Posted 1/31/2020 5:12 PM (GMT -7)
Hey all! Here is my story as briefly as I can say it.
I am 23, I started having anxiety and panic attacks a few years ago. The thing I couldn't figure out is why..? I didn't have any major trauma.... divorce... sickness...deaths... anything really. So why? I still don't know.
I felt so hopeless at one point from feeling this way. I just wanted to feel normal again. I wasn't depressed but surely did not want to live like that (who would?). I searched for things that could help me and searched more.
Here is what I found to help... Firstly I started on a SSRI (zoloft) which I was so terrified to take. I didn't want to feel like I had to depend on something to feel better. My biggest fear was not feeling like myself if I chose to start taking it. I went online and started reading reviews... I freaked myself out of course... there are always bad reviews... (I got suicidal or it made me feel awful or I had constant headaches). I also worried I would have to keep upping my dose to feel good and then eventually I would feel bad again (not true, I started on 25mg which didnt do anything so I asked for a higher dose of 50mg (which is the 2nd to lowest dose) and I felt so much better and am still on 50mg today 2 years later) so many negative things and those were all I could focus on. However, when I finally made the decision to talk to my doctor about it I felt better in 4 weeks... so much better. Not perfect but SO much better, I was functional again, panic and anxiety didn't control my life.
Do not be afraid to try something. So many people have been helped with taking an SSRI. Typically our serotonin is low, especially if you have any gut problems (as do I) (maybe this is the cause of my mental health issues?)
So, when the medicine wasn't enough to fully help me I used some strategies that really helped me and still do today.
I used the DARE method (buy this book its on amazon (DARE)). D= diffuse A= Allow R= Run Towards E=Engage. Pretty much, ALLOW these feeling. When we get these intrusive thoughts such as (what if I fall off the bridge and die or what if I am a bad mom or what if I get a knife and stab someone) Allow the thoughts. Your thoughts are not who you are. In fact most people who dont have anxiety have weird thoughts but they dont trigger that feared response. Do NOT try to push the thoughts away... say ok cool bring me more of these thoughts they are just thoughts that dont make sense. After that, accept the anxious feeling even though its HARD and SCARY and your stomach is turning. (I even got diarrhea sometimes). Then... engage, do something dont just sit around. return to your task.
Apparently this works because each scary pathway and thought builds a pathway, each time this pathway gets bigger and stronger. If we build new pathways and dont let the fear control us and get so scared (by having this fake bring it on attitude) we build new pathways in the brain.
(I am not the best at explaining it, just buy the book lol)
I hope this can help even 1 person. I wish I knew all these things the day I got my first panic attack and the day I had my first intrusive thought.
xoxo - your not alone.