Up to the age of 19 I had always been happy, confident and was the life and soul of the party. At the age of 18, I passed my driving test, got a placement at university and travelled across the United Sates by myself. I thought I had the world at my feet
So after I stopped, it was like I just started feeling all my feelings again and I was really struggling with it. All I used to do before was go to work and gamble, I didn't have a social life or any interests or hobbies. So I got free phone counselling. It wasn't easy, I used to get anxiety attacks talking about myself on the phone but I stuck with it. I was also struggling to go out shopping, going out and doing anything was really difficult. And before I used to tell myself that I didn't do anything cos I didn't have any money – but now I did have money. After a couple of months it dawned on me that I had and needed to deal with my anxiety. I think I decided it was my main problem.
All I knew about anxiety was panic attacks. I phoned MIND or SANE and they gave me a number for NO PANIC. I got a lot of literature from them which helped me a lot, cos I wasn't sure what was happening and thought I might be totally losing the plot in terms of being mad. I would have said I was in the grip of G.A.D, panic attacks, social anxiety and maybe little bits of others. In general I've had to struggle along alone, its not that I didn't want too but I just am not very trusting. And it hasn't all been success, I fell back out of the tree for a couple of months with the gambling – maybe getting a girlfriend, then getting dumped and stopping smoking was a bit more than I could chew at the time. I haven't given up or stopped trying, I am strong. I've also done the Mentor scheme and Telephone Recovery Group with NO PANIC, which no doubt have helped in there own little ways. I also have been going counselling for about 6 months.
I am so much calmer now and rarely attack. I still don't mix very much, but I do keep regular contact with friends I've made. My recovery is on going.