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Never give up

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014
I guess this is my story. It's been a long and dark road, so I think the first part of my story might not be very uplifting, but it ends on a positive note, so I hope that's ok.
Last Updated ( Friday, 28 November 2014 )
 

It WILL get better

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Hello, I have had very severe panic attacks since I was 19 years-old. At the height of the problem they would just cycle on and off, going on for days until I was past exhausted. I went for treatment and now they are so much better. The worse I get is chest pains. They are scary, awful, and life changing. But people do get better. You think it is not possible but it happens. I used DBT therapy and medication. Not having a fear of panic is key. Just let it "wave" over you and do the best you can for the time. It will run its course, you will be exhausted. However, you will have survived. The more this happens the better a person gets.

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 November 2014 )
 

This is what panic feels like to me

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Monday, 04 August 2014

This is what panic feels like. The text comes from my husband – he has a headache so bad he is on the verge of being sick. I write back words of sympathy and ask if he needs anything. No response. Twenty minutes pass. No response. I think it’s odd that it would take him so long to write back. I wonder if maybe something happened?

And now we’re off to the races. Instantly I’m thinking he’s had a stroke or some kind of infarction or whatever the doctors call it when you get a headache and then you die. Instantly my heart begins racing. I cannot stop picturing him, paralyzed and twitching, wishing I would come home so I can call a doctor and save him. I cannot stop picturing myself arriving home to find him dead. I cannot stop picturing my life unraveling from there – the call to his mother, the call to my mother, the shocked horror on the faces of my friends as they bring me tea and try to say something, anything, but there’s nothing they can say, so we sit in silence and marinate in the bleak reality of mortality, the dead emptiness of my newly bereft future spreading out like ink over the plans I’ve made for the two of us, the sick, horrible feeling of despair, the desire to wake up from a nightmare. My heart is still racing. All of this has taken about fifteen seconds – to go from normal concern to overwhelming fear. Still no text response. I decide I must go home and check, just to be sure, just to alleviate the fear, just because if he’s dead I should know about it as soon as possible. I pack up my things. I write a quick to-do list. Does this make sense if I actually believe it’s real? Of course not – I don’t really believe it – my thinking brain knows this behavior is irrational – why else make a to-do list, set myself up to be productive after the madness has passed, except if I don’t really believe it’s real? But I can tell you without a doubt that while my mind knows this is insane, my body believes it is utterly real.

This is something anxious people know: adrenaline is a dangerous drug.

 I race out of the building. I try to calm myself down. “Now, I’m going to the car. I’m doing everything I can. Now, I am driving the car. I will get home soon. He’s fine, he’s watching TV, he’s not looking at his phone, everything is fine. Picture him fine, watching TV. No, no STOP, do not picture him dead and cold. He’s fine, he’s warm and swaddled in a blanket and yes, ok, he has a headache, but that does not mean he’s dying, jeezus get your shit together.” I drive and drive and I come to a stop light and holyshitIcan’tfuckingsithereanymore and then I pull out my phone expecting nothing and there it is – a response. “I’m fine. Suffering through it. Watching Netflix.”

Oh thank god.  Here is the evidence that the panic wasn’t worth it, that I overreacted, that there is no cause for alarm. Here is the piece of information you needed in order to calm down: he is not dead. Dead people do not send text messages. But why is my body still on alert? Why does it still feel like my healthy 31-year-old husband might just possibly be dying? Why don’t I feel a flood of relief, other than the intellectual exercise of acknowledging his continued existence – why isn’t the feeling there? What is wrong with my chemistry that I can’t even take this evidence and use it to stop the racing heart, the shaking hands, the persistent belief that the world is ending and I need to run, sprint, dashquickasyoucan away from the oncoming disaster – or towards it, to confirm that it is real – either way?

I drive aimlessly, no need to go home anymore, my destination eliminated, I am unmoored. I drive around the block. I don’t know where to go. My jaw is clenched and my shoulders feel tight. I realize I’m saying aloud, over and over, “I just need to breathe and chill the fuck out. I just need to breathe. Yep, I need to breathe and calm down.” I realize I am not following my own instructions.

