Anxiety: It Sucks.

Posted by on July 27, 2008

You know, I make jokes, semi-jokes, about being crazy but the fact is, I’ve suffered from bouts of depression since I was 20 years old. Back then they didn’t push antidepressants like they do now. In fact, I remember my therapist asking me if I wanted to try them but when she told me the side effects I was all OH HAIL NO!!!! and she was fine with that.

She was my first therapist and the only one I didn’t quit after a few visits. Really, I liked going there twice a week. She was nice and I, away at college, was kind of floundering at that point in my life and really very much in need of a maternal figure. My mom had only been gone for seven years and there was a ton of unworked through stuff that I needed to deal with and that was where I did a lot of it.

Eventually, with lots of talk therapy, I got better and stopped seeing Helen (I actually really kind of quit seeing her for a BOY. How much do I suck?) and I didn’t have any depressive episodes for a long time.

The next one kicked in a few years after I got married and was so clearly tied to my hormones. Unfortunately doctors find it easier to give you a scrip for Zoloft than to investigate the real problem so on and off I went about two or three more times over the next ten years (not including postpartum depression, which deserved it’s very own category, subtitled HELL)

The thing is, when I joke about ‘the crazy’, it’s really not the depression I’m talking about. I find depression to be wholly unpleasant but there is nothing crazy about it. You’re depressed. You usually know it. You think it sucks. You either get help or you don’t.

The crazy to which I refer is a hot little bundle of evil called anxiety. Anxiety IS THE CRAZY, in my humble opinion. And I’d never had anxiety before so I just didn’t understand how freaking wacky it can make you.

My BFF knows because when I had my first really bad experience with anxiety about 4-5 months ago, she was the one I called and bawled to on the phone. I’m pretty sure I was inconsolable and not making a whole lot of sense.

To clarify, it is, for me, a bit like a light switch. It switches on and you start to crumble and when you finally figure out that it’s your goddamn period causing it and then, out of nowhere, it’s just gone. Switched off. And you wonder how on earth you could have ever felt so freaking nuts because now? You feel perfectly fine.

The following month I finally caved and took the doctor-prescribed Xanax I’ve had for a while and it helped. I need to stop being so afraid of it and just take it when I start feeling anxious because what happens if I don’t is I get caught in this infinite loop of guilt and self-recrimination and regret and it’s just…horrible. There is no other word for it.

I just wish I didn’t have to deal with this at all. I feel like there’s got to be something I can do to prevent it but I honestly don’t know what it is.


To those of you who left those beautiful, kind, amazing comments of support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sometimes, there is honestly nothing that can talk the crazy down better than knowing that people understand and in some cases, KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. To the letter.

I know that to you it’s just a comment, not unlike one you would make to any person who was having a rough time, but to me, it was compassion personified. Thank you.


  • I don’t suffer from depression anymore, but I have had attacks of anxiety, so I know the crazy of which you speak. Believe it or not, Ambien does that to me, so when I have trouble sleeping, I just gut it out for a few days rather than popping that pill because I can’t face the anxiety.

    I can totally empathize not having a “cooperative” health insurance company. I hate dealing with them about treatments and medications. They can’t seem to understand that generics don’t always work they way name-brand drugs do. All they know is the bottom dollar.

  • mojavi says:

    I think your doctor can perscribe you welbutrin and put NO SUBSTITUTION on the script and they have to fill it that way legally and cover it. Call your doctor.

  • From your friendly loving drug dealer…I gots the REAL STUFF! I tried to quit smoking….stop judging me, I can hear it already!….and it started to work and then didn’t. So, now I’m still smoking and I have mass amounts of Wellbutrin in my kitchen, which, my friend…you can HAVE! If you don’t mind taking second hand drugs.

    In reading that whole paragraph, I realize I’m a little weird. But, girl, say the word and the bottles are yours.


