I was 19 or 20… that helped for a while, but then it stopped working… then I quit. The psychologist wasn’t really doing anything, just sitting there… It was kinda pissing me off, because mom was spending good money, and the psychologist would just sit there the whole time and not talk. I guess it was part of her style.
Eventually I got on psychiatric meds after I left college, and that’s pretty much the only thing that ever helped. It really worked good for a while, but it wore off after a couple of years. When we moved to New York, I couldn’t get any meds for a while, because we didn’t have insurance or anything… so things got really bad again.
Now I’m taking Klonopin and Abilify. I’m having trouble functioning. I have no energy, so I can only really clean the house sometimes… but I’m just really not interested. Don’t have the energy or motivation. I cook, because I like cooking. All I want to do is listen to music or make YouTube videos… anything to keep my head above water. I make mostly movie tributes and AMVs… taking Japanese anime and putting it to music. It’s the only enjoyment I have. Meds are really the only thing that’s completely worked for me. I want to get off of them, but then I’d probably kill myself.
Functioning Today on Disability Benefits
I’m on disability. I get like $820 a month… and I get food stamps. I live in a trailer park, and my mom helps me out. She gives me a bit of money every month, but I can’t really buy much. I’m lucky to get disability at all, because they don’t really like to give it out to people with mental illnesses. The only reason they gave it to me is because my folder was like… a foot thick. A lot of times it’s cheaper to just give people disability than send them to jail. I think that’s why they gave me disability… because I was a danger to myself and others. They have to think you’re a menace or something…
There’s no way I could hold down a full-time job. I can do odd jobs… work for like three hours at a time. Not a whole day. I paint sometimes… for like three hours, but then I get tired and don’t wanna paint anymore. Two or three times a week I help out the neighbors.
I wish my symptoms were different. They’re pretty much out of my control now. My anxiety… I’d say it’s like a 7/10. My depression… I’d say it’s like a 5 or 6. The older I get, the less I can take, you know? I’m 38 now, so I can’t really take as much as I used to be able to take… A 7 or 8 now would have been like a 5 when I was younger. Where I’m at now, it’s just humiliation… just too much misery. It’s like a story in my head that keeps getting worse and worse. Every day I’m disabled… it adds up. It’s like a monkey on my back.
My first psychiatrist was really good. He used to try out all kinds of different meds. The one I have now… I don’t know, she’s really lazy or something. She doesn’t try any new meds, and she only spends five minutes with me every month. But, beggars can’t be choosers… I’m on Medicaid, and I don’t have a lot of options for treatment. When I first went to my treatment center, I got the best psychiatrist. After he got me on some good meds, they gave me one of the worst psychiatrists, the one I see now.
Experience with Alternative Therapies
I see this lady now for alternative therapy. We were doing EFT tapping, but she said that wasn’t working. She said I wasn’t in touch with my feelings enough. Now we’re doing AIT… Advanced Integrative Therapy. It’s really new, and it has to do with the chakra system and the body… clearing out beliefs or something like that. There’s two types of AIT: You start at the top of your head, and you clear it out… each chakra point, down to the bottom of your chakra system. Then there’s another type where you put things in. You start at the bottom, and you put a positive belief in… up to the crown of your head.
For example, you have a statement… like, “I’m anxious all the time.” You have to be able to feel things… like, usually feeling your chest, your solar plexus, or your stomach. You put one hand where you feel it the most, then you put the other hand on the top of your head… the crown chakra. Then you go down each chakra point… breathe… she guides me through it. You get to the root chakra, and you put a number on what you’re feeling… and you keep doing that until it gets down to zero.
She also does something called muscle testing. I put my arm out, and she asks a question, then pushes on my arm. It’s like the body knows more than the mind. If you’re lying, then the body will know it… and it will be weak. If I’m telling the truth, I’ll be strong. I have trouble telling where I am on a scale from 1-10, so that helps me. I haven’t noticed much of a change yet, and I’ve been doing it for like six months now. The goal is to get me in touch with my feelings, so that I can start the EFT.
Personal Studies in Spirituality
I’ve been studying Eckhart Tolle for a few years. He’s a spiritual teacher. Also I’ve been studying Anthony de Mello. I’ve been getting a better understanding of how to be more enlightened… not take life too seriously, and get out of my head. Something I’ve been doing for the past week: I point out to myself that all of my problems are coming from within myself, and it’s all just programming and conditioning. All I have to do is be aware of that, and it’ll fix itself. These spiritual guys say that awareness is the main thing. Just be aware of what’s going on inside you… but don’t try to fix it, because then you’ll get involved with it. My mind’s too active, and I get involved with all my bad emotions… then it gets worse.
Recent Experience with Spiritual Therapies
Besides the therapy work I do with that lady and my own personal studies of the ego and spirituality, I am also getting help on other levels. My mother and her Sufi Sheikh pray for me all the time, which I’m sure is doing something. I have learned a lot from the Sheikh, and he is the one who got me to believe in God again.
The Sheikh has taken more than one dark entity out of me, which he calls a Djinn. A Djinn is an energy being that can get inside you, and (if it is an evil Djinn) it can make your mood more solemn and make you violent. He took a few out of me when I first met him, which was when I was out of control and getting in fights and stuff. He took the Djinn out of me and gave me a bunch of prayers to do. It was around this time that I started feeling better. This coincided with the psychiatric medication I started taking. To this day I’m not sure if it was the medication, the prayers, or both that did the trick, but I definitely felt better until I moved to New York.
In addition to the Sheikh’s spiritual help, I met a Native American Shaman while I was visiting Pittsburgh last week. My uncle’s new wife is very spiritual, and she knows this Shaman lady who did something called a “soul retrieval” for me. She said that every time we have a trauma in our life, a piece of our soul can get frayed off and leaves our body. She said I lost five parts of my soul during this life and lost two other parts in previous lives. She got them back for me, and when I called her the other day, she said that I had been missing around 80% of my spirit.
She said that now I have 60% of my spirit in my body, but the other 40% is still hovering around in my auric field, deciding whether it wants to enter my body or not. She gave me a meditation to do to get the pieces of my soul back where they belong. She also gave me a good piece of advice that I’ve been trying out for the past week: When you see yourself from a third person point of view… view yourself as a stranger, it makes it easier to heal yourself. I’ve been incorporating that into my meditations, and it’s working pretty good.
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