8 years ago I had my first panic attack. Today, I have not had a panic attack in 3 years.
This is my story, I hope it gives you a piece of something that you may be looking for.
I can write pages and pages in regards to my ordeal with anxiety and depression, but I will keep this short and sweet.
My first panic attack hit me like a lightning bolt of death. I had no idea what it was, and honestly believed I was dying. Because of this, I was thrown into a severe depression with panic disorder. The following morning, my vision was blurry. It remained that way for a month. I got to the point where I did not believe anything was real.
Then one day I was listening to an audio tape of "The Power of Positive Thinking." It was my glimmer of hope that made me feel for a split second that there is more to my existence than the black hole of nothingness I had been stuck in. I desperately clung to the hope that when I returned to school from winter break, which I spent in a complete state of depression and not on this planet, suddenly things would get better.
Slowly but surely, just the motions of returning to school, people I knew talking to me, finding out online that I had had a panic attack rather than a near-death experience, and the world and time continuing on with or without me, I was day by day getting better. My sight returned to normal, things stopped looking fake, I stopped feeling like a skeleton wrapped in a hazy cloud. It took me a long time to be able to trust reality again, to trust that things are real.
That episode was severe, and I have yet to come across anything similar experience by others.
My anxiety did continue, my depression continued although very mild compared to the extreme month I had, and panic attacks continued. I did ALOT of research. It helped, but not enough. I ended up in a very bad, unhealthy relationship. The end of it was the last drop, and I experienced an episode of what I later would be diagnosed with as Chronic Ulcerative Colitis. For an entire week, I couldn't eat, couldn't hold anything down, couldn't leave my bed, and I lost ten pounds. I've often dealt with stomach issues, my anxiety and my stomach aggravate each other into a 'vicious cycle', I'm sure you've heard the term before. But this was nothing like it, it was so terrible. Again, I honestly believed I wouldn't live to see another day. I was in and out of hospitals, doctors, etc. Eventually I was diagnosed and put on medicine. 9 pills a day for colitis.
I did not want to just tolerate my life, I was tired of fear seeping through my pores.
I went to a therapist. It was the best decision of my life.
After 5 therapists, I finally found one I actually liked.
Not long afterwards, I went on Celexa. (Mind you, I also had a phobia of any kind of drugs, so this was a monumental step for me.) Again, one of the best decisions of my life.
2 years later I decided I don't want to spend my life on Celexa, with some insistent familial 'persuasion', I went off it. Was that a good decision? I'm not a hundred percent sure yet. It has been at least six months since I have stopped taking it, maybe a year. I have not had a panic attack since I started taking it. I am also happy to report that I have not had another episode of colitis since the first one. I have not been to the hospital in a long, long time either! The best thing about Celexa was that I was so used to living in fear, I had no idea what it was like to live 'normally,' and Celexa showed me what I did not know. It's like when you are grinding your teeth, but you don't even realize it because you are doing it subconsciously, then someone tells you to stop grinding your teeth, and you stop. Going to therapy while on Celexa was a major help, and continuing therapy for a long time can only help me. I have walked a long, difficult road, filled with ups and downs and struggles, but I have been determined to change myself for the better. I want to live; and I want to live a happy, productive, meaningful life.