  • Jennifer says:

    I started having attacks of what I call THE CRAZY about a year ago. Never had them before and would really, really like them to stop. I feel like they’re tied to my cycle as well.
    My MIL went through the same shit with her prescriptions when her insurance changed. They took her off Wellbutrin also. The we lost her for a couple of days. Couldn’t find her. Took off in the car without a word to anyone. Thank the gods she’s back on it.
    I will hope for you that your insurance comes around and agrees to approve the medication you NEED to be healthy.

  • madgetastic says:

    United Healthcare is a small subsidiary of the parent company otherwise known as Satan’s Lair, The Fiery Depths or, more commonly, HELL.

  • Oh my god, United health care sucks. We had them for a while and I wanted to strangle every. last. person who worked for them.

    I hope you can get some resolution with them. I agree with having your doctor contact them for you.

  • MLD says:

    I could have written your post. The reason I could no longer take Wellbutrin was my dad died suddenly of a brain aneurysm and was on it….and the two CAN be related. So I was off. But the thing I found that worked (after several througout the last 15 years) was Lexapro. That stuff is the best med that ever happened to me :) Talk to your DR. There are so many options out there, it’s not OK to suffer through it. And postpartum depression? Seriously is hell.(((((HUGS)))))

  • Cathy says:

    Crazy is a great way to describe anxiety. We have United, too, and they are AWFUL. I recently got a letter from them wanting me to switch to the generic version of Cymbalta. I ignored, and after reading your post, I’m glad I did.

  • Izzy says:

    I should clarify that United will allow me to get whatever medication I want because I pay full price and out-of-pocket no matter what I get.

    The problem is that they won’t apply the $250 I spend every month towards my $2500 deductible.

    IF they did, I would have met my deductible in about 7-8 months and EVERYTHING, including my foot would have been covered by them.

    However, right now, if I spend $250 a month, not one red cent goes toward our deductible. So really, it’s costing $800 per month for our premium + $250 a month for the Wellbutrin.

    That’s $1050 EVERY MONTH to keep me sane and none the closer to meeting that deductible. (The whole health savings account thing is a total racket, in case you haven’t noticed)

    And yes, I’ve already had my doctor tell them I need the name brand. They, NOT being medical doctors or anything, decided it was in everyone’s best interest (read: THEIR best interest) to deny the appeal.

  • Ashley says:

    Oh, how I get this. Anxiety is a MENACE. I find it’s situational, too. Like if I have too much time for self-contemplation? Bad news. Hang in there! Goddamn insurance companies.

  • amanda says:

    I am so sorry. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for my health insurance coverage and the advocacy of my employer in ensuring that we get the best deal. This freaking blows.

    I hope things improve, financially and emotionally!

  • Tina says:

    I can handle the PMSy stuff (which I never had until I was nearly 40! and started with perimenopause) – that’s something my family has more trouble dealing with than I do (keeps them on their toes), but the anxiety, you’re right, is the truly awful part. And having a FEMALE doctor tell you its all in your head? Hubby held me back because he could see I wanted to hurt her. Badly.

    Having to fight an insurance company for the med you and your doctor both know is right for you? Infuriating.

    Luckily, I found a female doctor who is a bit older than I am, smart, competent, and who has been there. She’s wonderful – and willing to help fight the insurance company when necessary.

    Hang in there and don’t give up the fight – these freaking damn *&)*%$ insurance companies…I HATE them. And I’m going to hate them worse tomorrow because I have a stack of medical bills on my desk I have to match up with the Explanations of Benefits to see how much we owe. I’ve been putting it off because I’m too damn scared to do it.

    And I got my first hot flash yesterday.

    Ain’t life grand?

  • margalit says:

    I recently had a problem with a generic form of one of my heart medications and ended up at the hospital for a bit. When I told one of my cardiologists I thought the generic medication wasn’t working correctly, she wrote a new prescription for the brand name drug. If your doctor writes “No substitutions” on the prescriptions the health insurance company HAS to honor it by law.

