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Vikkis Story

I was first diagnosed after my divorce although I realise now that I suffered from an early age. I remember as a child that when ever I used to go out for family meals that I would start to feel sick and would want to leave the table. Once I was in a bathroom or public toilet the fear would subside

When I was 21 I was going through a difficult divorce and got to the point where I couldn't leave the house. I remember the doctor prescribing me Prothiaden for my depression and when I ran out of tablets I arranged to
collect my repeat prescription. I knew I needed to leave the house once the lunchtime soap I was watching finished. As soon as the it ended and the music and credits started I went into complete panic. It was a totally
physical pain, cramps, sweating, being unable to breath. I rang my Mother, in tears, and she collected my prescription for me. As soon as she said she would all the symptoms stopped. I realised I had now moved on from Panic Attacks to Agoraphobia. It took 9 months of gradual desensitisation. Opening the front door, then closing it again, walking to the end of my footpath and then back again, crossing the road and then back again, getting to the local shop and then back again, going into the shop and then leaving. As long as I knew I could control it and I had achieved the various steps before then I knew I could cope.

Now I just suffer when I am overtired or stressed so I know not to put myself into difficult situations if I haven't rested properly or if my eating habits have deteriorated. My main problem is not knowing where the nearest loo is! If I feel sick or desperate for a wee I need that comfort factor that I can walk around the corner to a toilet – then I feel OK.

I have met a new man who has been truly wonderful and he has three young children and although I have had a few more attacks recently due to the stress of moving house and leaving a job I hated I hope to get back to
normal soon. We are due to fly to Lanzarote on the 14th August and already I am panicking about having a panic attack!!!!

Perhaps I'll let you know how it went when I get home. They do have loos on the plane don't they!!!

To all you sufferers out there………….. it will get better, you just have to persevere and get angry. Get angry with the attacks because you can't let them take control. Practise breathing. Count with your breaths in
and the same amount of time for breaths out. Read something when an attack starts – pick up a can of beans in the supermarket and read the contents.

You have to stop your brain from tricking your body. So give it something else to think about. The alphabet game is great. Think animals – A is for Aardvark, B is for Buffalo…. This helps to occupy your brain. Good luck
and start to take control of your body again!

Vikki