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Christines Story

December 2001, me and some friends were partying at my sisters house and we were all really drunk some of them were taking drugs also. My boyfriend at the time had one too many joints and one too many to drink and he started being violently sick all over the place. No one seemed to bother except me, I ran into a bedroom and lay there shaking. I did not know what the heck was going on I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up feeling better but I couldn't sleep, all I could hear was my boyfriend being sick in the toilet, I thought he was dying and would choke

…. That night was a mess. I did not know what a panic attack and at the time I thought it was because I had one to many myself because I was feeling sick myself. The night went slow and I just moved to different rooms when anyone tried to talk to me, I just wanted to be alone and I calm myself down.

January 2002, I had been feeling 'strange' all month but just go on with things, I was on a bus on the way home from a friend's house and I mentioned to my best friend that I had been feeling 'strange' since that night. I did not know how to explain it I just knew something with my body was not the way it used to be. That night I lay in bed and got clear flash backs of my boyfriend sitting over a toilet being sick the frightened feeling was happening all over again. I started shaking like the same as I was that night and at the time I lived with my mum and dad so I woke my mum up. I was angry because I just wanted 'out' we were going to hospital after me screaming that something was wrong and I felt sick so I ran back upstairs and sat by the toilet for a good few hours. After a few hours of feeling like I was going to die I was so tired from the shaking than I went to bed and my mum had to sit on my bed with me till I was sleeping. I went to the doctor the following day and I was told that the dizziness I was feeling was due to an 'inner ear infection' I was given pills and sent on my way being told that it would be two weeks till I could go back to college.

February 2002, Still on the 'inner ear infection pills' I go back to the doctor on the 4th week of being unwell, I am told that sometimes they last a bit longer and I was given more pills. I was not eating properly because I was scared I was going to be sick if I did. The only time I got out of bed was to go to the toilet or to the doctors. My nana and Granddad looked after me and came to see me everyday and forced me to eat toast and drink tea. I was so dizzy and weak I did not believe it was a inner ear infection. I got told that it would be better if I withdraw from my college course because I have missed too much, it hurt to think I had basically wasted half a year for nothing.

March 2002, I had a big panic attack and I was so scared and my Granddad decided to take me to the local hospital for some answers. They done heart tests and all sorts and talked to me and then says that the 'fit' like episodes I have been having is panic attacks. The second she said that something clicked in my head and I knew that was what I actually thought was wrong. I went back to the doctors the same afternoon and told them about being at the hospital and what the doctor there told me. I was put on Seroxat. I started eating a bit more each day, I even managed a whole plate of pasta one night and it made me realise that there was nothing to be afraid of. I also found out that due to my eating habits I got a urine infection.

April 2002, I was eating more and the Seroxat was starting to kick in. I was still not going out and my grandparents were still coming up every few days to be with me. I was scared to be alone during the day, incase I had a funny turn. I had a really bad day and I thought I was going mad (dizzy all day) I was giving up on everything. I remember saying that I was mad and my mum should take me to a mental hospital and they could sort me out. I scared my mum so much and she was so upset and worried about me. With my lack of eating I lost about 2 stone (I was already pretty thin) I did not notice the weight coming off all that much I just started to notice my bones sticking out my body more. I went a bit mad one night and pigged out on chocolate and lots of sweets (to put on a bit of weight) I ended up eating so much I was sick that night and I thought if that happened I would have had a panic attack but I was fine afterwards. I felt like that was my fear and I overcame it in someway, maybe the next day I would wake up and see things differently 'normal,' the way I used to feel.

May 2002,
I was starting to get out more and walking into town most days with a friend. I even managed to go out to a club and although I left early I had a good time and one of my friends got me in a taxi and I stayed at his house. I started seeing a therapist and she seemed ok, to be honest I did not really feel it was working from the start but I forced myself to go and try and sort out my problems. I was given a big book from her and I looked through it many times and I did not understand much in it. It went on about forcing a panic attack so you can control it. I did not want to do that and was adamant that I was not doing that to myself. The doctors gave me Diazepam so that when I have a panic attack my body does not get so shaky (it worked), I only taken one when I needed it.

June 2002,
I was still seeing my therapist and I really did not think it was working at all, I actually worried about seeing her. She did not seem to care much, looking back now I was properly just being silly as to think that. I stopped seeing her because I had doubts of it working for me.

Since then –
I am now 18, living away from my home town and my family. I don't have the same boyfriend or friends. I live with my boyfriend whom I met shortly after the break-up in August 2002 with the boyfriend I was with throughout that story. My anxiety is still pretty bad but I am learning about myself and I can go for long periods of time without a big panic attack like the ones I used to have. I am no longer on Seroxat and it was very hard coming off of them, they were very addictive. I am on new pills now. I no longer need Diazepam because my lack of panic attacks. I am on incapacity benefit, I have never tried going out to work because I know it's hard enough just doing housework most days. The way I feel most days is hard to explain to people but it's kind of like I am distant and just not all there. I am doing meditation to relax my body and it seems to be making me feel somewhat better. I am also going to see a new therapist in a few months time so I have my fingers crossed that it will work for me. I get really depressed because the anxiety and I have been on a roller coaster ride in the past few years. I am just settling down with the man I love and I hope that I don't mess my body up any more than I have done in the past. Along with the anxiety disorder I also have trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), it really gets me down I am used to pulling out my hair because I have done it since I was 5 I just found out it had a name last year and I attend meetings and get help for it. I also have dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking/biting) like the trichotillomaina it gets me down but I am learning that this is me and the way I am. One day I will overcome my problems and everyday I wake up hoping that I will see things the way I used to. I just have to get on with it and fight anxiety.

Christine Faulds