    I’ve had United Health Care and I agree with you, they TOTALLY suck. Worst insurance company ever.

  • catnip says:

    No advice here, just wanted to commiserate about how much the heath care system and specifically, insurance companies, suck. Suck, suck, suck.

  • Reading your post was like thinking today. It’s like you read my mind. I am not feeling the anxiety today, but the depression. VERY BADLY. I have PCOS and PMDD which basically means my hormones are a freaking mess. I completely know where you are coming from and because of this, I send you hugs. Lots and Lots of hugs.

  • Kia says:

    Ugh. I hope you find a way to get some coverage for the real stuff. I’ve been on a (huge) variety of anti-depressants and I can’t imagine not being able to get the ones that actually work!

  • Erika Jurney says:

    Health insurance companies suck donkey balls. Mine denies everything ‘unusual’ by calling it experimental. I’m sorry yours is giving you such a hard time. I like to daydream about the special place in hell that is set aside for them. xoxoxo.

  • Velma says:

    Hang in there! It sucks, I know. I KNOW. {{hugs}}

  • Erin says:

    Gosh do I know how you feel. No pearls of wisdom here. I’m trying to get off the slide now before I find myself back in the depths of it.

  • Maria says:

    United healthcare is awful!

    I don’t really have any advice. But I have eyes to read whatever you need to get out, and fingers to type support. :)

  • piglet says:

    i’m thinking you are totally worth that type of compassion.

  • Corinna says:

    You have been there for me when I was the one freaking out on the phone. This is one of the things that friends are for.

    Everybody wants to be a giving type of person. If there was no one to receive we would all go crazy.

    Love you big time.

  • Jen M says:

    I work at a hospital and I can attest to the EVILS OF UNITED HEALTHCARE. They suck Period.

    Hope you’re feeling great today.

  • lynette says:

    Well I don’t have any depression, but I DO have anxiety and so I know how you feel. But I never heard it described that way…and I have to say, ain’t it the truth? When I do something fueled by my anxiety, I just say I did it ’cause I’m crazy. And I’m happy to know I’m not the only person who feels this way.

    Hope today’s a good day!

  • chris says:

    In general all Health Care insurance suck! I hear you about the your bouts with depression. My oldest daughter goes through the same thing and we sometimes joke about just to soften the blow.

  • Babybloomr says:

    Wellbutrin is a great, works just right for me– but I did have about a 4-5 month run with the generic and I TOTALLY felt a difference. My depression started creeping back in (with me, it mainly just manifests as going emotionally flatline). I read an article that said that in most cases, generic equivalents are fine but Wellbutrin was a glaring exception. I got my doc to write a ‘no substitution’ script and I returned to normal. It’s not your imagination!

  • cheryl says:

    I just came upon your blog yesterday and it has been haunting me ever since…I am on the generic Wellbutrin and have been getting more and more anxious and crabby (lovely) over the last few months. I even added a low dosage of Prozac (you know how pills beget more pills).

    I Googled your statement and it’s really true!! plus it is said it can make you gain weight…although I could lose a few lbs I am up to a DD bra and I am under 5′. I am like the Lost in Space robot trying to move my arms.

    I have recently begun reading about angels and their messages – hmm. I am glad I heard this one. Thank you. If misery loves company I think you have a bunch of women standing around you saying Amen.

  • cheryl says:

    I just called my insurance company; sure I can get the brand name if the doctor requests it. It will be $156 for three months vs. $5 for three months.

    Ahh, the value of being a pleasant person……..

  • Tiffani says:

    You and your readers are invited you to join The Buoy for Perinatal Blues Online Community!

    Women & families need a buoy to hold onto during the difficult journey until they can see the beacon of light that will indeed shine.

    By joining the community, you can help other women by sharing your blog and so much more…

    I look forward to seeing you there.


    Tiffani Lawton

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