Author Topic: Crippling anxiety  (Read 4800 times)


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Crippling anxiety
« on: October 09, 2014, 09:33:47 AM »
Hello friends,
I wasn't sure which forum to post this in, but figured I would do it in this one since the topic is not totally sjogrens related.

I am experiencing debilitating, crippling anxiety and depression lately house!  Seriously. And I need to pull it together for my family (husband and two young boys), and I don't know how.

We bought our house 4 years ago, and it has been a nightmare of a house ever since. Since moving in, we've had to have our yard dug up and sewer line fixed, we've had to tear out a finished basement to have foundation work done -twice! We needed part of it piered, and then another part piered, and we will probably have to pier more of it sooner than later. We also found out we had radon and had to install a mitigation system.  Most recently, when we hit the 100 degree weather in August, we discovered our AC ducts in the basement had been condensating and caused mold on our floor joists where they run. So we have to pay a remediator to come in and clean that up. We had him (the mold inspector) look at our upstairs to make sure they hadn't been condensating upstairs in the walls where they run, and he said everything upstairs looked fine.

For whatever reason, this latest thing was the straw that broke the camels back and I think I am in the middle of a nervous breakdown.  I haven't been eating or sleeping well since August, and I've lost 15 lbs in that timeframe. 

I am terrified of being home, because I'm afraid of what new expensive repair I'm going to discover.  All I think about is how we're going to have to spend another $20k on basement piers, and how there is probably still mold behind the walls that we can't see. I also really let me imagination run wild thinking about all the other potential issues that we "probably" have, like termites, mice, roof leaks, you name it. 

This is totally consuming me and I don't know what to do.  There is no way we can sell right now, because the market has slowed down due to the seasons and plus there are probably more structural issues we would have to address before anyone would buy it. Plus, I just can't help but think that no one in their right mind would buy a house that has the history ours does.  I feel stuck.

I have been seeing my therapist once a week to talk about these things, and it is not yet helping.  My husband says I just focus on the negative and how every house has problems and he doesn't think it's really the house that is driving me over the edge. He thinks it is my way of thinking about things and being pessimistic. 

There are a few good things about the house that I should throw in.  First off, my boys love it here in our neighborhood and my oldest loves the kindergarten. Second, it is big enough for our family, it is in a great A+ rated school district, it is down the street from my sister, and we have amazing neighbors.  It also has a very large yard, and 3 neighborhood pools.  It is also the most affordable neighborhood in our elementary school. I've been looking at what's out there in our elementary, and all the other neighborhoods are in the $300-$500k range.  We bought our house for $210k, and have already had to sink $30k into it for the foundation work. More is probably going to be needed.

My therapist has somewhat given up on my coming out of this funk on my own. He has tried tactics on me like "hey at least you don't live in a war zone" and "it's just money, we all die and you can't take it with you"  and has been working with me on positive self talk.  But now he wants me to see my primary to get on an antidepressant. I just can't help but think that if not for this house, I would be fine! (aside from the sjogrens!).  When I can get out of my house and away from it, I feel much better.  But obviously that it not really a practical solution! It's where we LIVE. ugh.

Not sure what I'm looking for, except maybe some words of encouragement? Maybe some 'been there, done that' stories?


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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 09:44:42 AM »
Hello - so sorry to hear about the crippling anxiety.  I can relate to anxiety and actually take ativan for my anxiety (try not to take it daily but rather reserve it for OH MY GOSH I REALLY NEED HELP WITH THIS ANXIETY) kind of deal.

Before I got sick with sjogrens a few years ago I never had any type of anxiety out of the normal range and then once I got sick and started to experience symptoms of sjogrens anxiety crept into my life and overcame me at times - all throughout diagnosis (took awhile to be diagnosed) and starting treatment.  It comes and goes, waxes and wanes but never LEAVES totally now.  I have been told, for me, that my autoimmune disease is not "helping" with the anxiety but have not been told it is causing it either.  When your immune system is whacky it seems to me that it can throw all sorts of things out of whack. 

I believe there are some folks on this board who take natural supplements to help with the anxiety they feel and hopefully they will chime in.

As far as your house goes, I feel for you, I really do.  I cannot imagine having to deal with one issue after another with our house and feel sick and try to maintain some sort of normalcy in my life. 

I am not one to suggest people change therapists or drs, although it has worked for me, but if the therapist cannot or does not seem to want to help you through this, then you may want to find a new therapist who is willing to treat the symptoms or try new tactics/treatment to help you through.  It is hard enough having a chronic illness and then add anxiety to it - ugh.

Hang in there, some on the board have also suggested meditation, acupuncture, things like that for anxiety. 

Please keep us posted.  Know you are not alone -we are here to listen.  This is the right place to vent.

