Another day in Paradise!



I have had two anxiety attacks within the past month. To be honest, it is getting out of hand.  Between the long hours of work, MIL situation, and high stress, my mental health is taking its toll on me.


The first anxiety attack happened as I watched Kobe Bryant’s last game. It wasn’t because I was sad he was leaving the game of basketball, more so due to the fact that I felt like I was in sheer terror. Sometimes, I can be in the middle of a conversation, and I get a paralyzing fear of everything. Nothing in particular sets it off. I have been to the emergency room twice within a year. Only to leave with papers that tell me I am completely fine.

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The first paralyzing attack happened while I was watching the Laker game. Noticing a change in my body language, my wife asked me if I was okay. That prompted me to break down in tears, having a meltdown for no apparent reason. I know that I have an anxiety issue. My real issue is how I will deal with it. The second anxiety attack that was horrid, happened while taking my wife through a drive-thru. The fear of impending doom, left me in a state of apoplectic shock. I was totally disoriented. There felt like these invisible walls closing in on my chest, heart palpitations, that made me want to jump out of my car and run away screaming. I just could not take it. As I practiced my breathing exercises, I mustered enough courage to push my way through the trivial task. I couldn’t figure out what happened. So I ended up vomiting when I got home, only to go to E.R., with advice from a hotline nurse from the hospital.


I walked in fine, jovial and all with no malingering.  They took me in immediately after explaining my symptoms. This was about 11:30 pm and they were telling me that there was a six hour wait. I willfully agreed and sat down after getting my vitals checked. I must have waited 3 and 1/2 hours before getting checked out. Falling in out of sleep, only to be bothered by the nearest push-door to be opened by nurses and security guards. My mind focused on my breathing, while contemplating the possible outcome of some dire result that would confirm my worst fears. Toddlers and young children bursted through that push-door, as concerned parents coddled their crying seed. I witnessed a young African-American woman, similar to my age, festering resentment for having to wait “six-hours” to be seen. Speaking on the phone with her mother, she complained “They want me to wait six fucking hours! Girl, its already 1 o’clock. I gotta put my daughter to sleep”. Bleary-eyed and confused, I awoke to the cacophony of noises. Averting my gaze, as if I was not to appear too nosey, I listened in.  Her 4 year old daughter, wearing a cast on her fragile arm, became irritable due to the mixture of  fatigue  and  frustration of a mysterious pain in her arm.  The child was incessantly whining in the background, as the mother tried to soothe her daughter and hold a conversation. Between the loud speaker on her earpiece, and the hollow space of the four walls that surrounded us, I made out a voice who I assumed to be her mother. “Just grab your shit and go back home, come back at six in the morning. They will hold your spot and you could pick up where you left off!! You aint gots ta wait!”the voice on the phone said. Emboldened by the encouraging words, the mother laid her daughter in the cramped hospital seat, as she approached a nearby nurse. She explained the plan and the nurse unwaveringly said, “Once you leave, you have to start from scratch, I am so sorry, but that is not how it works.” To her chagrin, she became disgruntled and slouched with a defeated body language. Only to grab her frustrated toddler and return the next morning. 5 minutes later another woman interrupted my sleep. An overweight dark-skinned African-American woman who was in her late thirties sat across from me.


She spoke loud on her telephone, cursing and grunting. Upset that she was not receiving the expedient service she wanted. She held her stomach as she winced in pain. She blared out, “How long have ya’ll been already waiting?!” I told her a couple of hours, and she became irate at me, as if it were my fault. The cacophonies and door-slamming continued, only to be awoken by a nurse who would escort me into an emergency dorm room. The doctor checked all of my vitals, and explained to me that what I was experiencing was more psychiatric than anything else. My numbers were well and everything was on point. This was what I knew would be most likely the case. Relieved and disappointed, I grabbed my patient belongings and headed back home.


Anxiety disorder is an issue that I have been dealing with for quite some time. I believe that anxiety is somewhat of a natural human characteristic. The original Sapiens, had anxiety when hunting in pre-historic Sabertooth Tiger territory. Sapiens were both predator and prey, in a world that was far different from ours. Anxiety is a natural feeling to have, it can actually help in certain instances. My problem is that I cannot control my anxiety. It gets out of hand. I try to mask the symptoms as they occur, but usually my body language says everything. I don’t know what to do. Due to the fear mongering of a lot of homeopathic activists, who also have blogs, I become very leery on taking drugs, only to find out that I am solely dependent on Zoloft of Prozac for the rest of my life. I have read stories of impotence, brain zaps, nervous tics, and lack of sleep as side effects of the drug. I do not want to go down that path. There are other ways to allay anxiety, however, it would be hard to accomplish those things while working 12-14 hours a day.


