Hi everyone... my story.
It's great to finally find a support site like this for my anxiety issues. I'm a 27 year old New Zealander. I live with my partner and our 2 cats and dogs in our own home (with a huge mortgage).
I first experienced a panic attack when I was peer pressured into trying Marijuana as an adolescent. I didn't know what it was at the time and just thought it was the drug, while everyone around me was laughing and having a great time. I couldn't understand it. I forced myself to go to sleep and woke up the next morning with the symptoms gone.
A few years back 'out of the blue' came a panic attack while at work. Again I didn't know what was wrong with me. I couldn't breathe, felt hot, tried to walk it off, had a pounding heart. I raced up to my boss and said I needed to go to the emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack. Luckily, she sat me down and assured me that it was just a panic attack and it would subside. This was the most frightening thing I had ever experienced and the fear really took a hold of me.
I was too scared to go back to work and took an early break to our christmas / summer holidays. Seeing the doctor confirmed there was absolutely nothing physically wrong with my heart or blood pressure. He was reluctant to prescribe me antidepressants or sedatives and gave me beta blockers instead. These seemed to have no effect over my anxiety. I was to see a therapist in the new year but until then I really still had no idea what was wrong with me and spent a month in complete worry and fear of another panic attack.
The next 9 months consisted of weekly CBT sessions and forcing myself to go to work every day. I withdrew more and more over this period and stopped going to parties, seeing my friends, inviting people over and even just going shopping. The CBT was helpful, but my therapist referred me to a psychiatrist who prescribed me antidepressants and sedatives to be used in moderation. After that I finally felt myself stabilise and begin to be my old self who is normally funny and quite outgoing. My therapy ended and for the last few years things had been fine.
Just recently, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and had to begin taking medication for that also. As it lowers your immune system, I ended up with 2 stomach bugs in 2 weeks. The feeling in my stomach felt so much like my old anxiety that it began to scare me that something was seriously wrong with me. I spent time at home alone with these thoughts perpetuating the whole time. I began to panic at work again and the stress of thinking I was going backwards had me low and depressed and swinging from anxiety to crying every day.
My doctor increased my antidepressants and for the last few weeks I've been adjusting to the increase. I have spent this time researching as much as I can across the internet all about depression and anxiety. I now realise that I had been relying far too much on my antidepressants over the past few years and had stopped using my CBT techniques. A refresher course from anxietybc got me rethinking my old therapy. This week, using the 'realistic thinking' technique, I have been able to get back to work for a few hours a day. I also realise that there are many safety behaviours I've still been using. I want to address these too.
So that's me basically, I'm climbing up the side of the pit I fell into, but I am determined to work on my thoughts and behaviours and feelings to stay well.
Thanks for reading :)