Sending positive thoughts your way.
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 10:18:58 AM »
Hi Lolo1979.

I am sorry that you are dealing with so much. I always say that I can deal with whatever challenge comes along, I just wish I had some distance between them!
By the way, been there done that with the Radon remediation (discovered upon the buyer's inspection when we had just sold the home).

I would like to suggest that your depression may very well be part of your Sjogren's/Autoimmune picture. It is not uncommon to have depression. Whether it is a physical component of
Sjogren's or we get depressed because of the Sjogren's, the bottom line is that medication can help. There are many of us on this site that either take prescribed meds or supplements for
depression. So I think your therapist has a good suggestion. At least it's worth a try to see if it improves.

You know, a lot of the things that are overwhelming you absolutely ARE Depressing. It is not abnormal to feel upset, stressed & depressed over feeling as if you have purchased a money pit that you can't get out of. Your house fixes have not been small inexpensive ones. I would feel overwhelmed if I had all of those things happening one right after the other. I would try to be positive about the fixes and try not to worry/obsess over what might happen And the positive perspective is that you have now fixed all of those things so that any buyer will not have to...that is a good selling point (I used to be a Realtor). The reality is that you have no control over it and just have to deal with things as they come.This is true for house or health.

And I might point out also, that you are in a stressful time of your life in general. You have very young children which require a lot of you every day from morning until they go to bed at night. Every Mom here will tell you that while they wouldn't trade a minute of their children's childhoods or the family is not easy work. Lots of stress goes with that territory. I remember sending my oldest child off to kindergarten. I was the only Mom not weeping at the bus stop & practically cheering out loud. I couldn't wait to have some time to myself. I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling that that I am an empty-nester, I know it was just me being honest.

Many of the stressors that are happening to you are situational. That is, they will pass. I am in no way minimizing the depression you is real & the majority of us either have it, had it or likely will have it.

I would definitely try a med/supplement (whichever you feel most comfortable with) to see if it helps. And stick with the positive self-talk. It is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.
I do it every day.I also blog. I enjoy writing and found it very therapeutic. Lord knows that if I gave into imy depression, I could be in a fetal position on the couch, trying to check out of my reality.

I hope that things get better for you. There are many days that I swore were the worst day in my life. The one thing I would say to myself, was that tomorrow will be better. And it always has been. So hang in there. You do have lots of wonderful blessings to be happy about.

Take Care.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 10:22:23 AM by SjoDry »

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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 02:34:18 PM »
Thanks SjoDry and Finally. I really appreciate your thoughtful responses.

I went to my primary today.  The nurse was SO sweet. I started crying in the office and she hugged me. Told me this will pass. I hope she is right.

My doc gave me paxil and Xanax to use as needed.  I'm a little nervous about the paxil though. 

But, I am just miserable enough that I don't feel like I have any other option.


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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 03:36:09 PM »

Bless your heart. Your cup has been overflowing it's so full.

First - BREATHE.

Sencond - breath again

You have children I noticed - if you are familiar with lamaze breathing? Shucks I still use that technique when my cup runneth over.

SjoDry is spot on about situational stressors. That and the AI related anxiety - yeah that is going to wear on us.

When I get overwhelmed (that's what I call it anyway - overwhelmed, tho some may call it anxiety), first I go have myself a good head clearing cry (in so much as SJS will permit as far as tears).

Then I take a paper and pen and write out ALL of my concerns.

After that, I review each one and ask myself if I can do anything about it - if the answer is no, then I cross it OFF my list. If I can't do anything about it, no point in using precious energy worrying about it.

If there is something  I CAN do about an item on my list - I highlight it.

When that is done - I make a list ONLY of the things I CAN do something about. That gets posted on my fridge. For each thing I accomplish on that list - I checkmark it when complete. And it doesn't have to be in any particular order.

I personally need the visual re-enforcement of progress, and as I see more items checked off as taken care of - phew that is one less thing on my plate and it give me a better sense of control in my life.

It sounds more time consuming than it is.

Next, how much time do you really have just for yourself? When I was bringing up my daughters, I HAD to make time for myself. My strategy was to get up an hour earlier than everyone else - that was my quiet time. Sometimes I'd just have a cup of coffee and sit out on the porch and listen to the early morning sounds. I found it relaxing. Other times I'd use that time to plan my day.

Whatever works for you - whether it be only 30 minutes - everyone needs a little time for themselves to renew so to speak. Even 15 minutes is better than none.

It's hard to not be negative with so much stuff (and sounds like majorly expensive stuff). Been there done that.

A strategy that worked for me was in the morning (at some point we all end up looking in the bathroom mirror  ;) ), I'd in my thoughts think of one good thing I was thankful for, or even at times one attribute of mine I LIKED. I'd write it down and that would be my "thought for the day".

Another strategy that will need your husband's "buy- in". How about if he took the money worries on his shoulders for a while and you let that part go - the worrying about it part. Trust him to handle that part -

-and there is a flip side of looking at the worrying about the next expensive house repair. It's sending a silent message to your husband that you don't trust him to provide. How he receives that is known only to him.

Another strategy I've found helpful - is to remind myself that I and I alone control my thinking, AND my reactions to every circumstance. I find it helpful to remind myself of that on occasion, as let's be real - life stuff happens at the most inconvenient times. We don't choose the timing (such as your house expenses), but we still gotta handle it.

I learned an invaluable lesson im high school between the 50 yd dash and 600 yd dash. I was a FAST runner...on the 50 yd dash. But when it came to the 600 yard dash? I ran out of steam halfway through. I didn't pace myself. That was the barrier - I had to learn to pace myself.

Your energy level is much like that. You're balancing a family, young children, daily household stuff, your medical stuff, your concerns, how fast all that house stuff hit, etc.

The more you occupy your thoughts with worry - that is a huge energy zapper.

You see, the truth is the only guarantee we have at any given time is this moment.

We can't do a thing about tomorrow, as first of all it isn't here yet.

And even if we KNEW what tomorrow would bring, wouldn't our energy be better leveraged preparing accordingly?

These are just some things I have found helpful in my life - maybe one suggestion you might find helpful.



EDIT: I just thought of another that takes practice but when my oldest in her teens was well going through some very traumatic stuff, her counselor gave me this wisdom pearl - as I was really over the top with anxiety concerning her well being.

May the choice to only allow yourself a certain block of time each day to think upon the things you're anxious about - her suggestion was 30 minutes max. And to work at that until I was able to only give 30 minutes of my day to worry on that AND - this is important - every day I was able to limit those worries to 30 minutes only each day REWARD myself for the achievement.

She'd been there done that. She liked double-stuffed oreo cookies as a reward. I like chocolate myself.

It took me about a month to master that goal, but it was well worth it in the end.

So that's another strategy to consider.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 03:47:20 PM by litliwlowa »
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 03:09:36 AM »
I don't feel well enough to read all the other posts, but I will come right to the point, as is my nature. You are in the midst of a depression and I would get to the doc and get some medication fast. I had this happen to me when we did a long distance move. I worked like a dog and hubby was gone to new state for his job. I had a house and kids and the whole ball of wax to get ready for a move. Not only that, we were just taking our youngest kid with us and leaving the 2 older kids (in vo-tech) in our home and acreage. It was not the best situation at all but had to be done.

When we got moved I lost 15 pounds in 3 weeks and could not eat anything except cheese and Mountain Dew. I had depression before and knew that I was in trouble. I got to a doc and they put me on meds and I improved quite rapidly. This is a type of depression brought on by the stress of circumstances and it is almost intolerable. The anxiety is terrible and just living day to day is hard to do. You need to take care of yourself as depression can slip rapidly into suicide if not treated. I don't mean to scare you, but the circumstances can't always be cured but how you take care of yourself can be dealt with. Your chemicals in your brain are all screwed up and the meds will help you. You can PM if you desire. Good luck. Irish

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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 03:36:26 AM »
You have so much good advice. First manage you depression, as irish points out.

Different homes come with different challenges. We currently spend $4000-$6000 per year on repairs on our home. This was something we plan on to keep it livable for us as our health changes. When we purchased the house, we spent an extra $30,000 on the house to update the kitchen. We have replaced the furnace and A/C. We have had it rewired for safety. A new roof and gutters. New windows an added insulation.

We have prioritized additional repairs and they will happen as we can afford them. New drive way, new siding, bath remodel, second bath and handicap accessability. It used to be that I could do these jobs, but that has changed so they cost more.

 It is still cheaper than renting. If your neighborhood and schools are good, you are very lucky!
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 11:43:19 AM »
Joe is so right. If there is anyone out there with the perfect house let them stand and be counted.

We remodeled out house almost from the ground up 30+ years ago and there are so many things that have had to be done since and so many things that need to be done now. I just had the foam in the walls as it was so expensive to heat. Have to do a new roof next year and am thankful for 3 sons who can help with this. The expense of owning a home is ongoing and like Joe says, it is still cheaper than renting. It also is a place that we settle in and make a life.

Be thankful for the good things that you have and for being able to get it cheaper than the others in the neighborhood. The money is always a problem, but money is not kept easily in this life. The best one can do is to live with a budget that includes savings for repairs. If you live cheap then things don't get to be an emergency. I know that all this stuff is stressful, but when you are old and look back you will be surprised that those things that stressed you out so much and caused so much worry will pale in comparison to some other events in your life. It is called adapting, growing with experiences of life.

