I am relatively new to this forum and have shared some of my opinions and offered some tips that I have found have worked for me .
I really appreciate the honesty of people on this site. Its not so easy to discuss anxiety and feelings of panic.
I would now like to be honest with you all.
I have decided that I would like to discuss how panic /anxiety has affected me because in the past I have found it very difficult to discuss due to my own embarassment.
My first panic attacks started when I was studying for my final exams at high school. I was about 16 at the time.
I started to feel high levels of anxiety, I worried continually worry about the exams and my results and felt extremely fearful about my future.
I was drinking lots of coffee to keep alert whilst I studied too which I now know would have made the situation worse.
I found that when I went out , I would start by feeling insecure, I would feel a strong need to go to the toliet and then the panic would increase until I suffered sweats , dizziness , shaking and my heart would be thumping in my chest.
It got to the point where I avoided leaving home and at its worst, I would suffer mild anxiety and panic attacks even in my home.
Unfortunately, I had extreme panic attacks all through my final exams ( having to take several toilet breaks) and to the surprise of both my parents , friends and teachers ..I failed my final tests. I had passed all other work through the year.
The panic attacks and anxiety continued throughout the years( a bit like a relative that you would rather not have around).
They got worse at times of stress or illhealth and sometimes I thought they had gone but I would always be fearful and as soon as I allowed one to creep upon me, that feeling of panic would increase and my heart would be racing or I would running around finding a public toilet. Too be honest, I was always fearful I would pee myself. I felt like I was crazy so I kept it a secret.
I remember when I became aware that others suffered panic attacks .I read an article in a newspaper. I felt so relieved!. I thought it was just me.
Even to this day, I reckon that I know every public toilet facility in my city. I never discussed this with my doctor. I did try to discuss this with my mother and on a couple of occasions a friend but it seemed to make them uncomfortable..forget going into details!
I have learnt to cope with anxiety and panic through relaxtion/breathing techniques and trying to be aware to tune in to my body and stress levels.
At the worst times I have avoided activities because I didn't feel strong enough to cope but most of the time, I have gone ahead with doing activities that I love which include horse riding and travelling etc. I have also worked full time, went back to get my diploma in Business management and ended up in a management role in the last 10 years.
I am now in my late forties.
I still get about one full blown panic attack every 6 - 12 months . I still suffer what I regard as mild anxiety on a regular basis. I still go to the toilet more often than most I suppose but I think even when I have an attack, I am able to recognize it and deal with it more quickly and not allow it too shake me up so much.
Well thats my story. I admire you all for your courage, my heart goes out to you all but so does my spirit for you to not let panic and anxiety get in the way of allowing you all to be the best you can be !