We All Have It

“We all have it – me, Dad, our brother – and probably you – anxiety runs in the family.”

Ah, how the little brother can sometimes speak the truth when others cannot.

We had been talking about his new anti-anxiety meds.  Actually, I called because our parents celebrate 40 years together this weekend, and I wanted to know the plans.  It led to a discussion about how great his new meds are.

“Why the new meds?” I asked.

“Was sick of the penis problems. Went to the doc and told him we needed to fix this. Humping myself for 12 hrs without release was starting to become a problem.”

TMI, little bro, TMI.

After that insight into my brother’s penis, he launched into a lecture about how we all have problems with anxiety.  My dad does for sure. His brother does. I knew that because the man was a shut-in until I turned 20 when the magic pill combo resulted in him leaving the house for the first time in almost 20 years.

One of his sons has it too as does his daughter.  

Dad got it post-heart attack when he battled it for 18 months.

My grandma definitely had it. She was particular about many things  – particular in an anxious way.

I guess my other brother battles it at times.

It was funny when my brother commented that I probably have it too.

Because I do.

I’m unmedicated because I can manage it.  But as he went through the ways he and my dad display anxiety, I totally saw myself in it.  Sleep?  Nope – not me. I’m nocturnal.  Napping? Nope, rarely do it even if I’m exhausted.  My brain gets in the way.  He went through the list of things he does – and I do some of them to one degree or another.

“Do you ever get into situations where you are climbing the walls until you can get out?”

Hell yes.  And if I’m hormonal (aka PMS), I cannot manage it. I avoid or have to leave.  I can’t do it.  I pace. I can’t sit still. I feel trapped.  Even if there is no reason for me to feel that way.  I can’t help it.

“And we all self medicate. Why do you think we have a beer or two in certain situations – or beforehand?”

No wonder there. There are times a drink is necessary as it slows my brain to a point where I won’t freak out.  Thankfully, I’m not like others in the family where once in a blue moon needs become constant ones.

I admitted he had me pegged too.  The difference I have is that I can control it.  I didn’t tell him that my senior year in college was when it was at its worse.  My friends at college were closer than my family at that point, yet I remember dropping my brother off at his college and driving 3 more hours – crying the whole way.  At the time I attributed it to me being sick.  I had been battling a stomach virus that had irritated my stomach to the point where I couldn’t get rid of it.  Took my 8 weeks to get rid of it – and only after my brother (who had the same thing) suggested I try some OTC medicine that worked for him.  After a month of finally feeling better, I was hit with 2 sinus infections that messed with me further.  I was a physical and emotional mess.

What turned it around? Exercise and diet.  For me, that has always been the key. Running allowed me to truly run from it and keep it away as did eating well. Never got me to total normal, but got me more than functional. In the end, it is what keeps me from talking to a doctor about it.  I know what I need to do to trigger the right chemicals to put it back in balance. If only the others had it so easy.

After I got off the phone with my brother, I told G that I guess I truly needed to add to the list of issues on my dad’s side of the family.  “We’ll add it under heart, cholesterol, stroke, high blood pressure, acid reflux, and diabetes.”

What a thing to bond over.

What do you think?