Story by "Anonymous"
I am 25 years old, and have suffered anxiety, panic attacks, depression and DP since I was about 15 years old. My panic attacks started when I was 15, after an experience with pot.
After smoking with a friend, I began to "freak out". I had never felt like this before. I felt as if I was watching myself. I went home to my parents and explained what I had done. I felt as if I was going crazy. I was rushed to the hospital, where they thought that maybe the pot had something else in it. After testing, everything came back negative. I also never did another drug, it scared me too bad.
The next morning I felt a little dazed. Just the thought of how I felt that day would start the panic attacks all over again. It was not until I was 17 when the DP really set in. The whole summer I was in a daze. I would just look around and wonder if I was really even here, did I even exist? This was supposed to be a happy time in my life, becoming a senior in high school, and it was miserable. I wondered to myself if I will live like this. I still was not on any meds or seeking any counseling. I felt like if I tried to ignore it, it may go away. I was embarrassed that I felt like this,and wanted to be "normal".
I then got married and started a family. DP was there but not as bad. I was too focused on all of the things that where going around me. Then in the summer of 2001, I woke up one morning and could tell that something was not right. I could feel a major episode like I had 5 years ago coming on. I now had a daughter and a son to take care of. I went to the doctor and was put on Paxil which made it worse. I could not function at my job. I was put on leave. Then the panic attacks came on one right after another.
I was then to the point where I could not even leave my house. I could not look at myself in the mirror, because it was too scary. I did not even look like me. I then started questioning my own existence. I then started questioning God. I also started thinking of suicide. I could not live like this or put my children through this. I switched meds, to Zoloft, then to Paxil. I was also put on Atentol to slow my heart rate which then put me into depression (it is one of the side affects). I was either going to the doctor or the psychologist. I just felt like if I could go into a coma for about 6 months until everything subsided that it would be better than dealing with this everyday. I could not even tell the doctor exactly what I was feeling during these episodes. I thought for sure that they would put in a mental hospital. I wanted help but at the same time did not want people to think I was crazy. I was hurting myself by doing this. I researched and found forums like this and it was the best help to realize that this was something that was "real" and that I was not the only person dealing with this.
After about a year I got off all meds and have learned breathing exercises and changed some of my diet. I notice if drinking a lot of caffeine it seems to make it worse. My outlook on life, and perception of things will be forever changed, but that is who I am today. I have been anxiety, depression and DP free for about a year now, but everyday I do realize that it could come back, but at least now, I know what it is. I think that is the scariest part of all, the not knowing, and thinking you are crazy. Every once in awhile I have a few bad days, but I look at the future and all of the good days I have. I have a great life and want to stay here to enjoy it. I will not let this ruin my life. If anyone would like to write I would be happy to hear from you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck to all, and just remember that you can deal with it and it does not have to ruin your life.
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