Panic Attacks & Anxiety
Well, what a subject this is.
I think we either suffer from it or have a friend, family member or colleague who suffers. We all know someone who suffers with panic attacks and anxiety.
This is subject very close to my heart and I feel very passionate about this subject.
My story goes…
In 2012 I started suffering with panic attacks, they started off very small when I was in busy environments. I would feel a small feeling in my chest and my heart would feel weird, sort of like heart palpitations, my body would just feel extremely strange, I would just want to get out of the place I was in. I would then feel fine but a little confused as to what just happened.
I continued to ignore this as I just thought it was nothing.
Later on that year I was driving on a motorway with one of my friends. I started to feel very strange, my eyes went weird and I couldn’t see very well, heart palpitations, tight chest, I felt like I couldn’t breath. Which was not safe as we were driving on a very busy motorway.
Luckily I was with my friend, she tried to keep me calm and kept passing me water. I pulled off the motorway and pulled over in a side road. I called my mum freaking out, she said her and my sister were going to come and get us. Thankfully!
Ever since this day my life has never been the same since!
The panic attacks got worse, I was now having 10-20 panic attacks a day. Which as you can imagine is incredibly exhausting.
I got signed off work, I had to eventually leave my job, I got my car taken off the road as I could not face driving.
I became scared of the outside world and would not leave the house let alone my bed.
I felt so scared and confused with what was happening to me.
I eventually went to the doctors, I was diagnosed with panic disorder, severe anxiety, OCD, Agoraphobia and claustrophobia.
I was prescribed medication (anti-depressants and diazepam) to try and help with everything that I was dealing with mentally.
Once I was diagnosed I did start to feel better and more at ease as now I could research what was going on and have more of an understanding, also to teach my self how to get better.
The anti-depressants made me feel horrific for 2 weeks then the side effects wore off. After going to the doctors and freaking out as to why I was feeling worse, the doctor advised me to be persistent. I stuck with it and within a little while I did feel better.
As time went on the panic attacks eased up, I was able to leave the house again, I felt more like myself and like the 22 year old I should have been feeling. Don’t get me wrong I still couldn’t do a lot of things like go to a bar with my friends, cinema and general day to day things. Going in to a supermarket was hard work. I really used to have to work my self up to go in.
I started to have counselling from the NHS over the phone (CBT Therapy). I really did not enjoy that approach, I found it hard to connect with a councillor over the phone, in the end I stopped using the service as I thought it was unhelpful for me. I needed more.
I started to have face to face counselling with a private councillor. I loved seeing her and she was very helpful and made me feel like a normal human again.
I did have NHS CBT therapy again, face to face this time . I found it very hard to connect with the councillor and I didn’t really like the approach he had, so I decided to stop having the sessions.
I then moved areas and had to find a new councillor, who I connected with and she worked with me towards different plans I had coming up. She would teach me how to think and we would do a lot of writing down of scenarios and how to face them & how to get round feeling severely anxious. She was great but she decided to stop being a councillor as she had reached her time with it and wanted to move on.
Very recently I have a had a bad patch of anxiety. I couldn’t work, couldn’t drive, couldn’t socialize, but slowly and surely I am getting back to my old self. I think these things are going to happen which is so frustrating. With the help of my counsellor, medication and self help I am feeling a lot better. I am also about to start having CBT Therapy again with the NHS hopefully I will feel like this counsellor is right for me and has the right approach. I think having 2 types of counselling will really benefit me at the moment and hopefully get me feeling as anxiety free as possible.
I now have a new private councillor, I have only had one session so far but i really enjoyed it and felt like I connected well with her. Hopefully she can bring me lots of tips, techniques and positivity.
I wanted to write my story and let people know all about it as mental health is such an unspoken about subject and I really hate that. A lot of people seem to just brush it under the rug. Please get it out there and engage with others. I find once I speak about it to people they have similar experiences, you would never have known that person feels exactly the same way you do. I am very open about my anxiety and make it aware in situations that I don’t feel comfortable in. I just feel like this makes it easier for me to deal with inside if others around me know how I feel. I hate the feeling of anxiety being all in my body and I cannot tell someone, it makes it a lot worse. Don’t forget 1 in 10 people suffer with panic and anxiety so next time you’re in a busy place, look around and think I am not alone in this, it might bring you some kind of comfort knowing that.
Stay positive x