My first experience with anxiety and panic attacks started when I was in high school around the age of 16. At first I thought maybe I had too much caffeine that day and I was feeling a little off, maybe I needed to eat something.
The feeling makes you feel like you’re in a time warp, you may feel hot, start to sweat, fast heart beat, a lump in your throat and you may even feel as if you’re dying in that moment. This may last for a few minutes to several.
I was officially diagnosed in 2010 with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), meaning (my definition) that its vague diagnosis for someone who experiences anxiety for no apparent reason but life stresses are the trigger for a long time. Like people who have other anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorders, they often have a trigger that sets it off, or a life event that causes them to start these behaviors. But according the Mayo Clinic it is “severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with day-to-day activities.”
My anxiety started to happen in 2008 after a recent death of a close friend of mine. The stress and pain I was going through made me start to not be able to sleep and begin the anxiety attacks. But I believe after having my first child in March 2010 set off the anxiety at a heightened level and could have been diagnosed with Post Partum Anxiety
I have had two major anxiety attacks or panic attacks, where I was on the verge of possible hospitalization, which led me to seek medical attention. They happened when I was going to bed and I would wake up in a panic, almost as if I was trying to catch my breath or my heart stopped. I started to shake and even had a hard time processing what was real or not. I was shaking and scared. They lasted over 4 hours, they would come and go.
When I first went to my doctor, he talked me through my diagnoses and prescribed me Lexapro(Escitalopram). This is a drug that helps with anxiety and corrects any chemical imbalances you could have with your serotonin. This worked great. My moods started to stablize and my axiety started to subside. But at the time, Lexapro was not in generic form and my insurance didn’t cover much of the cost, so I was put on the sister drug Celexa (Citalopram), but had an allergic reaction to it about 3 weeks into taking it and was eventually left with Zoloft(Sertraline).
I was not objected to taking prescription medication for my anxiety, being a Certifed Pharmacy Technician, I am around these drugs all the time and know the benefits they have. But I wanted to start to live without anxiety and medication.
I read in many articles that exercise and eating a balanced diet can help with dealing with anxiety. I started to take walks and limit my caffeine intake because caffeine can increase your chances of having attacks.Yoga, meditation, balanced diet and counseling can help with living with it. Becoming educated by medical professionals and reading can help you with deal with them.
My advice on dealing with an anxiety attack is surrounding yourself with someone you feel safe with. Due to the intense fear level you experience while having an attack, having someone with you or available to you helps out. Remember to take deep breaths and realize that the state of fear you’re in is in your mind. Your mind is your worst enemy at the time you are having one. The more you give into the fear, the more it grows.