I'm under the impression that I have some sort of clinical, WAY beyond rational fear of being poisoned. My food, my drinks- even the air itself seems to be conspiring to kill me day in and day out. It's begun to interfere with my normal daily life. Is there anything I can do to overcome this? Anything to keep me from staying up half the night on account of panic attacks?
posted by Krazor to health & fitness (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Where to begin? It started out of nowhere about two years ago. Practically overnight. For the life of me, I can't figure out what might have touched it off. In the beginning, it was no more than a bit of silly caution. I got a little bit less comfortable with handling automotive fluids, and heavy cleaning liquids, but nothing serious. Gradually, I've come to the point that I can no longer be near these things.
For some perspective, here's what happened between me and water. It was a private thing at first. Nobody noticed, and I didn't try to hide it. I'd drink tap water at home, but when I went out, I started drinking bottled water when it was available. You know, the kitchen water might not be good. Or the glasses might not be clean. Have some industrial grade (poisonous) dish washing residue on them. Or some guy with a fatal disease breathed on the it in transit (later stages). Then I started filtering my water at home. Some unknown was assuredly poisoning the city water supply, and the only one who was going to be affected by it was me. Then I stopped doing that too. Can't even do water fountains anymore. I'm at the point where I don't drink anything that's not bottled. Especially water. That's a problem because it's A. Unhealthy and B. Expensive. And even then, if I think the water tastes a little off, or the bottle is a little misshapen, or the seal doesn't crack just right, I pitch it. Chemicals might have gotten into a batch at an undeclared incident at the factory.
Food went more or less the same way. It used to be that i'd just be a little wary of certain things on my plate. Even less rational than the water thing. It was never something I could put my finger on- just a general feeling of unease about some random thing I was eating.
I alternate between believeing that people are poisoning me accidentally, or on purpose- which makes things difficult when your girlfriend makes you a cake for your anniversary, and after you take a few bites, you have an anxiety attack in full view of the world. Not that I would have any reason to suspect she would have done that. And then, if she made something later, I'd eat it gladly! No problems at all!
Recently, I've begun to believe less that there is strychnine in my soup, and more that I'm going to be horribly allergic to some ingredient I haven't tried before, which makes me afraid to try new things. That sucks a lot, because trying new foods was one of my favorite hobbies. The other problem I have is with the man-killing bacteria or diseases I dream could be present in my meals. As a result, I'm not eating as much as I probably should be.
Very recently, I've come to believe that any smell that I find unusual in the air is almost certainly a noxious gas that will overwhelm me if I don't get indoors immediately.
These things, I get worked up about, but can ultimately sidestep. (Even if sidestepping them is something ridiculous) The worst of it all comes by night. Sometimes, it happens just as I'm about to go to sleep in my bed. Other times, I'll wake up. And sometimes, I'll just be out and about. The symptoms are always different, but it always ends in a panic attack. My chest tightens, my face feels numb, I feel weak, I cough, feel sick to my stomach, etc., and my mind races trying to figure out what could have done this to me during the day, until I've worked myself up to the point that my head is begging me to go to the emergency room. But I don't. That would be ridiculous. At least run to find someone to freak out to! But I don't want to bug anyone at three in the morning. The only way to remedy this is to stay up until I'm so exhausted that I can't stay awake anymore.
Don't get me started about radiation poisoning.
Okay, now that you have some background, here's the thing: I don't actually believe any of these things. I know they're (mega) irrational, and in my head I know exactly how absurdly I'm acting. I get to the point of hysterics, and there's nothing I can do to stop it, and all the while I'm cursing myself because I know I'm not really poisoned. People who reach out to me tell me as much, but it doesn't help at all. It can't be reasoned with. It defies any sort of concrete logic you throw at it.
I'm trying to get help for it, but it looks like I won't be able to for some time. Does anybody have any tips? Any little thing would be appreciated. I remember when I wasn't like this. I don't want my life to be like this now.