What a wonder, that my subconscious mind can send me a message in this way, that it can hijack my talking-parts and use them to send me a simple directive, that it knows the answer, that it knows the way back to sanity. What a wonder, that I could forget to perform this basic function in the first place.

I take a deep breath. Then another. Then another. This usually works. I just need to give it time. Another.  And then suddenly it’s working, the subtle alchemy of bile and adrenaline breaking down and disappearing under an onslaught of oxygen. It’s not exactly a feeling of relief – more a sense of the barrage being over. The lull between cannon blasts. This is what panic feels like: I am under a protracted siege. I am faintly embarrassed, I mean what kind of crazy person leaves work without notice because her husband got a headache and she assumed he was in the final throes of death, I mean come on, you’re a grown up. Hold it together. But I am also vaguely aware that I have survived something horrible, something that was outside of my control, and that I am going to have to go on surviving it for the rest of my life, and this round actually went pretty well, all things considered, and maybe it was good practice for the next round. So in that sense I’m kind of proud. Those thirty minutes were terrible, it’s true, but hey, I got through it. It’s possible to get through it.

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 November 2014 )
 

Sometimes I Dream

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Thursday, 10 April 2014
This story will probably be updated from time to time as I remember to add things I have forgotten or new things come up.  However; The start of the story is a dream I had the other night it is not real and it is not something likely to become reality but from the dream came the story and the way of telling the story and so I hope whoever reads this realizes that I've suffered with this for almost 16 years and have lived and survived and you can too!
Last Updated ( Friday, 28 November 2014 )
 

Derealization

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

When people look at me today, they would never guess that not too long ago I quietly suffered from anxiety that impacted everything I did. On the outside, I suppose I looked normal. Perhaps someone who got stressed out rather easily or a little too intense sometimes. Inside, however, I was perpetually tense and on edge. 

 To be honest, I don't like the term "Survivor." It gives off the impression that people with anxiety (and/or it's various spin-offs) are up against a monster and it will take a monumental effort to break free. This is not the truth. 

While I would be lying if I said the journey to a life with non-troublesome levels of anxiety is easy, it is not nearly as hard as you may have come to believe. There will be tough times and you may well face self-doubt. That's okay. Go easy on yourself and trust that you're making progress every day . Because guess what, no matter what you're facing and how desperate it may seem, you've hung in there this far. You're still alive, almost none of your worries have come true and whether you realize it or not, you're making progress to the life you want to live by learning lessons consciously or unconsciously. Once your anxiety levels drop, you will be so grateful for everything you faced. 

Please read my story and if you have any questions/need advice/feel helpless etc, please feel free to email me. I suffered from GAD, panic attacks, derealization and depersonalization. My concepts apply across the board with anxiety though. 

My story is long and I may not have gone into the required level of detail. However, if you email me, I can try and help you with your specific problems by going into the finer aspects.  

My email is: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 November 2014 )
 

