I've suffered with severe anxiety for at least half my life (16 years). Started in high school at the age of 16 after a summer of self-medicating a less severe anxiety with alcohol. Returned from summer break and quit drinking I don't know if it was really the natural progression of anxiety in me or some kind of withdrawel but needles to say I started having panic attacks and severe anxiety on a regular basis after that. Just picture getting incredibly scared and not knowing how or why and not being able to do anyting about it, and once it passed being in constant and increasing fear that it would happen again at the wrong time. Spent the last two years of high school like that and had no idea what was happening to me.
After high school bounced around different jobs and colleges due directly to my anxiety. Finally figured out what was wrong when I was 23 actually on another message board. I was just searching around for how I was feeling and what might be going on and happened to stumble upon anxiety, what it is and what it can and does do to people. I knew right away that this is what was plaguing me. Before that I just thought I was nuts.
I went to see a counselor shortly after that. I wrote down what happened to me because I knew there was no way I could explain it to her. Our first meeting I gave it to her at the end of our session. The next time I saw her she acurately diagnosed me with social anxiety, agoraphobia, and depression. All pretty severe as you could imagine suffering without any kind of treatment for almost five years. It is so profoundly sad what anxiety can do to someone, and the fact that so many have it and aren't getting treated for it , it's really truly heartbreaking .
So back to my story now. Since I figured out what I was suffering from and began treatment my life has started to return to me. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but as time goes by I'm continuing to get better. My mental health professionals are always impressed with how far I've been able to come from where I once was. I managed to graduate from college <edit> and get married. Work has been a struggle as of late but I currently have a job and am hopeful (and scared of course) about the future. I'm even going to be a father in February!
I look forward to chatting with you all and giving support/advice myself. I consider myself to be highly educated on anxiety and it's treatment. I've had to be.
To anyone suffering who should read this I would like to say you can and will get better with the right treatmen, so do me a favor and kick this things butt!!!!!!!!!!!
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The following 2 users give hugs of support to: steckmas Feejee (10-24-2011), klou52 (09-22-2011)
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to steckmas For This Useful Post: capatga (03-07-2012), d0ink (03-03-2012), Lady Jay (09-16-2011), tmtad (04-03-2012)
I'm so glad you shared your story with us all. I to have suffered for about 10 yrs with anxiety/panic. I have done the counseling and medication and thought it was all behind me, but unfortunately I've had a set back and now suffering again. <edit>
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I am new to this forum, but just reading your story, reminds me of mine... Just finally learning what anxiety is and what it can do to you is very powerful in itself. I believe knowledge is power and maintening a better self is even more powerful. Congrats on being a father! Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations, and I agree, anxiety needs to be fought with all the tools you can muster, and there a lot of them, from counseling and meds to yoga, exercise, getting outside of yourself to help others, etc. etc. Anxiety demands we fight back. You can expect some heightened anxiety with your new little one. Suddenly his/her well-being becomes the biggest thing in your life, and parents (happened to my sister) can feel paralyzing inadequacy. Just keep talking to other parents and know your anxieties are exaggerated. Well-done and thanks!
My anxiety really kicked into high gear in high school too. I also began self medicating with alcohol. Psychiatrist told me this is common.
I have been through individual therapy and am in group therapy now. I have enjoyed the healing and personal growth I have experienced over the years. It is good to see someone who has grown and healed too.
Steckmas, your sentence "Just picture getting incredibly scared and not knowing how or why and not being able to do anyting about it, and once it passed being in constant and increasing fear that it would happen again at the wrong time" --well, that's probably the most succinct and accurate description of the anxiety I've experienced for years, and probably sums up the experience of others too. For me it can be a mounting fear, sometimes accompanied by that "zappy" feeling almost like electric shocks, and then the dread of it happening again. I've learned some tools through therapy that help, and medication has been a life-saver. Continued success with your recovery and thanks for your very helpful story.