Hey Y’all!

My name’s Joe and I'm a Mental Health Journalist based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Through my struggles with anxiety, depression, trauma and addiction, I wish to show others, that everyone is capable of improving their circumstances.

I'm sharing my story, as an experiment, to see if it is possible live a life of health, wellness, and happiness.

Memoirs of an Anxious Man: The Worst Panic Attack I ever had

An Anxious Realtor

Up until recently, I hadn't had a panic attack since 2012 when I was working as a Realtor. At the time I was having panic attacks regularly and during the worst of it I wouldn't be able to leave my office for hours, due to the fear and paralysis.

I had begun to seek treatment for social anxiety and had just been diagnosed with Severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Severe Social Anxiety Disorder. I had been attending a support group at UBC and had also started anti-anxiety medication.

The panic attacks started happening with more frequency as I approached bankruptcy and had not made a sale in over a year. I couldn't stand to look at myself or bank account statements. I could not face friends or family, let alone my common-law girlfriend, now my wife. And I was not equipped with the skills to deal with co-workers without experiencing pangs of fear, panic and dread.

The Worst Panic Attack of my Life

There was one afternoon in particular, that I guess, in hindsight set me down a better path. However, that afternoon was amongst the worst experiences of my life and I wouldn't wish it upon my enemies.

I had to use the washroom after lunch in the early afternoon. However, after a co-worker made a cutting remark towards me (they were typical as I was the laughing stock of the Brokerage) it sent my mind racing into a frenzied loop, and the ensuing panic attack left me frozen...trapped in my office...literally paralyzed. There wasn't a scenario in my mind where I could leave my office safely without, being berated or tormented by my peers...so I remained...imprisoned in my office for hours.

I didn't move until close to 8:00 at night when everyone had left. Only then did the sheer terror slowly begin to dissipate. I finally mustered the courage to call my wife and meekly, wimpered and sobbed my tale to her. After she calmed me down, I finally went to the washroom, pissed, washed my face and made my way home to her.

Too Many Pills

The next day I went to the doctor to say if she could help in any way. She ended up prescribing me some atavin in case of the panic attack situation ever occurred. Atavin is not even really a pill, it's a tiny, tiny tablet that dissolves under your tongue and although it does take away the panic it really makes you feel relaxed and euphoric. She told me to use it in case of panic attacks, in emergency situations, as it is potent and she warned me it can be addictive. I was already taking a daily dose of Mirtazapine which I still take today. I had already switched off of Venlaxafine as a daily medication that helps with depression and anxiety because that prescription made me feel sick and high all the time.

I remember taking a pill before I went back to the office that day. Although I felt, good- too good- heading into the  office I also felt dissociated of what was going on around me which was odd for me. I could see how this could easily become a crutch to escape from my feelings. I had been susceptible to addiction before with marijuana, and ecstasy and I often drank alcohol with no limits, until I was vomiting or unconscious, as many of my friends can attest.

I remember thinking, " Man I'm sick of taking pills as my only solution...not too mention all the side effects."

I Began Thought Tracking

When I went in to work the day after that, I made a decision to really evaluate my thoughts or continue down the path of self medicating to suffer through the pain and drudgery of life.  The whole morning I tracked my thoughts almost down to the minute.

What I discovered shocked me.

What I wrote was crazy...every minute literally was spent thinking negatively...disastrous things.

"I hate myself""I hate this life""Whats' the point?" "I"m going bankrupt" " I hate that guy" "Why am I such a loser" "I'm so scared" "What if I have to say something?" "What if somebody else shows up to the meeting?" "I can't talk to her. She'll think I'm weird" "Why is the weather so bad?" "I hate my boss."

It went on and on and on...minute upon minute...infinitely... this mental hell. I had been living like this my whole life.

Wake Up

As I dig through my journals and logs now looking for those pages (if I can find them I'll scan them for this blog)...I realize that was a big turning point in my life. Having seen my thoughts written out for a day...line upon line of toxicity - poison spew...I realized how fucked up I was. I realized if anyone continued this perpetual negative thinking there would be no way to feel true joy in life.

Over the course of the next few months, things began to shift for me, or rather, I began to shift my life in a different direction. I don't need to tell you my life's story now. Hopefully, this blog isn't going anywhere so there will be memoirs to come.

I guess I just want people in the world to know that they aren't the only ones with problems...and that they can be helped...and things can improve. I am not alone...I'm beginning to realize how loved I am. And how many people really give a fuck about me.

You aren't alone either. At the very least, you have me. Whoever you are. Where ever you are.

Journal Entry: July 21, 2013 - Work Dread

Mental Exercise #1 - Colours