What I would consider to be major events in my mental well-being:
roughly 2002 - began experiencing panic attacks, increased depression
2004 - lost my ability to sleep naturally
You should know that, right off the bat, I am not really sure why I am writing this. I guess it is a last ditch effort for some sort of worthwhile advice. At this point I feel like I have exhausted much of the possible fixes for my problem.
I am generally a very stressed out person. My base line is way off from most people I know. Whenever a friend or coworker tells me they are stressed and describes it to me, it seems like that is how I feel all the time with a few extra symptoms thrown in.
I don't really feel it is necessary to talk about all the strange experiences I have had as a result of my mental condition. Instead I will give just a very brief summary.
I don't sleep without the aid of a strong dose of a medication of some sort. I have been awake for several days at a time already and know how reality altering sleep deprivation can be. Right now, 300mg of Trazodone is what konks me out. Medications that are commonly prescribed as sleep remedies generally have no effect on me at all. Ambien is fantastic, as it sucks the anxiety right out of me, but I developed a tolerance to it after about a month.
My moods are usually all over the place. Some days, I am grumpy about the fact that everything is wrong with the world. On these days I truly believe that everyone else around me is a fool and that no one can do anything right. It isn't until a day or two later (or sometimes months later) that I realize how horrible I have been and I start to calm down a little. Now that I have experienced this a few times, I can usually identify when it is happening and try to get out of that rut.
Mental fog is with me most days. I tend to make dumb mistakes and cant seem to figure things out. Thing is, I am not a dumb person. I am college educated, and can think very clearly at times.
Over the last 10 or so years, I have literally been to roughly a dozen or more psychiatrists. Probably just as many counselors. After 5 or 6 visits to a counselor, I always get the feeling that they don't quite know what to do for me. Probably 5 of them have told me that my problem is my job, and that I should find somewhere else to work. Trouble is, every time I would go to another job a different counselor would tell me the same thing.
As far as shrinks go, I have had several of them tell me that they are not sure about what other medication cocktails to try that I haven't already been on. Oh man, I have been on a lot of stuff and a lot of different combinations. Benzos help me a lot, but I got heavily addicted to them. I was taking the maximum dose of Klonopin 4 or 5 times a day. Every time a doctor would cut me off, I would just go to another doctor to get my fix. These days I am on 200mg Zoloft, which does seem to help somewhat. The constant anxiety/worry/panic is almost always still there, though.
What do I worry about? Everything. Anything you can think of that one could possibly worry about, I worry about. I do my best to mentally walk away from some things but, you can only do that so much.
Beer is my friend lately. After I went through the horrible benzo withdraw, it became apparent that I needed a little more help to just function and get through the day. Coming home at the end of the day and having a few beers really helps. Its not like it is a problem. On the days where I don't feel as keyed up, I don't have any desire to drink at all. I don't drink to get drunk. In fact I hate getting drunk. I drink to feel normal.
In addition to therapy and shrinks, I have also tried acupuncture (which was a waste of my money), all sorts of OTC herbs, and meditation. Hardly anything helps at all.
I don't have any particularly traumatic events in my past that I know of. My current job is great and not very stressful at all. I am happily married to an intelligent and understanding woman. Yet, the anxiety is always there.
My health insurance sucks, and doesn't cover any shrinks anywhere even close to me. Not that it really matters though. I am pretty sick of the whole medical establishment at this point. Seems all a modern doctor can do is randomly try things and see what works and what doesn't. So now what? All I can hope for is some new wonder treatment in the future...