Psychological problems are no more shameful and embarrassing than developing the flu or a toothache. You are not purposely causing your symptoms. You are doing your best to deal with your symptoms but you’re not a trained professional. Most people are not and thus can’t treat themselves.
You were doing great until about four years ago. Try to think back about what may have happened to trigger these problems. If you think about it, there’s probably something that caused a change. Identifying the trigger might provide important insight about what might be wrong.
As you already may recognize, untreated anxiety tends to become worse over time. That’s because people with anxiety disorders tend to inadvertently reinforce their anxiety. It’s called negative reinforcement. In your case, each time you avoid something because of your anxiety, you are inadvertently reinforcing your anxiety. This will cause the anxiety to increase in the future. Avoidance only makes the problem worse.
Highly effective treatments exist for the problems with which you are suffering. You should not hesitate to seek help. Mental health professionals are specifically trained to deal with anxiety and depression. Counseling and medication have both been shown to improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Finally, do your best to refrain from self-criticism. I highly doubt that if you had the flu or a toothache you would refer to yourself as yourself “irresponsible, spoiled or childish.” Mental health problems affect many people, including smart and successful people. Your continued self-criticism might make the process of seeking help more difficult for you. I hope that you make the wise decision to seek help because it is the correct way to deal with this problem. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle