Anxiety Disorder – How it Ruined My Life and How I Cope With it Now

I suffered severely from anxiety and depression for more than 30 years. It got worse during high school, and even worse later on, as if it were deliberately trying to make my life as miserable as possible. This is my story of great emotional pain, long years of isolation, misery and utter hopelessness and how I gradually found my way out of this dismal tunnel of despair and into the light of wisdom, joy and great relief.

Along with all the problems one usually gets when growing up, the symptoms of panic disorder and not at first knowing what they were, devastated my days at school and ruined my concentration with schoolwork. I would come home completely exhausted, frustrated and unable to concentrate on anything, especially homework. I had a very limited social life and no girlfriends. I suffered for what seemed like an eternity from social anxiety, loneliness, severe acne, mysterious weight loss, and crippling depression. I had an extreme dislike of most kinds of team sports and had a really hard time trying to fit in anywhere. From grade school to high school, I suffered much hazing from others and much rejection and “unrequited love” from members of the opposite sex I felt attracted to, resulting in a vicious cycle of continued social anxiety, resentment of other’s popularity and success, and my overwhelming sense of rejection, isolation and alienation.

The suffering continued through college (where I studied nutrition, psychology, astronomy and especially art) and into my work years. I could only find jobs that were simple and stress free such as gardening, painting and handyman type projects. I finally had a job taking care of an office building with a garden and fountain that required much continuous maintenance and support. I am still working there today.

Throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, I tried in vain to find the cause of my suffering through religions, doctors, psychiatrists, etc. only to be severely disappointed by their “its all in your head” diagnosis! It seemed FAR worse than just “anxiety neurosis” or the later diagnosis of “anxiety disorder”! I couldn’t believe it. I thought I either had to have heart disease, kidney failure, cancer, strokes, tumors, diabetes, lead poisoning, mercury, DDT, or any combination of the above! You name it, It felt like I had it! But, over and over all my tests revealed nothing substantial or really significant, no toxins, no poisons, nothing that made sense or was helpful.

I tried counseling, Christianity, Christian and Religious science, eastern religions, meditation, yoga, and positive thinking for many years, but still my problems only got worse. I started feeling more and more like a nutcase and a good candidate for insanity as more and more of my family and friends gave me the “its all in your head so snap out of it” insult-to-injury “treatment.” Nearly all of my acquaintances had no understanding or sympathy for my chronic problems so they left me alone. I spent most of my time very much alone and isolated. Being with people scared me so much I often had to run to an isolated, quiet room or area where no people were around. I could not fill out any forms or sign my name on my check or credit card receipt in public because I would shake too much. Some of my signatures looked absolutely bizarre and any forms filled out illegible. I went through hell just trying to fill out a simple job application.

Conversations would end abruptly because I kept losing track of what I was going to say next and would have trouble remembering what the other person said. I would have to stop in mid sentence, because I could not complete it, resulting in incredible embarrassment, another anxiety attack, and feeling like an idiot. This mental block would nearly always happen at the worst possible or critical moment such as when having to explain a very serious problem, during an emergency confrontation, or speaking in front of a group of people, resulting in an incredibly severe fear of public speaking and socializing of any kind. Whatever it was, when I needed it the most, I would have it the least!

I also had many physical symptoms too that drove me crazy. My heart kept skipping beats, and/or speeding up and keeping awake all night (especially if on ANY sort of medication), making me think I was having a heart attack. I would often have horrible nightmares then wake up terrified in a cold sweat and total confusion. I would not be able to sleep again until five in the morning. Then I would have to sleep all day to compensate for the nightly insomnia and to cope with the devastating stress, vertigo, and depression. I also felt a great sense of unworthiness, tiredness and fatigue that drove me nuts whenever I needed to get anything done. Expenses would accumulate, and I could never get ahead financially, no matter how hard I fought the overwhelming urge to sleep all the time, especially after eating. Greatly misunderstood, I was considered by others as very lazy, under the influence (even though I NEVER took anything), and a poor achiever or so much “dead wood” as I was unable to support myself. Imagine all this happening while growing up and trying to find my own place in the world!

