I have always been an anxious person since childhood, worrying about things rather than playing with other kids my age but my problems really started around 15 years ago. After losing my best friend to cancer and my partner at the time leaving me weeks after having out daughter, I thought I was coping really well, and then one day I was in town with a friend and we were standing in a queue at the bank and we were chatting away and suddenly everything went hazy. The only way I can describe it is that everything seemed distance, and I could see people and see their mouths moving but I couldn’t seem to understand what they were saying. I can remember my friend shaking me and asking if I was ok and feeling like my heart was about to explode out of my chest and needing to find the nearest chair as my legs felt as though they couldn’t hold me up.
I felt like something was really wrong, and would go as far as to say I felt I was dying and I just needed to get home. We left town in a hurry, with my friend crying with fear because she didn’t know what was happening to me. That was my biggest mistake, as the only place I felt safe then was home and it became my prison for 5 years. I was forced by my family to seek medical help and my gp made me feel I was over reacting. Asking for help every time I needed shopping was degrading and I felt I was constantly putting my friends and family out. The worst day of my life came when my daughter fell and broke her wrist and she was terrified and crying and I had to watch her being taken to hospital by someone else as the panic had a too bigger hold on me.
My children used to go and spend weekends with their father and during this time I also developed monophobia (fear of being left alone) and as soon as they left the house I would have panic attack after panic attack. There is also nothing like the feeling of watching friends and family go on holiday and knowing I couldn’t take my children anywhere. My eldest son couldnt bare to see me suffering and moved out at 16 to live with his girlfriend, but my other two children were my life savers. They looked after me in a way I can never repay. They never once asked anything of me and we spent many hours having great times together at home playing games and watching movies. They were the reason I was determined to recover.
First step, doctors. Endless counselling…going over my past, didn’t help at all. CBT, helped for 6 sessions but then it stopped and was made to feel a failure for it not working. I spent hours and hours of time browsing internet and trying fake panic attack remedies and was about to give up when a link for No panic came up on google. Thank god I clicked on it as I nearly didn’t and would never have been where I am today.
One day when my children were out and I was panicking I phoned the No panic helpline and spoke to a woman who was the most understanding person I had spoken to since my panic had begun. After talking to her a few times I was confident enough to join the telephone group that she had recommended I try and although I found the first couple of time difficult, and don’t think I even spoke apart from my name, it was the best thing I ever did. I began to see my anxiety in a different light and I’m not saying it was immediate, but within a year I was almost panic free and was booking out first holiday. I got help and advice almost daily for weeks and I never felt stupid or embarrassed.
I took all the advice I could and really listened to what the other people were saying in the group and worked out a strategy that I though would help me and just tried my hardest. I have now been panic free for 3 years and if I can do it then so can anyone.
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