Sorry itís a long post.
Thanks for the compliment. It was refreshing to see your post on something that matched my situation.
Unfortunately, the emotional and mental problems have taken a toll on my marriage. My wife has stated that I am not the person she married (I used to be the same personality you described. Funny, fun loving etc.). I became pensive, introverted and serious. Things in marriage are poor and getting poorer. However, I have learned to put my mental health first. I have largely returned to the person I was, with a few modifications in personality. My wife is having trouble bouncing back.
Not sure if it is of any value, but my experience does not suit what is common chatter on the web. I was not comfortable at all taking medications, until the ultimatum came that I either take medication, or cease working. Since I am in recovery from alcoholism and addiction via 12 step programs, the standard advice was to avoid medication especially benzodiazepam. I tried about 15 different medications (mood stabilizers and SSRIís), which decreased my level of functioning. I decided to try Ativan .5mg contrary to therapist advice and recovering peers (but not contrary to my PCP with whom I had honest and forthcoming discourse). I thought I would research the validity of the fears surrounding this medication, and discovered that the benzo stories seemed similar to refer madness (websites with horror stories, that eventually promote a recovery program or SSRI hmmm). I took .5mg daily (contrary to popular opinion, but not contrary to any research). My anxiety decreased. I occasionally took up to 1mg depending on the situation (emphasis on occasionally). I slept better and functioned better according to my colleagues. I took it daily for about 2-3 years and stopped abruptly with virtually no withdrawal at all. I have rarely taken it over the past year. Rarely being .5mg about x4 over the past year.
Here is my personal ďtheoryĒ not substantiated by any research, by the way. I believe that anxiety itself creates its own trauma with bad memories, much like PTSD. Trying to manage the anxiety without a benzo simply increases exposure to the trauma of anxiety, making it worse, bringing about additional pathologies like depression. Instead of increasing my tolerance for anxious situations through progressive exposure, I actually decrease my tolerance due to the association of more and more situations with anxiety. Once I experimented with using Ativan, I instantly noticed that I had an avenue of escape from the extremely unpleasant situation (not escape from reality, but escape from the distorted reality my anxiety was producing). Once I knew I had an escape, the med became less and less necessary, as situations were not so traumatic and hopeless. I used the benzo to free me up to engage in additional forms of help. I believe in a systematic, coordinated approach using peer support and individual therapy, as an adjunct to medication (medication being the adjunct actually). Peer support is interesting because I had to humble myself to associate with individuals stigmatized as weak.
Here is the difference regarding benzos, for me. There is a sub set of individuals who use benzos to ďget high.Ē This brings about tolerance, which creates a need for more. Once a large dose is habituated, the individual no longer is seeking a high, but avoiding the torment of withdrawal. In that case, I believe benzos are devastating, and dangerous. These individuals get the most publicity and attention. However, I also think that the person had a choice to either use the medication according to prescription, or seek a temporary euphoria by abusing it. I simply committed to use mine as prescribed. Not to get high, but to reduce (not eliminate) the anxiety.
I now take Wellbutrin only. I go to a group, and receive therapy once per month. My wife has not been as supportive as yours, which is okay with me. I love her very much, but I can't fix her. She is bitter over the episode.
I donít think doing well financially can alleviate a distortion of fearing becoming broke, so I donít think you are being ridiculous.
Thanks for reading. This is simply my individual and very limited perspective unique to my situation.
Check out "The Worry Cure". It's cheap, short, and a good read.