Anxiety - A Brilliant Personal Description of Hell

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer… It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you.”
Anaïs Nin

This is a raw first-hand experience of an individual with a severe chronic anxiety disorder or rather just about every symptom of anxiety you could name. Though he does not mention DP and DR he touches upon just about every symptom I have had since childhood. This is a Hell in and of itself. A constant state of anxiety wears you down, and no you can’t “snap out of it.”

Read the entire article HERE.

Surviving Anxiety
“I’ve tried therapy, drugs, and booze. Here’s how I came to terms with the nation's most common mental illness.”
Scott Stossel
Dec 22 2013, 9:25 PM ET
The Atlantic

“I wish I could say that my anxiety is a recent development, or that it is limited to public speaking. It’s not. My wedding was accompanied by sweating so torrential that it soaked through my clothes and by shakes so severe that I had to lean on my bride at the altar, so as not to collapse. At the birth of our first child, the nurses had to briefly stop ministering to my wife, who was in the throes of labor, to attend to me as I turned pale and keeled over. I’ve abandoned dates; walked out of exams; and had breakdowns during job interviews, plane flights, train trips, and car rides, and simply walking down the street. On ordinary days, doing ordinary things—reading a book, lying in bed, talking on the phone, sitting in a meeting, playing tennis—I have thousands of times been stricken by a pervasive sense of existential dread and been beset by nausea, vertigo, shaking, and a panoply of other physical symptoms. In these instances, I have sometimes been convinced that death, or something somehow worse, was imminent.

Even when not actively afflicted by such acute episodes, I am buffeted by worry: about my health and my family members’ health; about finances; about work; about the rattle in my car and the dripping in my basement; about the encroachment of old age and the inevitability of death; about everything and nothing. Sometimes this worry gets transmuted into low-grade physical discomfort—stomachaches, headaches, dizziness, pains in my arms and legs—or a general malaise, as though I have mononucleosis or the flu. At various times, I have developed anxiety-induced difficulties breathing, swallowing, even walking; these difficulties then become obsessions, consuming all of my thinking.”


"Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Depersonalization and Dizziness

My depersonalization experience has always been accompanied by dizzy spells. Before my DP/DR “took over” I woke up one morning feeling horribly dizzy and off-balance. Over the years I have heard DP sufferers mention dizziness as well. I have also had bouts of serious vertigo that come and go “out of the blue.”

I recently found this current article indicating this is probably not a coincidence, and may not simply be associated with anxiety. I also recall (though I will have to verify this) that the DSM-III mentioned dizziness as a symptom of depersonalization disorder.

I hope for replication of this study and dissemination of this critical information which could lead to further understanding and treatment.

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Jul;201(7):629-35. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182982995.
Depersonalization experiences are strongly associated with dizziness and vertigo symptoms leading to increased health care consumption in the German general population.
Tschan R, Wiltink J, Adler J, Beutel ME, Michal M.

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

This study investigated the association of depersonalization (DP) experiences with dizziness and its impact on subjective impairment and health care use.

Trained interviewers surveyed a representative sample of 1287 persons using standardized self-rating questionnaires on dizziness, DP, and mental distress. Symptoms of dizziness were reported by 15.8% (n = 201). Thereof, 62.7% endorsed at least one symptom of DP, 40% reported impairment by symptoms of DP, and 8.5% reported clinically significant DP.

Regression analyses identified DP as a significant, independent predictor for dizziness symptom severity, health care use, and impairment by dizziness. With regard to the Vertigo Symptom Scale, DP explained 34.1% (p < 0.001) of the variance for severity of symptoms of dysfunction in the balance system. In conclusion, symptoms of DP, highly prevalent in patients complaining of dizziness and vertigo, were independently associated with increased impairment and health care use.

The presence of DP symptoms should actively be explored in patients complaining of dizziness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]