I always feel better talking about this, so here goes...when I was 6 I had brain surgery for a benign lesion. I'm the youngest of 4, and my parents had gotten divorced the year earlier. It was pretty serious, and I was in the hospital for at least a month, missing the first part of 1st grade. I have been a hypochondriac ever since. When I was younger, it was a joke with my family and friends, but honestly I stressed out so badly in my head, I made myself sick. A headache was a brain tumor, heartburn was a heart attack, and any type of stomach pain was cancer.
My first panic attack was when I was 18 years old and stupidly smoking pot. I smoked every now and then, but this particular time, I lost it. I made my friend call the ambulance because I thought I was having a heart attack. Needless to say, I stopped smoking pot, but the panic attacks continued through college. I thought I had some type of neorological disorder because it felt when I touched something, it took a split second to register. It was almost like an on-going panic attack. I tried to explain it to my family, but nobody understood and it was pushed aside. I never saw any help, and I dealt with it on my own.
I graduated, moved across the country to CA, and lived panic free for 5 years. I wasn't anxiety free...still the crazy hypochondriac. Then I broke up with my fiance (and boyfriend of 7 years), moved to back to Florida, went into major debt and joined a debt consolidation, became a teacher and had the WORST class imanginable, got into a new exciting relationship, and had a close friend pass away. This all happened in a year and a half. I went to a therapist because I just felt the anxiety building and building, and I didn't want the panic to start again. Then school ended, I went on a family vacation, and I freaked out so bad! I didn't sleep for 3 days. My sister's new boyfriend thought it was him and he was ready to fly home, which added more stress. The whole vacation, I was shut in my room crying and praying to God to get me through the week. For the first time ever in my life, I began to feel depressed and I thought I just couldn't deal with this anymore. My mom was so worried, she took me to the ER. Of course, nothing was wrong, and he gave me a xanax.
I then went to my primary care, who ordered every test imaginable, and gave me a prescription to Paxil. She gave me a high dose, and I think that is the wrong thing to do with Panic because we are already hyper aware of our physical symptoms, and I lost my mind from it. I didn't sleep for 3 days, and had such a huge panic attack, my roommate called my therapist at 9 at night, and the next day I went to a phyciatrist. She took me off Paxil, slowly put me to Zoloft, and gave me colonopins.
It is working well. I still have anxiety, but no more panic. I feel like I am a prisoner in my head, and detached from the rest of the world. I take 1/2 colonopin maybe 2-3 days a week because I don't want to get addicted. I stopped drinking, started yoga, and just really focusing on myself, not to mention my students this year are 10 times more well-behaved (FYI, the entire hallway of teachers are on some type of antidepresants...crazy, huh).
I want to get off medicine. Every one thinks it is too early, but now knowing what I do about Panic, I feel like I can. I also got a workbook called "The panic attack workbook " forgot the author, but I know his website is anxietycoach.com, and it has really really helped. It is amazing to me that people understand this and can say the exact things that run through my head like "What is I go crazy and become institutionalized." They sound so crazy, but it helps so much to know that I'm not the only one in the world who has these thoughts.
Thanks for reading this! I am looking forward to meeting all of you!