I had my first panic attack when I was 19 years old. I didn’t have another one until I was 21, single and pregnant. It made sense that I would have them since I was scared to death of the situation I was in. I didn’t start having regular attacks until after the birth of my daughter. They were few and far between, but they scared the heck out of me. I thought I was loosing my mind.
Not having much money, I remember scouring the phone book looking for some help I could afford. I went to physicians and philologist (all on a sliding scale basis) and found no help. It was more harm than help as I was often told I was young and basically it was in my head and to get over it. I thought I was going crazy and no one believed me. Back then, anxiety and panic attacks were not understood like they are now.
Not finding the help I needed from doctors, I started looking for any info I could find on what I was going through and finally found a book called, Hope and Help For Your Nerves” by Dr. Claire Weekes. This book was an absolute God Send for me. Finally, someone understood what I was feeling and going through and Dr. Weeke’s soothing reassurance and method of floating past the fear worked for me… For several years…
Fast forward to about 12 years later…
I began to have panic attacks again. Probably because I was trying to quite smoking – who knows. I just know that my mind went so quickly to “oh no, I thought I was over this” to a full fledge panic disorder. Though I was never house bound, my world was becoming smaller and smaller. I avoided places and situations that I “thought” brought attacks on. When I started having them at work and even at home, I know I needed help. Dr. Weeke’s book was no longer helping and I was so afraid that I would not find any good help again – But, I did. The best help – a saving grace and again, a God send.
This time, in the phone book was an anxiety and panic disorder clinic right in my town, and with a good job and insurance that helped, I went to see the most brilliant doctor ever for several months.
I say he is the most brilliant, because even as of today – what I learned from him still works.
I’ve recently entered into the Pre-Menopausal state of life… No fun as many of the physical and emotional symptoms remind me of the days of my panic attacks. At first I felt that old familiar feeling… Oh no, it’s back. But this time, after a short bout, as I found some other amazing resources that are in line with what the good doctor taught me (I now live in another state – otherwise I would have gone back to him), and again believing and practicing what he taught me, almost 15 years ago now, I can now say, for a forth time I feel cured. Four times… I know that must sound scary, but I think on the other end of that is knowing that while panic can come back, with the right method, it is very short lived.
I still get anxious – I’m that kind of a person and I still white knuckle it when on a freeway and I can still get waves of panicky feelings from time to time, they are over very quickly. I know what the disorder is, I know the physical symptoms it causes and the racing mind and I know I will move past it. I know that none of it will kill or even hurt me long term. I know that as soon as I give in to the feeling and truly feel all the sensations with an open mind and heart, the feelings pass and I am fine – sometimes in seconds.
That is what this brilliant doctor taught me. Not to avoid, but rather acknowledge what I am feeling, go ahead and feel it, realizing all it really is and move on. I stay occupied, but I don’t run from it. I also pray. For me, sometimes just putting it in God’s hands is the answer. That in itself is amazing.
For me, these two things are the key, and even though I will always have some anxious feeling, I am happy to say, I feel cured.
Different things work for different people and I’m for anything that can help someone. I am happy to share what I learned more with anyone if it helps them.
Hang in there and keep coming back to places like this that help.