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Question
Posted by: Bron | 2012/01/20

Not sure if I have anxiety

Dear Cs

I have had quite a traumatic childhood, then left home at 17 to work got married at 21 had a baby and did my matric correspondence whilst working. My life has been plagued with unhappines, first childhood (drug addicted stepdad, bipolar mom, felt abandoned many times as I was sent away to live with various people since I was the 3rd wheel in my mom''s new marriage) She always made her problems mine and as a kid I had to be the adult, ie. wash washing, clean, take care of her babies etc. all this started from age 8. I never had a chance to make friends as I attended about 20 different schools throughout my childhood. When I got married I thought things would be better. However 7 years into the marriage my husband had an affair whilst I was pregnant with my 2nd baby. I was devastated and trapped being pregnant and having a four year old, I had no where to go so I had to stick it out living with him. At the same time I found out at my mom''s husband infected her with HIV. She died a few years later, leaving a huge mess to sort out as she did not have a will and had minor children. I spent thousands of rands sort the aftermath things out as well as trying to help her boys etc. Once I started getting out of the debt a few years later, I was involved in a car crash and suffered a brain injury whilst I was studying for a degree. I now have memory loss, gaps in thinking, trouble recalling things, and struggled so badly in the workplace, that I quit. I feel so robbed. I have been to a counsellor to try and work out what is the root of my anxiety, but still suffer from heart palpitations when confronted with a challenging situation, I break out in a sweat, get short of breath and forget what I want to say at times. I have been to a GP who has prescribed Urbanol but I cannot stay on it for the rest of my life. I have started smoking heavily about two packs a day and take Urbanol in between which helps reduce the craving too.
I cannot tell my family how I feel as I am the matriarch of the family and everyone looks up to me as I have a strong personality and am very quick to find solutions to almost everything in life. However, I am stumped by my own problem and cannot seem to find a solution. I have stopped asking God why all this has happened and am starting to accept that Ihave a brain injury. What can I do to get a permanent (non-addictive) medication which will not cloud my thinking or make me moody and lethargic. I have many committments and responsibilities, ie. I help my husband run his business, yet there are days I feel like not getting up and other days I feel like a bright spark ready for any challenge. I never had these problems before and find it difficult to explain to people, actually i am quite embarassed to say I have a brain injury. Who would be able to assist me as the counsellor and I have had about 25 sessions but I still feel anxious

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

What a sad story of undeserved problems thrust upon you. Matriarchs ( and pariarchs ) can find it an additional problem that they are expected to be perfect and cheerful and deal with everyone else's problems, and never to have any themselves, but one should reject such foolosh expectations of others, and give one's own needs priority. Similarly, don't be embarrassed to say you received a brain injury - it wasn't your fault at all, and may help others to be more appropriately sympathetic and helpful.
I would have expected, with clearly defined goals and a counsellor competent in the most verified as efective current method, CBT, 25 sessions should have made a substantial difference.
Waiting for the outcome of the RAF case will of course be stressful, and I hope the result is useful for you.
I have some personal experience of the effects of a severe concussion after a car crash, and find while it's tedious, one can help somewhat by making copious notes ( now I have a note of almost everything, the problem becomes more one of finding the right note among my mountains of notes ). It may be that your anxiety about anticipating memory and comment problems, makes those actually worse than they need be, so learning relaxation will help that.
And now the task becomes one of competing with yourself, to do better than expected at tasks, rather than competing with anyone else. And this isn't a come-down, its actually what we all need to be doing

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Bron | 2012/01/22

Thankyou Maria and Obvious for your comments. I have seen both a Neuro psychologit and Neuro surgeon who have determined (due to RAF claim) that I have problems. The judgement in my case is due sometime this month. I think the outcome is also stressing me out since I am very worried about a stable income for future as as I dont function properly in the workplace anymore and am embarassed to look further for jobs as I would have to disclose my problem. In several jobs after the accident (which require memory and recalling information off the cuff) I have become embarassed when asked questions by seniors or colleauges then having no recollection. Or I end up doing the same report twice as I would forget that I had already done it a week ago, or not being able to find work which I have done and having to redo same. This wastes a lot of time. I have tried all sorts of aids to assist but when I attend meetings and get asked for input I am stumped at times as I cannot remember how to articulate my answers because I had forgotten. Many times I have to look at my notes to revive my memory in order to provide input which is not always practical when in a meeting on a participation level. THis never happened prior to the Accident. I fear for my future as I had big ambitions, but now it seems they are impossible to attain. I would still like to reach my goal in terms of Academics and career, but am finding very hard to stay at the same pace as the rest of the pack.

Reply to Bron
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/01/22

What a sad story of undeserved problems thrust upon you. Matriarchs ( and pariarchs ) can find it an additional problem that they are expected to be perfect and cheerful and deal with everyone else's problems, and never to have any themselves, but one should reject such foolosh expectations of others, and give one's own needs priority. Similarly, don't be embarrassed to say you received a brain injury - it wasn't your fault at all, and may help others to be more appropriately sympathetic and helpful.
I would have expected, with clearly defined goals and a counsellor competent in the most verified as efective current method, CBT, 25 sessions should have made a substantial difference.
Waiting for the outcome of the RAF case will of course be stressful, and I hope the result is useful for you.
I have some personal experience of the effects of a severe concussion after a car crash, and find while it's tedious, one can help somewhat by making copious notes ( now I have a note of almost everything, the problem becomes more one of finding the right note among my mountains of notes ). It may be that your anxiety about anticipating memory and comment problems, makes those actually worse than they need be, so learning relaxation will help that.
And now the task becomes one of competing with yourself, to do better than expected at tasks, rather than competing with anyone else. And this isn't a come-down, its actually what we all need to be doing

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Obvious | 2012/01/21

You can and must share your problems with your family and ask for support. Now is the time to take having given so much to others.

Maria is right to question the value of a GP in this instance............

Reply to Obvious
Posted by: Maria | 2012/01/21

Have you consulted a psychiatrist and/or neurologist? It would be quite important to understand the nature of your injury in order to determine where it fits in with the rest of your history and what impact it might have on your current symptoms. Unfortunately I don''t think a gp is qualified to look holistically at your situation, and while I''m all for counselling it is important in this case to factor in the possible effect of your injury.

You sound like an incredibly strong, compassionate woman who deserves to get some help for yourself. Take care.

Reply to Maria

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