R. Bruce

I never felt like I quite fit in socially in high school.  I found this wonderful thing called alcohol that made me feel happy and social.  When I spoke I didn’t feel like it would be stupid or people would laugh at me.  From this low self esteem I continued to drink.  Then prom weekend when I was 18 I smoked a joint.  It was not the first joint I had ever smoked which is why I knew something was up.  I remember my friend walking in the door and I felt like I was in a slow motion movie, like I was going to start floating around the room any second.  I went outside, and proceeded to “freak out”.  I scared my friend to death and we have never spoken of it since. I suspect she thinks I have mental problems :).  I told her to call the hospital.  They came and got me and put me in the ambulance.  I didn’t look up the whole time, I sat with my eyes closed tightly and could not be still.  The people on the ambulance had to call my parents. My Mom met me at the hospital.  The nurse was obviously irritated that I had smoked pot and said in a sarcastic tone, “Someone must have put something in your little pot.”  So I had pissed all these people off, I hated myself, and I was embarrassed to say the least.

That was my first experience ever.  I seemed fine for about 2 or 3 years and then the panic attacks came on with a vengeance.  I remember waking up from a horrible dream and feeling like I was going to be killed or just die.  I went into my parents’ room which is really sad since I was 20 years old but I could not explain what was happening.  Then I thought oh my gosh what if I go insane and kill my parents?  I now know that it was all panic related.  I had a very hard road the next few years.  It took a while for my family to accept it was a mental thing.  They are very “religious”.  They didn’t believe in pills for the brain..I can’t tell you how many times I stood at the alter with the preacher and other “prayer warriors” telling me it was Satan attacking me and to “rebuke” him,,,I still hate that word “rebuke.”  It was really sad for a young girl to spend all that wasted time thinking she was being attached by some unseen force….but those days are long gone…

Finally my Mom took me to a psychiatrist, he told me I had panic attacks, by this time it had gone into agoraphobia with depression.  I was 21.  Knowing I had a true condition helped and I wanted to cry.  I am 30 now.  I have been on medication most of the whole 9 years.  I found that not taking anything makes me more susceptible to mostly depression.  I believe that DP, anxiety, panic disorder and depression all run together and feed off of each other.  Just the other day, I was watching TV and started thinking those old thought patterns and getting a panic feeling.  I was wondering about life after death and why we are here etc…I am always scared of dying and have nightmares,  though rarely, but when I do they are so vivid.  But I wanted to share my story on the board because I am a survivor and I want to help others.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

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