Just get your depression treated and life will be much, much better for you. You are watching all this through the jaded vision of depression and screwed up chemicals. It can happen to any of us and frequently does. Good luck. Irish


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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 01:33:17 PM »
Dear lolo,

Take antidepressants until you find the one that works and the right dosage.

What you are going through has caused physiological changes, increased inflammation, weight loss, and the anxiety and depression.

These are physiological changes and can only be addressed with medications that will restore some equilibrium.

This is NOT a criticism of you, you are not 'weak', you have not had a bad childhood....your body is reacting to this stress and you need to help it.  Just as you would take something for pain, or diabetes, or a heart condition.

Do it and report back to us, please.  We've all been there (well not the weight loss, I eat under stress).  BUT also, the effects of all that  mold are beyond knowledge.

Please let us know how you are.

Hugs,  Elaine
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2014, 09:13:06 PM »
Another vote for hanging in there! Glad you got some assistance with medicine.

Think about it this way - if you didn't have any health problems, having all these things going wrong with the house would still be a lot! I still remember when we bought a house, and a few months after we moved in the furnace died. It was a big chunk of money to replace it, and I remember I was a combination of furious (why didn't the inspector see this????) and really worried and upset, because how were we going to pay for it?

So I can imagine how difficult this all seems.   But you are now also anticipating things going wrong, so you're starting to worry about things that haven't happened yet.  Try to take it as it comes. I know this is easier to say than to do!  But sometimes you can break big problems down into smaller ones, and solve the parts that can be solved.

I can't say I love your therapist's attitude about "at least you are not living in a war zone".  It's like saying that because one person has a painful disease that will last for a long, and someone else is really sick with the flu which will go away in a week, the person with the flu shouldn't complain about feeling sick. But the person with the flu does really feel sick, and telling him there are sicker people doesn't really do any good.

Hope things calm down soon. 
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2014, 01:22:24 AM »
I can't say I love your therapist's attitude about "at least you are not living in a war zone".

I'm going with warmwaters on this one.

First, in my view, the therapist's statement is out of line. AI's by their very nature in effect creates a "war zone" - the battlefield being your body - since it is your body under attack.

Secondly, I find such a remark by the therapist to be a diminishing statement, and as such comes across as more of a pshaw shaming kind of approach.

I'd be inclined to find another therapist, if that approach continues.
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2014, 09:13:39 AM »
Anxiety is tough but manageable. Everyone feels it from time to time. I feel with most anxiety the want for control, security and stability are present. The want to make a situation feel better or to make sense out of something that doesn't quite make sense to us.

Art therapy has worked for me, yoga and journaling. Sharing your feelings here also helps cause it's the same as an art therapy. You express it and can then look at it and take what you can benefit from away with you. You stated a lot of strengths that you have and whatever negative voices you have around you from whomever, it's best to tune those voices out. Often the people we care about the most find it difficult to see us in a negative state of mind. They too then feel a loss of control and want to help but don't know how.

An exercise if you would like to try every morning or with art journaling:

Example: " With the best of my ability, I will try .....  today."
"I believe in myself that I can do this and I will not let negative speakers effect me."

It may sound cheesy but the more positive you give yourself, the more it really helps! Create some good intentions and let the discomfort of what is unknown to you fall away. The important thing is the structure of yourself and though your house structure is important too, you are first and foremost what is important. Build yourself up to be strong. I am almost certain that you will feel differently about the uncertainty of your surroundings. If ever you need positive support, we are here to back you up!

I hope this was of some help.


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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2014, 01:33:52 PM »
The best advice I got from a therapist is that you can't usually change your circumstances but you CAN change your reaction to them.  He helped me look at things in different ways.

Little humor here but I used to think of mine as the gorilla in the closet. You don't have to have him in your face all day. Stick him in the closest sometimes! Deal with him only when you have to deal with him.


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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2014, 02:08:20 PM »
Little humor here but I used to think of mine as the gorilla in the closet. You don't have to have him in your face all day. Stick him in the closest sometimes! Deal with him only when you have to deal with him.
Far better to have a gorilla in the closet than an elephant in the room!!

I couldn't resist the "opening". ;)
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Re: Crippling anxiety
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2014, 02:23:17 PM »
Hello lolo!
I was happy to read your primary doc prescribed paxil and xanax.
Paxil takes a bit to work but it will help you sleep well.
Xanax is one to take only when you are in one of those over the top crisis modes. Its very addicting but used sparingly it can help.
I cant add anything to the conversation as the wisdom of the others said all the words I would have used.
Take time to breathe; journal your feelings good or bad and try to focus on the positive things you love about your neighborhood.
Houses do require maintenance and they usually aren't cheap fixes. A home you love is priceless.
Its difficult to deal with health problems in addition to home repairs and all it involves.
Hang in there.
I pray the serenity prayer when I am overwhelmed.
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