I am going to use my blog as a sounding board for an idea. I gladly welcome comments on what I write over the next few posts and with permission would like to use relevant stories. If you post a comment please bear in mind it may end up published elsewhere.
I have decided to write an e-book about panic disorder.
While this book is a ‘left field’ look at what I have figured out about me, it may just work for you to. I invite you to listen to my story and take what’s useful and leave what’s not behind.
As far as panic disorder is concerned, my expertise on the subject is entirely experiential. I have no medical qualifications, so if you decide to try out any of my ideas, please at least check with your doctor whether the advice you are about to read here is suitable for you.
So what does make me an expert?
What did I experience?
I have Asperger Syndrome!
I am not apologising for it, blaming anyone, or looking for sympathy.
This is my blessing, my gift and I want to share it with you.
As a man with Aspergers, I am quite sensitive to loud sound, bright light and certain textures and smells.
My sensitivity to these things goes hand in hand with the level of stress in my life at any given time.
While some loud sounds will literally make me jump out of my skin and others will have me looking around to find out their source, the overall din of the world eventually takes its toll on me and a steady stream of adrenalin will find its way into my system, changing the way I perceive things and changing my tolerance to people, particularly in social situations.
It is as if a pressure valve blows and once fully opened, adrenalin floods my system until I can find solace again.
Once my senses get overloaded I start to go into what the doctors call a “fight or flight” reaction.
This has been happening in various degrees for over forty years…
Fortunately, I have a paradoxical reaction to many kinds of drugs, both prescription and recreational.
Because I never know quite what to expect, I can end up having a bit of a rough time. Drugs that are supposed to make me feel better have a tendency to make me feel worse, even borderline psychotic.
I have tried pretty much everything I thought would help and now…
I realise that I am probably still here because my system rejected many of the things my best friends got addicted to, even died taking.
So, these days, I eat a diet of super foods and avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, pharmaceutical and recreational drugs.
And, I have considerable expertise in the area of anxiety.
If I had a pound for every time I had anxiety, I would probably be a multi-millionaire.
My doctor recorded me as being an anxious child when I was just two years old and things eventually came to a head when I was in my mid twenties and I was diagnosed with panic disorder in 1989.
What I couldn’t understand was that any of my friends who had panic attacks, got better relatively quickly, within a few years they were functioning perfectly normally. Yet no matter what I did, I continued to have pretty much the same problem that attributed to me leaving college at sixteen.
I have a very new take on it now, some of which I have spoken about in my other book The Logic Of Attraction.
Anxiety has taken various different forms throughout my life, even to the point that it is no coincidence that childhood bronchitis ceased to be a problem when I started smoking.
To a certain extent, I could create the illness at will.
If there was a particularly difficult test or sporting event coming up, I would literally get sick and be off school.
Obviously there were times when I didn’t consciously choose to be ill; however looking back on it I often wonder if bronchitis was partially caused by anxiety.
As I became a teenager, I started to feel uncomfortable about and conscious of perspiration.
I felt like I was going to wet myself a lot of the time. I also had migraines, shy bladder and thought I was growing breasts.
I had several different vicious circles of thought I could get caught up in.
I left home when I was eighteen and didn’t fair at all well.
Caffeine and nicotine fuelled migraines and I ended up on an ECG in casualty a number of times when I thought I was having a heart attack.
I generally felt very paranoid and disconnected and coped with most things if I was drunk.
I moved to London when I was nineteen and took a lot of different drugs.
My main problem was that my reactions to anything I took were wildly different to everyone else’s and I generally didn’t enjoy myself. I vaguely remember Ritalin helped me function as did opiates.
By the time I was twenty one I was totally dysfunctional.
I was an odd gothic punk figure shuffling round Brixton in the same leather trousers day in day out and no shoes.
When I look back at my medical notes, I have actually been treated for anxiety since 1981.
It’s a long and harrowing story which includes worrying about shouting things out loud at people, thinking I have said things I haven’t, worrying about harming others, worrying about worrying about worrying and if I tell it all, this will cease to be inspirational. I don’t want to take you back there, I want to take you forward. Forward into possibility. The possibility of a solution and a future.
Where somehow I managed, I now have a story to tell. Where somehow I survived, I am now free.
See you on the other side of the looking glass,