Personal post here and one I've been frightened to actually post about however this is something that I am absolutely NOT embarrassed about and I am open to talking about in the hope that perhaps I could help other people suffering with this awful awful thing.
Anxiety is something that consumed my life aged just 16 when things were just starting to take shape. I was a young woman making my way through life just fine until one day I was sat in bed with my first love and the room began to spin. I told him to go and get my parents and tell them I was dying because to me, that's how it felt. Ever felt anxious? Completely normal. Ever felt like you're on the brink of death? Your chest is tight, you literally can't breathe, everything around you becomes twice the size and twice as scary. This can be described as anxiety.
Once I had my first panic attack on that fateful day they came often afterwards. My family couldn't believe it, they were in utter disbelief. I was such a confident and chatty girl and my anxiety was in no way socially related however once anxiety consumed me social situations did sometimes become scary. I became scared to even leave the house just to have a chat with friends and the thought of meals were UNBEARABLE. Feeling trapped, having to sit at a table whilst having a mahoosive panic attack wasn't the top of my agenda. To be honest, I think anxiety was the worst thing to ever happen to me yet it has also completely shaped me as a person and made me stronger.
When I first realised I had anxiety I just couldn't work out why; I'm still not sure. I believe it could be linked to the contraceptive pill I had been taking which brought bouts of dizziness. I used to be so frightened when I'd get dizzy and the first time I had a panic attack had started with the room spinning. Though, I can't be sure that this is the reason. I remember after my first panic attack thinking oh my... well that was certainly unpleasant, it's a good job it's over and won't happen again. I had no idea stuff like this existed where it can be an ongoing thing. Little did I know I'd be here 5 years later dedicating a blog post to my struggle with a tattoo on my thigh purely dedicated to strength.
When the panic attacks occurred more and more often and worse and worse, I had to get help. I knew what I was experiencing was anxiety and panic attacks due to the fact that my dad suffers terribly too. Anxiety can run in families. Just know that you're NOT dying and you WILL be okay as they CANNOT hurt you. I went to the doctors, they explained to me what I was experiencing and prescribed me with anti-depressants - Seroxat to be exact.
Now Seroxat is a strange thing. I kind of love it yet loathe it all at once. I personally don't think I could have gotten through the panic attacks without this little tiny tablet each day. It completely brought me back to life again, I was back to being the normal, bubbly, happy and confident me. I didn't have to worry about freaking out in front of friends or if I was able to leave the house that day. It honestly brought me a new lease of life.
After a few years, I had been taking Seroxat near enough every day (I was meant to take it every day but heeey I'm forgetful). I decided that I had had enough and that I no longer needed the tablets anymore. I felt empowered and like I could overcome this mental health problem. The first hurdle was the withdrawal, I decided to go cold turkey (god knows why) and I felt so sick and like electrical impulses were running throughout my whole body constantly like a zapping feeling. It was awful but when this was over I felt great and better than ever. This was just before I was due to go to university.. yes it sounds like a bad idea but I felt like I could do it.
Truth is, I could and I DID. For about 6 months I was tablet and anxiety free. I was confident, happy and enjoying university. I met someone after I had experience a nasty break-up and he was great. We had been on a night out together and the next day were lying in bed when I struggled to breathe. I suddenly had the worst panic attack of my entire life. I had no tablets, I was in a strange place that I barely knew and didn't even have a doctors yet as I had only just gone to university.
I was despairing, storming the streets pale as a sheet nearly passing out with him by my side trying to help me out. Luckily I had previously told him that I had suffered and he was such a massive support. I was calling 111 telling them that I needed desperate help and was getting my then not labelled boyfriend to rush the shop and get me a straight bottle of vodka. I was doing anything I possibly could to try and calm me down. Ringing my mum in floods of tears terrified. Finally I got prescribed Diazepam and Seroxat which my boyfriend picked up for me and my parents picked me up and took me home. On the plus side, this day is actually mine and my boyfriends anniversary; after how supportive and understanding he was I knew he was the one. It was also the day he got to meet my parents as I simply wouldn't go anywhere without him.
Back on Seroxat again and taking Diazepam here and there when it felt absolutely necessary was rough. I was scared to leave the house and would panic over meals with my boyfriend. It was all very horrible again but once again I recovered and I am back to my normal self again now. Yes, I do still take Seroxat as personally for me I feel like it's a medication that I do need, just like an asthmatic needs an inhaler. It eradicated the chemical imbalance in my brain and for me it works.
I plan on getting counselling soon so hopefully that may help me with ways to deal with panic attacks etc however when I am on Seroxat I can't say that I really get them. Anyone who feels like they can relate to my ordeal, I just want to say, you are the strongest most amazing and beautiful person and you CAN and WILL get through it. Everyone has their struggles, this is just yours but your strength will carry you through. It does get better, especially as life comes together as that was a huge worry of mine, not being successful and not being able to afford to live.
Keep smiling and be positive. If anyone needs anyone to talk to please feel free to email me (email@example.com) and I can answer any questions you may have about this horrible issue.
Samaritans number - 08457 90 90 90.