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Depression and Anxiety struggles no one understands

Inexplicable mood swings

One of the problems that people with depression deal with is random mood swings. One morning, you may wake up and feel like are going to deal with a challenging day but can deal with it. Other days you will wake up and feel like the apocalypse is beckoning you to come outside. It will be a struggle to deal with the most trivial matters, and no one will understand why you seem “out of it”. It will be days when you are loquacious and clear minded, and other days when you will be completely anti-social and introverted.

Triggers and cues

You are sitting down watching the nightly news, and hear the death announcement of a childhood TV personality you idolized. You recognize that the celebrity is close in age to your parents and you start to immerse your thoughts into mortality and death. The death of your parents starts haunting you, because you are in constant fear of them passing away. The TV news program was a trigger to ignite your anxiety disorder and place you into fear. Adults are extensions of our younger selves. So, the phobias we never get over become stuck inside our mind. It is the reason why that JaRule and Ashanti track that happened to come on your Pandora stream made you think of the high school sweetheart that broke your heart. Or the smell of that clearance bottle of J-Lo perfume at Burlington Coat Factory, takes you back to a bad date you had in 2006. A person with anxiety will become sensitized,  to any fear causing trigger that most people wouldn’t recognize.

Overeating or Lack of appetite

Depression can drag your stomach size way down, or make your waistline explode. Most people don’t think of food as a drug. It is a running punchline for people who are overweight that they are eating their emotions, but it is true. Fat, salt, sugar are three of the most emotional sensations of pleasure to the human mind.  Sugar is akin to cocaine, setting off the same receptors of dopamine in the brain. Food companies know it, so they add sugar and corn syrup to boost sales. A person may not have the money to buy a Lamborghini and a mansion. But he or she will most certainly have enough money to go through a drive-thru to get some fast food. The stresses of life can seem like they disappear when you are eating a pint of ice cream. On the other end of the spectrum, life can be so down and out that you find no enjoyment in anything. Eating is not something you feel that you have to do to live. If you eat something for the day, cool. If not, no problem. You can barely remember the last time you ate something, because life is just…whatever. When food is offered, you respectfully decline and move on with your day.

Suppressed Emotions

You want to reach out and get help. You want to talk to a professional or good friend to purge your emotions. The issue is that EVERYONE has problems. Your problems are no better than his or hers in the bystander’s mind. “Someone out there has it way worst than you and me, my friend!!” one acquaintance may surmise. “Why don’t you just snap out of it?” another friend may say. In their mind, you are a person who can overcome these thoughts with some Tony Robbins affirmations. If you are a man, you are supposed to be this log-chopping, car mechanic, motorcycle riding, stereotypical brute who can tough any issue out like a REAL man. What usually follows is some nostalgic story of the obnoxious friend or acquaintance’s father or grandfather, who were “REAL MEN”. They dealt with REAL issues like the depression and post-war. Not this pansy “new-age” Millenial bullshit. If you are a woman, the acquaintance may take the news like its a competition of “who has it worse?” She probably will commence to talk about her divorced friend who has 3 children and is successful now, and she had it way worse than you. You should be anything but depressed because you have NO REASON TO BE. So there you are, privately offended at the impudence of the friend or relative you decided to share it with. Stuck with the recommendation of a Tony Robbins, or Joel Osteen book, you sit there and wallow in self pity. “No one cares to hear about my problems”, you conclude.

The voice in your head

This voice is the worst son of a gun that you wish never existed. He has been with you ever since the bullies teased you in grade school. He was the asshole that prevented you from talking to girls and making friends. He talks very loud and disrespectful when you stand in front of a mirror, slandering your reason to exist, and pointing at every flaw not edible for American culture. He or she is the reason you will never start a business and be successful, because you are the worst example of a breathing creature. Most people can hear the voice and ignore it. Other folks hear it and use it to make improvements. The fourth group, is the most irritating of all, they imagine there is no such voice within them and they (allegedly) kick its ass every time it comes near. This is a voice you will most likely never get rid of and will have to accept for most of your life, until you can finally get the help you need.