Anxiety and the Multiplictic Sclerictic!

by : Jon Wegner

I wrote an article about anxiety about 3 weeks ago and this is the second installment of my anxiety series. To refresh you memories I suffered from my first anxiety attack way back in 1985 when I was the manager of a health club in southern Minnesota. Life was looking good for me but at the time of the attack I didn't know what an anxiety attack was. I'd heard of them but it was never a concern for me. Or so I thought.

I stayed in the health club business until 1987. My favorite owner had went bankrupt and the new owner taking charge was OK but he knew nothing of the health club business. I could see myself getting squeezed out of a job so I retired before I got released from my duties. So I moved to Minneapolis, bounced around a couple of menial jobs and in 1989 started a carpet cleaning business.

One of my menial jobs was as a carpet cleaner. I was also selling some carpet cleaning jobs. After doing this for five months I decided that if I can clean and sell for another person I could certainly clean and sell for myself. I decided in May of 1988 I would borrow $30,000 and get a state of the art truck mounted carpet cleaning van! I was nervous as you might expect. I didn't have one job lined up to clean but I had a fancy brand new truck to clean with. lol

I didn't really know the finer things about carpet cleaning but I winged it. I ended up winging it for five years until my anxiety and multiple sclerosis made the decision to sell and get out while I still had some health. At the peak of my business I had four other men cleaning carpets for me around the clock. This allowed me to stay in the office and do marketing and scheduling for the business. Things were going well!

But I remember one particular day in the late summer of 1991. I'll never forget it! This was the first anxiety related problem that I remember having since my health club days. I'd just gotten diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in July of 1991 so it must have been early August when this anxiety attack occurred. I did alot of driving for my carpet cleaning business because I had to give potential customers bids on their jobs. I concentrated mainly on restaurants and apartment building cleaning.

On this particular day I was driving to a bid when all of a sudden the strangest thing happened. It felt like someone had lit a match to my toes. The tingly feeling went from my toes to my feet and continued up my legs. It then went to my belly, upper body, neck and finally my head! It felt like I was on fire but I wasn't! I remember it felt so strange that I pulled off to the side of the road. The strange feelings ended in about 15 minutes. My mind was whirring with ideas and thoughts about what this could be?

I didn't know what had just happened to me. I remember thinking to myself, "if this is my MS then MS isn't going to be much fun"! I had a very easy workday on that particuliar day so I made the executive decision to take the rest of the day off. I went home and layed down and just rested and watched TV for the rest of the day. I made sure my employees were cleaning the carpets that I'd already scheduled to clean and I just relaxed! I also remember a cold sweat, some tingling and being light headed. I never thought that an axiety attack had just occurred.

Back in 1991 people didn't know much about anxiety attacks. But in hindsight that is what I'd had. I rested for a couple of hours and started to feel better. I stayed at home that day wondering what part of multiple sclerosis this was and if I would always have attacks like this for the rest of my life! None of the MS doctors I'd talked to or things I'd read about MS ever said anything like this would happen. What the heck could this have been?

As I sat there mulling this over all I was doing was making my anxiety problem grow even more. It wouldn't be a problem for the rest of that day. However, soon afterward I would have other anxiety attacks. I still didn't know what they were or why it was happening to me!

It wasn't until I saw an MS counselor later that fall that told me about nervous illness or anxiety attacks that I became aware of what was happening to me. I also learned about something that would be a part of my life that I still argue with to this day! I have so many more anxiety stories to tell so stay tuned for more to come.