Not quite sure where to start with my little introduction, so I'll dive right in.
I've always been a "panicky person". I'm sure most will relate to that, I mean I have a nervous, worrying personality, but it's never been a problem. I've also always had very minor panic attacks, but I've always been able to pull myself out of them before they got too serious, so again, never considered it a problem. Also, I've always been a bit of a hypochondriac, slightest upset stomach I'm thinking back through what I've eaten that day, what kind of food poisoning I might have, etc. However, again, nothing too serious, I could usually laugh it off afterwards and tell myself I was being silly.
A couple of weeks ago I had the worst attack I have ever had. For some reason, getting a slight rash on the palm of my hand caused me to think I was having some kind of allergic reaction, and then bam, I was "dying". In my mind, my throat was closing up, I couldn't breathe and if I didn't get to the doctor in minutes I was a goner. For sure the scariest moment I have ever had, and I would have called an ambulance had my father not been there and recognised it for what it was.
He suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety a few years back, which got so bad he would simply not leave the house at all, ever. He stopped going to work for about 6 months I believe (I was quite young and didn't really understand at the time) and lost any kind of a social life he had.
For a week or so after this bad attack, I felt weird. That's the only way I can describe it, "weird", it is a feeling that I cannot put symptoms or a name to. If i had to try, it's like some of my panic attack symptoms just didn't go away, and I felt like I was constantly putting effort into.. keeping myself sane? I don't really know.. sort of like I didn't have the grip on my mind that I used to? That sounds pretty odd, I know.
Anyway, my Dad (who I can talk to about this, I know he's been down the same road) urged me to goto the doctor and get it sorted out before it gets worse - but I don't really want to do that. He got put on SSRIs (well.. actually Effexor I think, which isn't strictly an SSRI is it, but "antidepressants") and I don't want to go that route. I know I shouldn't speak before I've tried them, but to me that sounds like putting a mask on the problem, and it feels like if I take that route it will always be there lurking beneath the surface... I'd rather sort myself out naturally if possible.
Anyway, after this horrible week, my mind cleared a bit. I felt good again, pretty much back to normal. Great, I thought, I must have just been having a bad week and it got a bit too much.
Until a couple of days ago. I had a bit of a painful chest, which I managed to work myself up into a "heart attack". Since then, I'm stuck back in this state of mind which I can't explain, at times I am panicky, at times I feel as calm as anything, but whatever I feel, I am not ME anymore. Take for example, as I write this post. I do not feel particularly panicky, yet I look around the room and I just feel different somehow. This is what I cannot deal with. The panic attacks, yeah, OK, pretty scary stuff - but they aren't going to kill me, I can ride them out if I have to. But this constant derealised state is driving me insane, and it is giving me more reason to panic than any illness I've created in my head. I read in another post on this board "it's like I've set my panic switch constantly to 'on'" that's pretty much what I'm feeling. Even when I'm not panicking, I'm panicking.
Anyway, this has gotten fairly long and I'm sorry for doing a bit of a diarypost, but I was just wondering if anyone could give me some advice on where to go from here. Part of me wants to tell myself to stop being silly, part of me is dreading tonight because I know once the house is silent and I'm in bed with nothing to distract me, my mind will go down horrible trains of thought I don't wish it to.
Thanks for reading.