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Sues Story

The feeling of going crazy, the horrible physical symptoms, the suffering in silence, the hiding it from everyone, the need of safe place/people, the fear of loosing control, the dread of dying, etc… etc… The list is endless and the remedy for a solution seems absent. Of course you all know I’m referring to those two words that so many people misunderstand for something that happens when one is particularly stressed, PANIC ATTACKS.
Oh how stupid people can be! I still get asked “Why are you having a panic attack, what are you panicking about?” They simply don’t get that its not a choice and that we are not stressing about anything in particular and no, we cant just snap out of it!!! Most importantly we are not attention seeking!!

…. Like many people I did not understand the capacity of how much this sickness affect your life and how, if left untreated can result in one becoming a recluse, depressed, isolated and suicidal. My story is pretty much the same as the one a brave few of you have written about.
I had my first panic attack at the age of 19 and at the time I seriously thought I was loosing the plot!
I had a serious loving boyfriend, I had many friends, a job that was fun, I was working toward my dreams of being becoming an actress and life seemed great.

I was very energetic, confident, happy go lucky, life and soul of a party and loved being in a social environment. So I couldn’t understand what was happening to me when I started to develop nausea, loss of appetite, constant dizziness, a permanent feeling of doom at the pit of my stomach, shortness of breath, sweating, shaking, blurred vision, easily irritated, horrible headaches, weepy, a general overwhelming fear of loosing control and dying from one of these panic attack?!

I was lucky in that my mother saw the changes in me and proceeded in taking me to see a Psychologist. I was diagnosed with Anxiety.
You cannot believe how relieved I was to find that what I was going through had a name and that there were people like me who were suffering the same symptoms.

I was refereed to a Behavior Therapist. I immediately asked when my illness was going to go away and when would I go back to being normal?
I will never forget what he said to me “This will never go away, there will not be a day in your life that you will not think about anxiety and your disorder, you’ll get better at dealing with it but now that you’ve developed it it will never leave you!”
From what I’ve read in your stories in this website, unfortunately it seems a lot of you sufferers agree with this statement and are willing to accept this.

To this day I still see hope that this is not the case at all.

I truly hope that if one happens to experience half of what we have been through with this disorder, with the right education and information on this subject this damn illness can be beaten!
Don’t get me wrong his words still ring through my head and as time goes by I too have doubt in my “hope” to return to the place where I once didn’t feel like this.

You see I’m 27yrs now and yes, there has not been a day that has gone by that I have not thought about them, or come across a situation where I have to question myself if it’ll bring on an attack, but I always try to face it, because the one thing I’ve learned is that the more you avoid a situation the worst it becomes. Besides even if I feel crap during it, at least I get a sense of satisfaction for having the guts to face it.
I got better for two years after my Therapy and it seemed that my panic attacks went, then something changes in your life and BANG they’re back with a vengeance! Then you have months without them (but still acknowledge them at the back of your head) then just days of rest, then different situations trigger them and before you know it you find yourself stuck back where you began.

My personal fear is that if I’m in a supermarket/tube/pub/club/family do/shopping/holiday/open space/confined space and I have a panic attack people or strangers will stare at me and think I’m loosing the plot.

So I let people’s ignorance affect my way of life and dread doing the above and work myself up when it comes to attending such places, which inevitably result in me having an “internal” panic attack. And you know what? 99% of the time people don’t even realise that secretly I’m struggling to breath. How ironic!

Of course when I’m rational I think to hell with what people think, but of course when you’re panicky thinking rational goes way out the window and you get caught up in the fear of what may happen!

I think the problem we are faced with here, is that we give these Panic Attacks too much significance. We let our fears rule our way of life and to be totally honest with you (myself included) try to control everything far too much.
This illness feeds off our fear and negative thoughts.

This is why I still hold the hope that no, I will not be like this forever, because as I grow, I will learn from this experience and with the insight such as these web pages offer, I am beginning to finally understand that people, we only have ONE life, why are have we become so consumed with living in fear of our future instead of embracing it whatever it has in store for us!

I may never go back to NORMAL and my Therapist’s theory may have been right after all , but as long as I have hope and stay positive, I may have a chance of a happy future, because after all I may get run over by a bus tomorrow.

I couldn’t live with myself if for one minute I actually acknowledged that I’m not living my life to my full potential because I let fear rule me.
Think of how many occasions you’ve already beaten it and will continue to do so. The more you don’t give it significant the better your situation will get.

Also think of it this way, you have already experienced the worst of it. What could anxiety possibly put you through that you haven’t already experienced and survived?

See I’m beginning to think positive, its amazing how your future is shaped by your thoughts. THINK ABOUT IT!!!
I would love to hear some feed back from some of you, so please do not hesitate to email me.
Good luck in your search for a cure but don’t forget to look within that’s where the answer lies.

Sue (