Sitting in the residential treatment center she knew her depression was a problem and part of what had landed her there. But she never knew there was another side to the same coin. She didn’t know that anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. She only knew that she couldn’t stop drinking on her own and had finally decided to ask for help. It would be years before she realized there was yet a deeper issue she had struggled with since she was nine years old. The anti-depressant helped right away with the depression. With the depressing effects of alcohol out of her system she was beginning to feel less hopeless about life. But she thought the feelings of dread, worry, and uneasiness that haunted her were just a part of her. She didn’t know they were symptoms of a treatable condition known generally as anxiety.
She never really felt at ease or “a part of” in social situations. When alone she would feel more secure but would always have a feeling that the other “shoe was going to drop.” In high school social drinking took away these feelings. The freedom at college gave way to a drastic increase in drinking and going to parties. The drinking continued and the excuses for it became more reasoned as she began her career. “My stressful job is why I drink every day” she would tell herself. However, the nervous feelings that she would later learn were not symptoms of her depression did not stay away.
Eventually, drinking would not make the anxiety stop. She was having panic attacks even after having had several liters of wine. She also felt hopeless and depressed at the same time. Now, she realized she was going to live that way in misery if she didn’t get help. But when she was in treatment she didn’t know her symptoms were anxiety. She didn’t know she had had panic attacks every time she walked across her college campus or down the hallway in high school. She never realized that she always had to date a heavy drinker, so she didn’t have to talk to someone she didn’t know very well unless she was buzzed. Unfortunately, she never knew there was a way to live without her heart pounding out of her chest and fear taking over her brain. She didn’t know how to stop freezing up in sheer panic.
Her visits to the psychiatrist in college did nothing to help her. Residential rehab and Intensive Outpatient Treatment helped her to find sobriety and depression relief. The doctors who prescribed her depression medicine realized she had some anxiety but her medicine was supposed to help with anxiety too. It took counseling for her to learn that her anxiety was severe and that she could change it.
There is Hope When You Get Help!
Counseling taught her how to change the beliefs of her self-talk that created her panicky feelings. It also took AA which addressed her self-centered fear in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth steps. AA helped clear away guilt and shame that were adding to her anxiety and shyness. AA also provided a loving group where she found others who felt the same way she did. Anxiety comes in many forms or types each with a different set of symptoms but it didn’t have to control her life anymore. There was hope when she got help.