Also known as Productive Pessimism

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I may have mentioned before about how I'm a little bit crazy. I believe there's probably a more politically correct term, but since I'm speaking exclusively about myself and not about a generalized group of people, I'm going to go with crazy. Or as The Fiance calls it, "bat-shit crazy." Because I am, and I'm at peace with it.

I do not suffer from extra voices in my head (I'd never listen to them anyway), nor multiple personalities, no, I have a good old fashioned anxiety problem. Realistically speaking there are only a few things that trigger the anxiety, but they're pretty highly irrational and for some reason this leads people to think I need help.

For example, if I was on the 2nd story of a building and you said something to the effect of "Katie, if you stay in this room you will develop a stomach virus and will vomit. But if you jump out the window right now you will almost certainly break at least one of your legs, but your stomach will be spared" I would probably have been two-thirds of the way out the window by the time you were finished (although that more begs the question of why you'd say something like that to me, but let's set that aside for the sake of the crazy). Yes, this is irrational, however, being aware of that and in control of it are two very different things. I am the mayor of the former and the latter is soaking somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.

I have several more specific vomit fears (vomiting on someone in a small room/car, vomiting in public, etc), but I also have a rather legitimate anxiety issue with drunk people, which, in New Orleans, I'm sure you can imagine, is quite convenient. This fear is one I developed after being sexually assaulted by my then very drunk boyfriend (previous referred to as Drunk Hands McGee). Being around drunk people just makes my skin crawl and that makes me not very fun at parties. (And just think about the calamity that would be drunk people vomiting, that my friends is what we call Public Enemy #1)

Now this anxiety is not all bad. In fact, CNN had an article where they called it "productive pessimism" which I think is perfect. See, I plot out all the bad possibilities and then prepare for them. By worrying. And worrying about worrying. Such that I worry so much that I end up feeling like I'm going to vomit about 90% of the time which just keeps that circle of anxiety going around and around and around.

I take a pretty pill each night which keeps the crazy in check and then I have a prescription of faster (and shorter) acting crazy pills I can take when I've worried myself into a panic attack, and this works for me. I have no great desire to tackle these fears, frankly it's good for my waistline a lot of the time (ha, joking!). But as I mentioned before, my primary care physician isn't okay with it, so on Friday I'll be seeing a psychiatrist. Not a psychologist, no, we wouldn't want to get Katie into therapy, we just need to get someone else to write the prescription for sanity.

And can I just say how much I do not want to go? I've been to therapy a number of times and I always just feel like a big idiot the entire time I'm there. It probably doesn't help much that the last time I was in therapy I was recovering from an eating disorder and the therapist commented that I wasn't "THAT skinny." Yea, that's helping, thanks.

I envision Friday's appointment going swimmingly until I tell her that my anxiety is fueled by a fear of vomiting and drunk people, and upon her hearing that I fully expect her to laugh in my face and throw me out without any pills. And you can tell me that it's nothing that a psychiatrist hasn't heard, but I highly doubt that anyone has walked into a psychiatrist's office asking for anxiety medication due to a severe fear of vomiting.


the queen said...

No one takes psychiatric meds for fun. Why would a doctor not prescribe them?

Anonymous said...

I have a vomit phobia. It stems from my Dad getting trashed and puking in the garbage disposal in the mornings, as we only had one bathroom. So, yes, also a touch of the drunk phobia.

Any irrational fear that limits your life is worthy of medical (psych) treatment. Shrinks are like anything else, some are better than others and there are assholes out there. Likely if the vomit phobia causes you that much trouble, it's just the "bucket" in which you put your other anxieties.

I have panic disorder, and once I described the panic attacks, the hyper-vigilance and the constant sense of impeding doom, I left with a script for Zoloft (40mg daily) and Xanax (.25mg every four hours). The psych made me go into therapy, where I learned coping mechanisms and management of the disorder. I quit therapy for awhile but I'm back now, because as lame as it all seems, therapy helps, and I can't afford any more of the crazy than absolutely necessary.

Lanny said...

My husband calls me a hurl-a-phobe. Does that tell you anything about my extreme fear of vomiting?

It's bad. Very bad.

Good luck tomorrow!

kim-d said...

Right off the top of my head, the only truly-anxiety-producing fear I have is running out of Zoloft. THAT thought terrifies me. Yeah, 150 mg. per day and I need and want every bit of it. My doctor, thankfully, has never suggested I see a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. I know what my problem(s) is/are and all the talking in the world won't do anything for it. My guess is also that he's figured out he's doing good just to get me in to see him once a year, much less suggesting another doctor that I won't see. I don't have anything against mental health professionals, and I think it's a fine idea. If that's what you want and if you think it will help. I just also think that if a person doesn't want to do it and doesn't think it will help or even if they don't want it to help, it's a waste of time and money. I don't know much about it, but it seems to me if it's just a matter of making you go for the Rx's, that's kinda...I don't know...dumb? It's just my opinion, but I think you should only have to go if you want to. You're the only one who knows that, not some doctor who just doesn't want to give you a prescription anymore. Tell The Fiance to hurry up and be a doctor. We need more good ones.