Spiraling Out of Control: Fighting Horrible Anxiety Through Long Winter Nights

Anxiety ebbs and flows through my life, causing varying levels of disruption to my productivity and potential for success. Unlike depression, which feels somehow more real and worthy of concern because I can feel my body shifting into a state of inability to move, anxiety is different and fuels a sense of shame. It is a horrible loop of self sabotage – lack of sleep makes anxiety worse and anxiety makes the ability to get a good night’s rest impossible. My heart is breaking for the life I want that keeps inching further and further from my grasp. It feels like I’m attempting to breathe in a room where the oxygen is slowly being sucked out and I’m expected to perform just the same as I suffocate.

This anxiety makes it impossible to focus. My mind literally cannot stay focused on one task requiring intellectual processing for longer than a few seconds. Clearly that is not acceptable when my career relies on me to produce quality work leveraging my brain. I keep thinking I’ll just take a few minute’s break and then get back to work and make progress, and then I find myself staring at the same blank sheet of paper unable to do anything. I am exhausted and want to walk out of my job and never look back, except I can’t because I need my job and if not this job I need job and no role will be better.

My doctors wouldn’t give me anti anxiety medication because I may be trying to get pregnant soon, which makes sense since it would be dangerous to an unborn child. So I don’t know what to do at this point. The depression fueled by anxiety is much scarier to me than the one that stems from my actual depression. Anxiety is an alien attacking me from the inside, and I as I attempt to hide my hand’s tremors I long to to grab a knife and cut it out.

I try to breathe, do exercises which for a second may ease my mind. I listen to music in attempt to calm myself. Other than watching a television show or closing my eyes and falling asleep (if possible) I cannot stop thinking in these horrible loops over and over and over again. I feel incredibly alone and ashamed. Why can’t I just stop?

The current political system in the U.S. makes it worse, certainly. I feel helpless as I watch our country being taken over by an evil, self-serving man who may lead us into world war or who knows what. I fear for the safety of people of color and anyone who thinks differently. I wonder how I will be able to raise children in a society where a man who throws temper tantrums on Twitter is president. How the one person who is supposed to represent stability and calm in a big scary world filled with evil humans is actually the scariest of them all. And I want to do something to help, but my role in this great big world is to wake up each morning and convince companies to buy software that will make them more efficient. I’m part of the problem. Perhaps I am the problem. One of them many.

Maybe it will be better tomorrow. I hope to get home safe, I don’t feel comfortable driving right now but I must to get back to my bed, only to repeat the journey again – to feel like everyone is watching me in my small desk in our open office, or that everyone is noticing that I left to attempt to get work done at a coffee shop down the street except my head is spinning so fast the only time I can get anything done is late at night when it’s quiet and calm. But I need sleep, so staying up late to work is not the best idea either.

Trade jobs are being lost to efficiency and automation. The jobs that exist now and will continue to exist are those which create redundancy between human work and machine work, or the roles which produce more efficiency from the machines. Maybe one day we’ll be in a world where we won’t have to work so much because robots do all the things that need to get done, but that doesn’t work in a  capitalistic society. As all the science fiction shows and books try to warn us, this is not going to come to a happy end.

Perhaps I should just shut up, take a few big breaths and keep my head down, and live my life and make the world more efficient and pose it all as a positive as more and more people lose their jobs or are called out for not being efficient enough, not being 150% productive in a society where 100% is no longer good enough.

I want to feel excited again. To feel like my work is contributing to something greater that is helping the world or at least entertaining those who feel this same sinking anxiety and horror at the state of things.

Instead, again I find myself drowning yet again. I don’t even see the surface anymore. It’s just dark and cold and I’m losing the energy to kick and force myself to the surface for a quick gasp of brisk air before plunging back into the darkness.



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4 thoughts on “Spiraling Out of Control: Fighting Horrible Anxiety Through Long Winter Nights”

  1. As a fellow lady with anxiety, I can commiserate with so much of what you have said. I know the fight, the uncertainty, the struggle of dealing with one day at a time.

    I ask this in the kindest way possible: do you really think this is the right time to try and have a child? When you’re struggling to keep your head above water, struggling to even do your work? It is going to add so much stress to your life to have a baby. Lack of sleep, lack of personal time, lack of space, lack of everything an anxiety disorder needs to be kept under control. I feel like that fact was completely glossed over in your post – having this child is a foregone conclusion, just something you’ve planned on doing.

    You don’t have to have a biological child if age is a worry for you. You can freeze your eggs to wait a while. If you must have them now, you can adopt or foster, or get a surrogate. It would allow you to continue taking your medication and stay on a smoother, more even keel while the stresses of child-rearing take over your life like an angry wave.

    I’ve personally decided I’m likely not going to have them due to my anxiety. Taking care of me, making sure I’m capable of being a good partner, friend, and auntie, those things matter more than my potential unborn children. I may eventually get to the point of wanting them, but right now, I’m working on my personal stuff.

    Please don’t take this as any kind of judgment – I wish nothing but the best for you and know you’ll make the right decision for your family. Just suggesting an option you perhaps hadn’t thought of yet.

    1. This is definitely a thought I’ve had — is now the “right” time to have kids? But then I realize there will never be a right time. I am not sure how but I know I want kids and I want my own kids. I’m scared, sure, but at this point it’s now or never. Well, I could freeze my eggs yes but that may not work and it will be very expensive and I have no reason to believe I’ll be less anxious in 5 years than I am now… only more tired as I’ll be older! So I might as well have kids now and if I need to take an easier job or work part time and move to a cheaper place to live, then I’ll do that. I’ve pushed through my anxiety in my 20s to save a good deal of money to have kids so it would be sad now to not. Plus, re: medication I’ve yet to find any that actually works for my anxiety so I’m not sure that exists. Mostly I just need to learn how to deal.

  2. As a fellow sufferer first of allow me to commend you on bringing this onto the public domain. Although I wouldn’t say many people truly understand depression, I still feel it’s a subject much less taboo than anxiety. Mine stems from several OCD habits that leave me feeling anxious that something bad will happen if I don’t complete them. Something as simple as crossing the road with my right foot rather than my left can leave me awake with worry for days that bad karma awaits me. I’ve always refused drugs as I don’t want to become numb and zombie like, sleep will always be an issue that I have resigned myself to. Unfortunately people still only associate OCD with a compulsion for cleaning, it goes so much deeper than that!
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