After a few massive anxiety attacks In 1982, I became almost permanently agoraphobic. In order to avoid terrible panic, I always had to stay within my local neighborhood or within the city limits. This problem was a disaster for dating, and so had to remain lonely. As I grew older, I became more and more angry and cynical about life. I would often get so frustrated that I would lose my temper and break things. I must have thought of a hundred different ways to end my life, so desperate was I to stop the severe emotional pain, but was too afraid to try anything. My life felt like an internal concentration camp or hell on earth. My severe weight loss trying to avoid foods I was “allergic” too even made me look like a concentration camp victim. Nothing I ate would put on weight anyway, it would just go right on through, causing severe gas, bloating and diarrhea. Nothing in my life went right, not even my digestion!

Throughout this time (early 80’s to early 90’s) I tried various medications such as imipramine, xanax, tranxine, and buspar. They were expensive and only gave me very disruptive and embarrassing side-effects with no benefits. In fact, It seemed every medication I tried only made my symptoms (depression, panic attacks, spaciness, memory lapses, vertigo, fatigue, and frightening heart symptoms) much worse, especially the imipramine, which I had to endure two separate trials for 6 weeks. I eventually became so frustrated and upset with medications, I permanently stopped taking them, especially with having to wait for so many weeks for them to “work” only to find they have the opposite effect! This is NOT to discourage others who are trying medications, especially now that there are so many more available that act faster and have fewer side-effects.

Forced in my situation to try something different, I looked into such things as diet, herbs, and alternative medicine. I tried experimenting with diet for many years, but with only limited results that sometimes even seemed to backfire like the drugs did. However, the results were enough to convince me to look even further into the subject of nutritional therapy and to verify if such a thing did in fact exist. By the late 80’s I had finally developed an “Atkins” type diet high in raw fruit/vegetable juices, cooked green vegetables, and complete proteins, such as fish, chicken and organ meats plus many herbal and vitamin supplements. This new diet actually seemed to keep my depression and anxiety under a certain amount of (intermittent) control! As I continued throughout the ’90s to “tinker” around with my diet, because I knew there had to be something to it, I found even more foods that helped and was able to identify foods that did not. No longer was the notion that one could treat emotional problems with just diet a hopeful fantasy! It was real! This bit of encouragement spurred me on with even greater thoroughness, fanaticism and great zeal.

As time went on, the diets I found myself on where more and more vegetarian, with continuing improvement, but there was still much room for more improvement. I started drinking loads of water between meals instead of snacking, which resulted in even more encouraging improvement. I realized snacking was in itself a cause of many food sensitivities, dental problems, and bad mental, emotional and physical reactions that would not otherwise take place if all foods eaten in a day were grouped together in one wholesome, complete meal, while the rest of the day is spent detoxifying on drinking water.

In 1994, I wrote a book about an entire yogic system and lifestyle that’s supposed to lead to bliss, enlightenment and wholeness. Naturally, I become extremely obsessed with my health and what I ate and how I ate for many, many years to come. I would often spend all day in libraries, behind books, etc. (and later the internet) doing intense research on diet, nutrition, and neurochemistry. People avoided me because diet was all I talked about and found it very difficult to get away from the subject. Careful and limited, scientifically guided eating was my saviour and only hope for existence without fear and crippling depression.

At the end of April, in the year 2000, I transitioned over to an “oval-vegetarian”100% raw food diet (including raw eggs, bee pollen, nuts, seed and spiralina, fruits, greens, vegetables, herbs, etc.) with even more improvement in my overall health and mental well-being. I have ever since disliked the practice of cooking (destroying) good food, and eating meat & pasteurized/homogenized dairy products. I still felt anxious and agoraphobic, but everything seemed easier to manage and had much better luck with meditation and yoga. There is also a very significant “spiritual awakening” side to my life story.

My next big breakthrough came in with the discovery of negatively (charged) ionized (alkalized) “microwater” while searching on the internet for a good substitute for a powerful, but expensive antioxidant (Microhydrin) I was presently experimenting with. In the beginning of May, in the year 2002, I set up a water ionizer next to my kitchen sink and started drinking loads and loads of the most delicious water I ever tasted in my life, thinking this was going to help stop the aging process and help me feel a little better. It seemed to do everything and more. I was fascinated in how this simple machine could turn mere tap water into seemingly endless amounts of the most useful, valuable, healing, powerful, free-radical deactivating and purifying fluid I ever drank, actually replacing some of the food and antioxidants I used to need and therefore reducing my weekly organic and health food grocery bill by 50% or more. It enabled me to fast for even longer periods between meals, giving me even greater health and freedom from fear, depression and from not having to do all those tasks associated with food and its preparation as often. It was no problem whatsoever living on one meal a day, because with the ionized water, that was all I needed. I no longer had any more digestive or “allergic” problems and I gained some weight too for the first time in my life!

