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 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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