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Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Depression from the age of 16

by Janette Macleod
(Scotland UK)

I was only 16 years old when I became a victim to panic attacks and anxiety. My life crumbled to pieces from that day onward. I was away from home doing a 2 week block release course in hairdressing when I had my first panic attack -money was tight and I was struggling to fit in with my class as I was not as knowledgeable as the rest of my class mates. I've never been the most confident and was always quite nervy but not to the point of few that I suffer now. Going back to that first panic attack I was out in a club with the girls from my class and a group of men were sitting watching us. I remember sipping the last of my cider from my glass and thought I seen something shoot up my straw, the men were watching me like a hawk and instantly I started to think they had spiked my drink with drugs, for all it i knew it could have been a floater in my drink but I was hell bent on the fact that these men looked up to something. Anyway, I started to feel really numb, the room started to spin around me, my heart pounded so hard in my chest, I was convinced I was going to have a heart attack. I remember looking in the mirror, in the toilets, and seeing the colour drain form my face. My pupils were so dilated I looked like I had black coloured iris. It was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced. I ended up going in a taxi back to the digs I was sharing with the other girls, two of them took me to the hospital. I was convinced I had been spiked with some sort of drugs. As the feelings were like those if a chemical high, the doctor took one look at me and said I think your having a panic attack. I laughed out loud, "a panic attack!" I said, "I think I'm dying, I've been spiked with drugs!" I shouted - The doctor didn't seem worried and left the room and a nurse came in and said that there were no drugs in my system apart from alcohol. I felt really confused and lost. If I hadn't been spiked with a drug why was I experiencing these awful symptoms? None of the medical staff explained a thing to me about panic attacks and they sent me on my way to deal with what was going to be a regular occurrence in the life. This incident happened in 2002 and we are now in 2012 and my symptoms are pretty much the same. I've had numerous counselling sessions, numerous antidepressants, diazepam, all of which do nothing to help me. I amazingly managed to have three children and cope remarkably well with what I suffer from mentally. Life has been tough and not many understand anxiety and the depression it brings to your life and your loved ones who have to try cope with someone who's suffering in such a way. I wish I could be cured from this awful illness and be given my life back. I have three beautiful children, a fiance' that I love and can't enjoy life like I used to thanks to my condition, please offer me advice, I'm 25 and fed up.

Comments for Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Depression from the age of 16

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Jan 24, 2012
reply to my previous comment
by: Anonymous

thanks for your comments,yes its not easy coming off medication,i have been on many antidepressants throughout my struggle with anxiety and panic attacks,i was on sertraline which in the long term is a great fix for anxiety,my worries and nervousness was halved while on these tablets,but coming off them was really bad,the side effects were unbearable,if i had known how hard these were to come off id not have touched them but i the reason i was put on them is because they are safe to take while your pregnant,i had no depression after my second and third child while being on them but a year ago i decided to come off them as the withdrawal effects were really nasty,id have a tremor,weird zapping sensations throughout my limbs,my body would feel heavy and tired,my vision was blurry,not a nice experience,but not everyone suffers from these effects,so find out what tablets you can carryon taking as coming off tablets can be very distressing,esp with children to look after,people ask me how i cope with three kids and my anxiety,but i just get on with it,i have to,I'm so strong minded that not even the best therapist could help me,its a way of life now because things have not changed since i was 16,i struggle to keep at my job which is a barber,my confidence is really affected and i start to shake and freak out,not good when theres pressure in these jobs to look good and be confident,if you really struggle to come off you medication id recumbent to stay on it or go on one thats safe while your pregnant as you need to cope throughout that and if its tablets that helps you do that then so be it,because sometimes they are the answer,its not easy and what bugs me the most is that people do not understand,post natal depression is the worst thing i have ever experienced,i had it after my first child,i thought i was going crazy,the thoughts going through my head were so upsetting,its taken me until just now to speak about it,a sign that maybe i am getting better,i wish you all the best xxxx

Jan 23, 2012
Hang in There
by: Anonymous

I understand completely. I too have suffered with panic attacks for over 12 years now. I think I had them when I was a teenager too, but not to the degree that I do now. I am 39 yrs old. I am currently off of my antidepressant because I want to have a 2nd child, but feel very overwhelmed with the thought of being off of meds for so long and taking care of a 2 yr old all at the same time. It scares me to think that this could be passed on to my daughter since a child can be predisposed from a parent. My Mother has it, as well as my grandfather and my great grandmother. I would give anything to get rid of them and feel "normal". But something to remember, you are living life and doing your best every day for your children! This is a normal life. Unfortunately some of us just have more hurdles to jump over. Try to incorporate any techniques that you have learned and put them together in a way that makes you feel calmed. That is my one complaint with therapists ( I see one) is that they think you have to follow something they show you right to a tee when in fact I think you should do it however it is calming to you. Say a few affirmations a day to yourself, check in with your breathing and remind yourself if you have an attack YOU WILL BE OKAY. Just remeber you are not alone. Take Care!

Jan 23, 2012
Book recommendation
by: Anonymous

This book helps so much, Mindfulness through Anxiety!

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