PLEASE READ Panic disorder insanity
December 2011 /Jan 2012 one night I was eating dinner in a restraunt and all of a sudden I couldn't swallow my food. I got really bad anxiety because I had no idea what was going on, so over a few weeks I kept calling child counseling services for advice. A few weeks later I returned to school after our 6 week break things disappeared. Then over 2012 I wouldn't eat anything stringy and would remove it from my mouth, spinach, veg skin ect and beef schnitzel. Then around October I began not able to eat in public (school, restraunt, people's houses aswell). Then I stopped eating with my parents at the table, and ate in my room. Then mid December I had 2 panic attacks after a year of silence. I also weirdly then started not to be able to swallow my own SALIVA indoors in public. Now every time in public I have panic attacks so I don't go out anymore. I have had 2 visits to a psychologist (seeing her on Tuesday), and also going to see a psychiatrist to discuss anti anxiety pills (mum is on them for anxiety/OCD). Since early January I've been struggling to swallow my own food, it triggered after a random panic attack. I'm worrying about it 24/7 because I feel gaggy when I eat and I feel the food doesn't go down then I panic :( my mind is sooooo focused on the eating process when I eat. I've been all over the Internet for solutions/tips/ for Panic Disorder-Panic attacks I also have social anxiety, nothing helps and I am going <edit>crazy. I don't sleep properly, I'm bed ridden all day, severely depressed, agoraphobic (all diagnosed) and also school resumed last Wednesday after 6 weeks and I cannot physically and mentally get there. My periods are still irregular after 3 years so that also messes with my hormones. I AM ONLY a teenager AND GOING CRAZY, I get soooo angry over this whole thing it's not funny. I really need opinions!
Re: PLEASE READ Panic disorder insanity
Sorry to hear you are going through such a struggle right now. Your anger is completely and totally understandable given all that is happening!
Puberty is a common point in life when anxiety disorders tend to manifest. All those chemical and biological changes going on and what not. I was about your same age when my OCD first presented itself and it was definitely NOT a fun experience, especially when you are already trying to deal with school, a social life, etc.
You are doing the right thing by seeking out treatment and I hope you are able to find some relief from that soon. I'm 20 years past the onset of my initial OCD and I can tell you that with help it DOES get better and you can get control of your life back. I can't promise it will be easy, there will be struggles and setbacks and frustrations, but the pay off for the hard work you put in to tackling your problems is worth it, without question.
Medication can definitely help, but one of the best ways to deal with anxieties is going to be one of the hardest at first. In order to move past your fears, you have to run right at them, instead of away from them.
What do I mean? Well if something makes you anxious, the first and natural response is to try and avoid that something. In general that's a pretty reasonable option too. If you are out in the forest and see a bear, you'll get anxious and try to stay away from the bear. Pretty good survival technique. The problem for anxiety disorders sufferers like ourselves, is that we get anxious over things that shouldn't cause anxiety or certainly not as much as we get. Its not our fault, our brains are a bit miswired, but the end result is we end up running away from things we don't need to run away from, and in some cases SHOULDN'T run away from.
Take eating for example. You have to eat to stay alive. I know that, you know that. And eating isn't supposed to even cause anxiety, I bet you know that too. But for whatever reason your brain has been misinformed to associate eating with anxiety. So how can you fix it? Well medication can help by getting your brain to respond in more normal fashion, but beyond that you can attack this from a non-medicine standpoint too. How? Its both simple and hard. You have to make yourself eat. (I don't mean overeat, that would be bad). Even though you are feeling anxious, in fact because you are feeling anxious you have to make yourself eat. Don't try and fight the anxiety while you are eating, anxiety is an emotion and it happens, but you have to fight the impulse to run and hide. You'll find that anxiety will fade, especially if you keep at it.
You also mention staying in bed all day. Trust me I understand that feeling. I have given in to that feeling on more than one occasion when facing my personal demons. It seems to be an attractive option and provides me with a small sense of relief, but long term its not helping me get better. When I feel like hiding like that, the best thing I have found to do is to force myself to get up. To get out of bed and DO something. Before long if I get going I start to feel better.
Like I said, its simple but hard. The simple part is, you just have to not give in to your anxiety driven reactions. That's of course also the hard part. You won't always win those battles. Sometimes you will give in and feel overwhelmed and have a bad episode, or bad day. But you don't' have to win EVERY battle to win the war. You just have to make up your mind that NEXT time you won't give in. Next time you will fight just a little bit harder. Next time you will be in charge not your anxiety.
I know from personal experience that when you are in the middle of an episode like yours it feels like it will never get better, but believe me it does. You need to keep telling yourself that, even when you don't really believe it, because as long as you keep working at it, it will happen, you will find a way out and back into your life.
Hang in there and good luck with the psychiatrist. I wish you best of luck in your struggle. Before you know it you'll be passing along your own advice to a new member.
Re: PLEASE READ Panic disorder insanity
Notcoping6, my heart goes out to you. Anxiety is such a hard thing with which to live and unless one has experienced it, it can be difficult to understand. My 14 year old son is suffering terribly from it as well and I have also experienced it for most of my life. I promise, that once you get some help with the appropriate medication and behavioral modification therapy, it can make a huge difference in your life.
Dksea is correct in that the best way to deal with anxiety (on a behavior level) is to face the source of the fear headon. There are programs which help teens just like yourself face individual fears, by helping the individual slowly (over a period of time) build up a tolerance to the source of the anxiety.
In our local children's hospital (in Canada) they use a programme developed in Australia called Cool Kids. It is based on the idea I tried to explain above. Slow exposure to the source of the anxiety does eventually diminish one's fear of it, but it does take time. It is well worth trying and apparently there is a high success rate with this program. Combining one of many anti-anxiety medications available with this sort of behavior modification can make a huge difference in the life of an anxiety sufferer.
Hang on to the thought that there is definitely help out there for you and it sounds as though the process is already underway. Anxiety and depression are very common illnesses (particularly with teens) but they can be overcome. I am helping my son get the help he needs and I know that you will soon be on your way to recovery.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You are not alone.
Re: PLEASE READ Panic disorder insanity
Sorry to hear about your condition. dksea is very correct about his advise/opinion. Hence, i have nothing more to add except that as a person who has suffered bouts of anxiety, I can understand what you feel and I wish you all the best.
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