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Laura’s Story

I am a 43 years old woman, married with 4 children aged 10, 8, 5 and 2. I did Ph.D in chemistry and always worked fulltime.
I have started to have panic attacks shortly after I had my last child (2 years ago), the first episode being during driving in a motorway, the second (a very big one) in the London underground (stacked in a tunnel). I was very scared because I had no idea what was happening to me

In 1 or 2 weeks I started to have 10 to 15 panic attacks per day (also a lot during the night), stop eating, sleeping, thinking I would die or get crazy soon. I had panic attacks for every little task I had to do (queues in supermarket, driving any place, being alone with the children in the house), or any negative thought it passes my mind. I run several times to see the GP crying and in complete desespear but I got back poor information about what I was feeling and was given antidepressants. The Antidepressants gave me even more anxiety and had very dangerous suicide thoughts. I have also tried Xanax, 1, 2 or 3 a day but could still feel panic attacks the only difference was feeling even more dizzy, so I stopped (I don’t like tablets of any kind). I have started as well to visit a psychiatric doctor but again for not much more help than the medication. Then I found out “Panic Away” in the internet and although I was very sceptic at the beginning after reading a few pages I started to finally relax a little and understand what I was felling. The technique “One Move” explains in that book helped me from the first time and I could stop that spiral of fear and panic that was driving me to hell. With this technique I stopped to have full panic attacks, I had only beginnings, and in one week I stopped to have panic attacks at all. I was so so much relief. I was back in control. I stopped the antidepressants 3 weeks after I have started them.

I think I have entered this panic/ anxiety process because I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had 4 little kids, one being a very small baby, not sleeping properly for a long time, recently moved to another country (England) and new house and job, new schools for the kids, new nannies, no friends, no family support, feeling alone, having some problems with communication (English), did not like my job at the time, stop smoking recently, loosing my faith in God, feeling old and loosing beauty, not trusting doctors in England, etc.

After stopping having panic attacks I had to deal with high anxiety. I think I was also depressed, especially during the night and use to wake-up during the night or in the morning with a sense of extreme and deep sadness. I had almost constantly a knot in my stomach; I could only see negatives in everything. I though I would be anxious forever. I though constantly about death.

At that time, I did the Transcendental Meditation course with little effect (I had no discipline for doing TM 20 min twice a day). I also did some very expensive hypnotic sessions with no results al all.

5 months after I stopped to have panic attacks I had a full very strong one on the motorway again. It was late in the night and I was with my husband. The motorway was closed possibly because of an accident and we were stopped in a long long queue during 3 hours inside the car without any move at all. It was terribly claustrophobic. The weather was offul with lots of wind and rain. I tried the “One Move” technique with little success and I was terrified I would go through that panic process again. In fact my confidence decreased a lot and I have started not to have full panic attacks all the time (only beginnings) but anxiety increased a lot, started to loose weight again, started to have strange and obsessive thoughts (suicide thoughts again!) very often about getting old, dying, the big responsibility of having 4 children, not managing to cope with all the children’s needs, etc.

At that time I though I had to find some other help. I talked with several friends and family and tried to find a psychologist doctor or psychiatric doctor with specifically high experience in anxiety and panic attacks. I went back to my country (just for the doctors visits) and visit 4 or 5 different doctors I was been given good references. I needed to know if this anxiety problem could have an end sometime or not. I realised there are very different views on this subject and many doctors are not well informed about panic attacks and anxiety. Psychiatrics are prone to give you antidepressants for the rest of your life. Some psychologists are better informed.

I finally find a good, intelligent and well informed psychologist and started CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) last July. Since then I have been improving all the time, slowly but in a consistent way. I don’t want to be too much positive about this because it is still early to take some definitive conclusions. But I have to say that is the best thing I have done till now. I have also changed some life style habits, changed job, started a sculpture course and gym classes. I feel much happier, more beautiful, more positive in everything. I went recently to Switzerland with the older kids to do some ski and was never anxious and panicking about the slopes (I am not a good skier), being alone out there, going high in the packed lifts, or through long tunnels, being with no visibility inside the fog, etc. I had fear sometimes but it was a different fear.

I recommend CBT and I can tell you there is a solution for panic attacks and high anxiety (and with no tablets).