Thanks for the warm welcome.
So, in a little more detail:
I'm a 30 year old male (a minority in the anxiety / panic community I'm learning) from North Carolina. I currently work as a case manager and youth specialist for at risk / low income 16-21 year olds.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm now realizing that I have been dealing with extreme anxiety in one form or another since I can remember. As a very young child, I would wake up in the middle of the night terrified though it didn't seem to be from a typical nightmare, and the fear would last for several hours. As I got up into early teenage years, I would regularly feel what I now identify as periods of depression and uneasiness even when there was nothing that justified those feelings. I began having panic attacks right before I graduated from high school, the first of which was brought on by the brilliant idea to take a bunch of caffine pills and "Mini Thins" (O.T.C. asthma medication) while drinking over spring break. That episode passed after a few weeks and I didn't really have any major symptoms again until several years later. This one was more problamatic and resulted in my dropping out of college for a semester. Since then, it has been on and off, due mostly to the fact that I wasn't consistant in taking the prescribed meds and doing the other things that are apparently necessary for me to maintain some stabilty. The past two to three years had been mostly panic free, not counting the general anxiety and worrying that is just part of who I am.
At the end of October, I had a complete relapse. It had been so long since I had had a full blown panic attack that I was totally crippled by them and the fear of them for over two weeks. I made an appointment with my psyciatrist and got back on my meds (Lexapro) which I had stopped back in June. I also went to see my therapist, who has been a life saver for about 8 years and started to get back to where I could function somewhat normally again. I'm to the point where I can function normally at work as well as eat out and go places like the grocery store most of the time, for example. It's been extra difficult this time because I was recently married and although my wife and I have talked about the issues that I've had in the past, you can never really understand it until you or someone close to you has dealt with it. It's been hard for both of us and has complicated the normal difficulties that come along with adjusting to marriage, but I think we're getting it figured it out. I'm taking my meds (15mg of Lexapro and Klonopin as needed), going to my therapist, and abstaining from the avoidance of places and situations that make me fearful. Overall, I'm much better than I was a month ago, but I get very discouraged about the bad days that I have occasionally.
Anyway, I could ramble on for pages, but this is what's going on with me in a nutshell. I look foward to getting to know and learning from many of you and hope I can be of assistance on occasion as well.
By the way, my wife, inlaws, and myself are taking a weekend trip to my family's beach house today and I'm a bit anxious about that. I've not been too far from home since I've not been feeling well, so this could be a little difficult. I'm not driving, which makes me very anxious by itself (I need control) but I figured this would be a good excercise in facing my fears. Keep me in your thoughts and have a great weekend.