It was the 60's

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Friday, 27 December 2013

It was 1971, I turned 20 and three days later I was wandering around London with basically no money.  For the previous 5 years I was doing what basically so many others of that time were doing; smoking a lot of pot, Hash, and doing LSD with a smattering of cocaine, Opium, and sniffing cleaning fluid. I feel pretty sure that what was to come was somewhat brought on by this history.  At 15 when I was in school we were getting stoned all the time.  I would get on the train to go home and that is really when it all began.  I did't understand any of it, but there was a really long ride between 2 stops.  125th st to 59th st.  This is NYC by the way.  And that is when I started to feel faint, terrified, clammy with increased heart rate.  That was my introduction to freaking out.  Call it what you will.  For many years to come the only time I felt these things were when I was stoned.  When I was 21 and living in California I had an affair with a married  man.  His wife was having an affair with his brother-in-law.  What can I say....it was the 70's.  It felt so cool!  What I didn't think about was what would become of this whole thing. and sure enough he went back to his wife.  And so began the beginning of my panic attacks.  Now, I really had no idea what was going on.  I had no works to explain the terrible panic i was experiencing and no one to turn to.  so what did I do.  I left the country and returned to Europe with the panic growing and growing and my life becoming more and more limited.  Finally a year later while sitting in a cafe in Athens trying to read Zorba the Greek in Greek I kind of, and I don't know how to  explain it but it was as if you are crossing the street and it's too late to turn back.  I knew my life would never be the same.  What I was to realize later, was that I was having a "nervous breakdown".  It would be a long road back.  I managed to get medications in Athens.  One pill for anxiety and one for depression.  Once I figured out the dose they did help, till a friend told me they were addictive and I should stop.  By that time my family has sent me a return open ticket to come home.  I stopped the meds and within a day or so I was completely crazed; ran down to the airlines and booked an immediate flight home. It was when I arrived back in NY that my real problems were to start.  My mom took me to a hospital where I was given a drug that I was to later learn was Thorazine. My mom took me shopping and while in a singer Sewing machine the medication started to work.  I completey went crazy.  my mom took me back to the hospital where I was put into a Dr.'s office and given a shot of who knows what, except that now I couldn't talk or move.  They couldnt't admit me to the hospital because I was no longer covered or something like that.  so there I lay on the Dr.s table unable to talk or move.  I was finally sent home.  It was a Friday.  My mother was to go and apply for Medicaid and SSI back whenit wasn't so hard to get it.  I began therapy which did nothing and couldn't take medication because the only thing they had to give me was either Thorazine or Stellazine and I was terrified of them.  I moved back in with my folks, slept with my mom, took baths all day long and drank herbal tea, sometimes just praying to die but to scared to take my own life.  I was 24 years old and I thought my life was over.  But little by little there would be a ray of light and I could go out for a walk.  My parents lived in Coney Island and I could go and sit at the beach.  This was a really good thing. Anyway I seemed to get better over the next couple of years, returned to school and went on with my life.  For at least 30 years I was basically okay until Menopause when the old Panicky feelings returned.  I thought I had returned to hell.  I couldn't believe that this was coming back, but so it did and with a vengence.  The difference this time was at least there were new meds: SSRI's . I tried to fight it but I couldn't so I started on Lexapro which really did save my life and stayed on it till about 6 months ago when I weaned myself off using the liquid Escatalipram.  It really wasn't that awful.  I did it so slowly, which is very doable when you have the liquid, that I never suffered any withdrawal.

 Now here I am and it's starting all over again.  I have a large supply of Ativan and had a whole bottle of liquid Escatalipram and I started using the liquid two days ago.  I know I must give it some time but right now I'm in hell.  I just called a hospital near me that has an integrative medicene dept.  they have bio feedback and other assorted stuff.  I hope I will be able to get accepted into the program.

I also wanted to ask anyone who actually makes it through my story, has anyone heard of or tried the Fisher Wallace Stimulator, and if so is it helping.  It is pricey but the price has come down from $700 to $600.  This is a lot of money for me, but I feel desperate and they say if it doesn't work you can return it for a 90% refund after 2 months.  this seems reasonalble to me.  Anyone have any knowledge about this?

This is supposed have a happy ending.  Well, it has to!  I have 2 cats that need me and although I live alone I am actually married and I believe my husband does love me and wants me to be okay.  this has been so hard on him.  26 years we are together and he is just a simple country boy who has lived a simple life.  One of those people that never gets depressed or anxious.  Really doesn't understand the meaning of depression or anxiety and this makes it really hard for me because he really can't understand me at all.  I do have quite a few friends who dod understand all too well.  I get a lot of help from them.  But still you know, your hell is all your own and no one else will ever fully understand it.  We live alone and we die alone.  

I am now 62 years old and I made it this far;  I am not giving up yet.  Cyd

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 November 2014 )
 
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