Most importantly, negatively ionized water has actually reduced my anxiety, fatigue and depression quite significantly, to the point I no longer even feel it! There is a scientific explanation for this: when filtered water is charged with the negative side of a platinum-coated electrode (cathode) its pH (power of hydrogen) is increased usually from around a pH of 6.5 up to 9 or 10. Being “microwater” or water that clumps together in units of 5 molecules each instead of the usual 12 or so water molecules per cluster (as with regular non-ionized water) it can hydrate living tissue much more thoroughly, and dissolve and transport nutrients much more efficiently than any other form of water. It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts as a buffer for metabolic by-products such as lactic acid which has been scientifically proven to be the most likely cause of common anxiety disorders. In other words, my brain was too acidic, and at first, the alkalinity naturally present in most raw foods helped to neutralize some of this acidity, creating some improvement. But this very alkaline, negatively ionized water, has really helped. The ionized water combined with my 100% super-food diet, special adaptogenic herbs, antioxidants, pure moral lifestyle, etc. all work together to turn my depression and anxiety into just pure bliss! All the physical symptoms, such as rapid and skipping heartbeats, etc. I used to have, have completely disappeared.

The only draw-back was having to drink massive amounts of it every day and there were still other aspects of my health and anxiety that kept coming back to haunt me. As wonderful as ionized water is and in spite of the fact I continue to this day to use ionized water and never intend to stop using it, there was still something more to be desired. In the past when it seemed to not work as well as it should, I would either put two ionizers together and double the amount of ionization and/or add a special powder with may in fact be the most powerful antioxidant ever invented, and sure enough, I would find it very satisfying. However, the first idea proved to be somewhat awkward putting two units in line with one another because the amount of water pressure needed to run the second unit was often higher than can be provided by the first, and the amounts of that special powder needed, at roughly $200 for 4 oz., was too hard to maintain financially.

All this research finally lead me to another great breakthrough in more fully understanding my condition and more direct treatments in 2008: The deep significance of alkalinity, that I realized that everything all along was trying to lead to more and more raw, alkaline-forming diet, antioxidants, stress reducing herbs, algae, and minerals. Apart from having to find treatment for other life-long complications such as pyroluria and adrenal exhaustion I found the main underlying condition of all my nervousness had to be oversensitivity to acidic dietary and metabolic waste which all the antioxidants, ionized water and raw, alkaline forming foods I was benefiting from all along was neutralizing and alleviating. All this knowledge and other research lead me to the conclusion that why not add vast amounts more alkaline-forming minerals such as the very inexpensive dolomite to my ionized water and coral calcium to my raw food diet that’s already part of my daily regimen? I tried this and found even more astounding results: for instance, the dolomite mixed in with my ionized water seemed to double, triple, even quadruple its beneficent effects exactly as if I had not only run tap water through two ionizers, but also just as if I had added the same amount of dolomite as Microhydrin, however dolomite, a very inexpensive, widely available, pure white mineral powder, is many, many times less expensive and provided much needed calcium and magnesium in the right proportions which are two of the same alkalizing electrolytes present in ionized water! The other three electrolytes are potassium, sodium, and chlorine. I will now be adding some potassium to this mixture along with a pinch of sea salt to complete the electrolyte balance and see if any more improvements take place.

Everyone’s situation is unique, so I can’t guarantee the same improvements I enjoy from a 100% super-food diet, herbs, supplements, alkaline minerals, and antioxidant water, etc. Also, my story and physiological explanations for my recovery are much more complicated than what I can write down within the limited space I am allowed here. What I know for sure, however, is it is possible to benefit tremendously from ionized water, super-food diets, and uncooked, mainly alkaline-forming, whole vegetarian food with an adequate source of complete protein. I have found in my experience, correct nutritional therapy is essential to healing regardless of what condition one may be suffering from.