After 30+ years of anxiety...I'm losing hope.
I just want to be normal. To be able to do the things that most people can do without batting an eye. Actually to most I probably do seem normal. They would be very surprised to learn what is churning inside me. Avoiding situations that trigger an attack has been my coping mechanism for the past 30 years. But they're becoming more and more difficult to avoid and frankly, I'm just so tired of it. In my early 20's I had a panic attack in a grocery store. It just hit like a ton of bricks. I had to leave my cart full of food and quickly leave. I became somewhat agoraphobic for a few years. I could still go to work, occasionally step inside a store, but mostly hung out at home. It was safe. I did get some counseling and managed to get over the agoraphobia. I could now venture out without a problem but the anxiety was never gone completely. What lingered was the inability to be in a situation where I could not easily get away without drawing attention. For instance...in church I don't sit up front because if I had to leave it would draw attention...don't sit in the middle of a row because I can't easily get out without disturbing others...I could never speak in front of a group, who am I kidding - I can't even BE in front of a group speaking or not. Even the thought of being in front of a group makes me light-headed and nauseous, I just know that I will pass out or throw up or perhaps both. I've done an amazing job at avoiding these situations over the years. But I'm now faced with a situation that I can't avoid without embarrassing and disappointing my family and the panic has gripped me full force. That's why I'm sitting here at 4am writing this - can't sleep. 4am and I have become very well aquainted. I don't want to be the spaz that can't escort her son on Senior Night in the gym full of students and parents. I have bailed on my children before with other similar situations and have agonized over it...still do...what kind of mother does that?? I don't want to be that person anymore.