Anxiety disorders run in my family, and the heritable trail seems to run backwards through my mother’s side of the family. Looking back from my professional adult perspective, I could recall examples of generalized anxiety and OCD in adult relatives. Also, there were a fair number of heavy drinkers, which probably served as a form of self-medication for these folks as a way to cope with the anxiety. Various forms of tic disorders were present in the same group, including my mild form of Tourette syndrome, but the latter seem to be associated with OCD and not depression. Depression, though, wasn’t immediately obvious.
I remember an onslaught of OCD when I was in middle school, and I always had a heightened form of generalized anxiety. The Tourette syndrome was more or less in the mix, and that may have had its origins before the OCD. Ironically, I “treated” my own OCD by using a technique called response prevention. I was only around 15 when I started working the process – so I can confidently claim that was probably one of the initial precursors to my interest in psychology. I started devising my own cognitive-behavioral therapy before I even knew there was such a thing. Anyhow, I was able to get the OCD under control, but the generalized anxiety was a stable part of me. Over the years it would rise and fall, but never be debilitating.
Now, though, added to the generalized anxiety (which was also escalating to record levels), came the depression related to my wife’s health. And, to complete the trifecta, a resurgence of tics was occurring. Time for professional help.