Why Am I So Anxious:
Author Clay Ballentine
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Did you ever feel that all you want to do is punch someone out, yell at them or scream for no apparent reason? Have you ever had nights where you could not fall asleep, more energy during the day than you need and hot sweats that are uncontrollable and can’t be stopped? Are you always anxious, can’t wait to do the next thing and have an over abundance of mental and physical energy and you fly off the handle at a single glance? No, you are not crazy, you are not mentally ill, what you might be is a victim of the same thing that author Clay Ballentine and this reviewer are Graves Disease a no holds barred disease that infiltrates your body and shows no mercy until you take measures to stop it. Clay Ballentine, the author of, “ Why Am I So Anxious,” takes the reader on a journey from the time he started school until the present to learn how he battled and still is Graves or Hyper Thyroid Disease.
From the start he knew that something about him was different from the other kids. He would challenge them if they disagreed with his viewpoint. He would defend himself at all costs an anyway he could regardless of the outcome or consequences. Dealing with two parents that were going through a divorce, a father who would rather not deal with him at all and a mother with her own medical issues, Clay managed to rise above it all by being academically smart in school and fantastic at sports. Take a trip with him and read about his years in the Military Academy, High School and his first date. Learn what happens when an illness goes untreated, undiagnosed and the reasons behind creating the National Thyroid Foundation.
Clay spent much of his teenage years taking care of himself and working in different jobs. His internship at an oil manufacturing company helped him to build confidence, develop skills in lying in order to survive and his ability to once again prove that he could make it on his own even though most of the time he felt lonely. The anxiety, the restlessness and the excess energy spent each day he put into the numerous hours he worked, the respect he received from his bosses and the knowledge that he did not have to deal with either of parents for help or support. But, all this time his illness went undiagnosed, the symptoms did not get better, and from personal experience I know they don’t really makes the reader wonder why no one thought send him for medical help.
Careers that changed and opportunities that varied and a disease that consumed his body but not his mind Clay Ballentine with relentless work schedules, self imposed abuse beyond belief and denying to himself and others that anything was wrong, lived until the present life on the edge and never really knew what would happen to him next. Misdiagnosed by doctors, mislead and at times misunderstood, aches and pains that were unexplainable and eating and sleeping disorders that impaired his judgment, temper flair ups and more defined his daily existence and life for 51 years. Where were the right doctors? Where were the guardian angels needed to insist that he got help? Certainly his parents were not supportive or around to notice and if they did nothing was done.
Many years later, serious repercussions, an accident that almost took his life, denying that he was ill and one Dr. Mike who finally put it all together. Thyroid Disease is serious. I know that I have Graves Disease and lived with all of the same symptoms but I was lucky. My doctor includes testing for thyroid disease whenever he checked by cholesterol, blood sugar and other general tests done on a yearly basis. Living with Thyroid disease since I was twelve has not been easy and as Clay described what his sister went through and his struggle I could feel the pain, hear the frustration in his voice and understand his anger at not knowing where to go, what to do or even want to find out the answers. All too often it is the fear of the unknown that prevents us from hearing the truth.
In the final chapters the author comes full circle with his illness, tells the reader how to request the right tests from their doctor, provides a list of the symptoms of this illness and the need for research in this field and making the public more aware of it. Read his story, learn about the disease, read the checklist at the end and decide whether you need to get checked out. Better yet, do it anyway you just might save your own life before it’s too late.
With a wife that supported him, a doctor who cares and the many friends who helped him along the way, our author created the National Thyroid Foundation for children suspected of having this disease but unable to afford the necessary testing. Thanks Clay for giving me the honor of reading and reviewing this outstanding autobiography and resource for everyone. Thyroid disease is serious. Do the research and learn about it. I had hypothyroid disease as a child and now Graves as an adult and have my bloods checked every three months. You should too. Well written, heartbreaking and yet enlightening “Why Am I Anxious?” is a must read for everyone.
Read the letter of request to your doctor as model for what you need to ask for when going for a physical and whatever you do: TELL THE TRUTH!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer