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Thread: Hello! Old friend to anxiety, new friend to panic..

  1. #1

    Hello! Old friend to anxiety, new friend to panic..

    Hello all!

    It's great that there is such an active community offering support and advice for us suffering.

    A little about me, i'm a 29 y.o. male from the south-west of england. I've suffered with anxiety for many years, however I have held down full-time work and have been fortunate enough to have a small (but close) circle of friends and active social life throughout the years (although starting to dwindle as friends are getting partners at my age).

    I have had pretty crippling social anxiety since around my early 20's. Before this point I was very much in my own head, didn't think anything was wrong with me and was fairly self-confident. I've always been the shy, introverted type however never felt bad about it.

    I work in a pretty stressful office job and sometimes feel jaded by the social cues we all have to go through in a working environment; it all feels a little fake and cold for my liking! Anyway a few months ago, I suddenly thought I was going to faint in work - it was terrifying! I had to arrange a sibling to collect me as I didn't know what was going on. I could barely walk and felt completely out of it/dizzy/numb all over. Went to the GP that afternoon and had blood tests taken, was told it was a panic attack. Later that night I calmed down and had a relatively normal sleep.

    Since that day, I haven't felt the same. Getting dizzy spells and generally feeling spaced out/not all there. I forced myself to start some exercise (although i'm not overweight my job is sedentary in nature so thought the attack might have been a natural cue to get active). I managed to keep it up for a week, and on the 7th day of daily walking I was struck with another dizzy feeling - I was about a mile from my house on my walking route (out by fields), so this was again, terrifying! I felt I couldn't continue. Somehow I managed to get home and went straight to sleep. After that point I started seeing private counsellors, but then ANOTHER attack hit, at home, when I was seemingly relaxed. I had always thought work was to blame so now I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I freaked out, thought I was going to faint and after getting some mild reassurance from my parents, went to sleep, but again, was terrified! Since that day, for about a week, I felt lethargic and barely wanted to leave my bed! My heart was thumping really hard for days constantly, I thought I had suffered a heart attack! This is now about a week I haven't left the house, the next chance I get is when my parents go shopping, so I think 'no big deal, it will be nice to get out the house for a bit, it could help me'. Big mistake. Every step outside I felt wobbly, shaky vision, weak, going to fall over/faint. When we actually got the store (ASDA/Walmart), I freak out, feel again like I will faint, every noise, every person around me becomes 100 times more amplified. I was hyperventilating and could hardly walk. Within an hour of getting home I felt a bit better.

    I should also mention that in my life up to the first panic attack I have never been admitted to hospital, broken a bone, or had any major illness. I haven't had any reason to worry about my health (physically, at least).

    Then came the attack about a week later around 3 in the morning, an extremely tight throat and just general 'don't feel right' feelings. Convinced my parents to call an ambulance, got checked over, and they gave the all clear (albeit slightly high BP). I felt very embarrassed as this is the first time I have ever had to call an ambulance or really speak to a paramedic in my life.

    Since that point, I haven't returned to my job, I am on long term sick. The 'dread'/'dizzy'/'lethargic' feelings are on a daily basis but seem to come in waves (usually first thing in the morning and last thing at night). I was SO close to becoming agoraphobic (had to cancel some nights out as my body and mind felt so weak). Even today about a month later, I am still wondering when the next attack will be. It's getting inside my head in a bad way. Some days I was even scared to take a shower in case I would fall over or faint!

    As i've hardly exercised or left the house in the last 3/4 months, i finally thought 'enough is enough' and have slowly started to being exercise back into my routine. It has helped although it is making me very tense - I guess this is just a transition period my body has to go through.

    Some of the other physical symptoms crept in which i've never experienced in my life (palpitations, health anxiety, gad, tingling in fingers). I have had another set of blood tests, ECG (when paramedic saw me) and also ears checked, eyes checked. Nothing wrong. All clear. I keep getting a ring in my left ear and whenever I check my BP (bought a home monitor) it is always high. I have put this down to anxiety and now refuse to take my BP now.

    At this moment in time exercise and getting outdoors is slowly helping, but I can't help but fear the panic attack possibility in the future. I still feel dizzy/weak almost all the time (during exercise i'm fine, however then the feelings return!). I have considered AD's (i took one escitalopram, immediately my throat became tight and thought it was an allergic reaction). I called for an ambulance again (nobody else was home at the time) - and was given the all clear. I am now petrified of taking medication as a consequence.

    I am doing a private 1-2-1 CBT course soon, and hope that I can change my thinking. I really don't want to take meds if I don't have to, however my negative thoughts and low self esteem really is eating away at the moment.

    Sorry for the wall of text/rant. Hopefully it makes some sense - thanks if you've made it this far!

    I hope to stay active on this forum and get to know you better!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Re: Hello! Old friend to anxiety, new friend to panic..

    Oh awful!! I am so sorry you're going through this. I remember when I first started having panic attacks and thought there was no home. I was 22 at the time, I'm now 34. Anyways, please know that this is such a manageable mental health issue, and you will get through this scary time. You'll work again, you'll have normal relationships, you'll be happy again and you'll get so much stronger than you are right now. It will take a little time but you are making all of the appropriate steps. Exercising and CBT is terrific. You are NOT going crazy. This has happened to so many people, you are not experiencing anything "special". Hang in there and hope you find some relief here.

    ---------- Post added at 20:24 ---------- Previous post was at 20:22 ----------


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