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spacecowgirl081 11-04-2013 08:09 AM

My life-long battle with anxiety
I can remember being anxious well...ever since I can remember! I had school anxiety (separation anxiety) from the time I was 5 and started kindergarten. My mom actually let me drop out of kindergarten because I cried every day all day long and begged for my mother. First grade was not much better, but I started getting bullied so I hated school even more. I had to continue going, though. I always did well in school but couldn't concentrate because of stomach pains and severe anxiety. I had my first real panic attack when I was 11 or 12 and I thought I was dying. I remember just suddenly feeling like I was dying or going insane and that everything was not terrified me to death. I was able to talk to my aunt (who has also had anxiety her whole life) about it and she told me what it was but I didn't get treated for it.

I then developed OCD, anorexia and depression when I was in high school. I was a cutter and self-mutilated to feel better...except it didn't work very well. I didn't have many friends in school but the bullying stopped when I got into high school. I just remember feeling isolated and alone, that no one understood me and I didn't fit. I had panic attacks at school a lot and developed severe headaches that I believe were anxiety-related.

Through my adult life, I have generally been able to function but I have had what I call flare-ups of my anxiety at various points in my life. I had one in my very early 20s and was able to get on SSRIs which helped some. I then had another in my early 30s and was treated with intensive therapy, SSRIs and Xanax. It helped eventually. This flare-up was characterized by health anxiety and I was scared I was dying with heart problems that remained undiagnosed, despite getting many heart tests. I remember being terrified I'd die and leave my small child at home alone.

Right now, I am on Prozac and Xanax and I do OK, but not really great. If I don't have my meds, I can feel the prickly feelings in my skin which I know are anxiety. Thank God I've never had to do without them for long. It's been a life-long struggle and I don't ever think I'll be completely anxiety-free but I have been able to continue working. I've recently left an abusive relationship and so the stress levels have been high but I have managed to avoid a flare-up and hope that continues.

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