I was born without arms, and in spite of my physical disability, I was an active 19-year-old young adult.
I attended College and I worked part time at a Day Care Center. I enjoyed traveling and participating
in a variety of outdoor activities with my family, friends or by myself.
One cold and snowy day, my life drastically changed as the fear of death and “Impending Doom”
grabbed hold of my mind and spirit. I started gasping for air, and I couldn’t catch my breath.
My heart was beating fast and hard, I was dizzy and disorientated. I felt “Out of touch” with
my surroundings. I thought I was going to lose my mind and die.
On a daily basis I was plagued with a variety of unexplainable and irrational symptoms:
– Loss of Concentration
– Loss of Appetite
– Fear of Crowds
– Fear of Open Spaces/Being Outside
In 1982, a Psychotherapist diagnosed me with Agoraphobia and a severe case of Panic/Anxiety
Disorder. My anxiety and panic attacks kept my mind and body on a constant roller coaster. I
would sleep all day and I’d anxiously pace the floors at night. The thought of leaving the
“safety” of my home and traveling anywhere terrified me.
Looking out of a window, sitting in a park, going to the bank or a shopping mall would trigger
severe panic attacks. I dropped out of College and I could no longer hang out with my friends.
The idea of attending a friend’s party or a family gathering sent waves of fear, panic and anxiety
through out my mind and body. “Home” was my “Safe Haven” and that’s where I stayed. I
ventured outdoors only ‘when’ and ‘If ‘ I had too.
I lived with Agoraphobia, Panic and Anxiety disorder for 20 years. I became a prisoner of my
mind and my fears. My anxieties kept me locked inside a lonely world. Ifelt alone and
isolated. I was plagued with bouts of anger, sadness and depression. The world outside of my
front door was changing and I wanted to be a part of it.
Throughout the years I’ve read many “Self Help” books and articles on Panic & Anxiety
disorder. I participated in a variety of online support groups, but nothing worked for me.
I was desperate; this emotional illness robbed me of 20 years of my life, and I refused to
die before I had a chance to “Live.”
In the year 2002, I made the best investment of my lifetime by purchasing a “Home Study Course”
that specialized in the treatment of Anxiety, Depression and Agoraphobia. The program taught
me new coping skills, and it taught me how to manage my depression, anxiety and panic disorder
One month after I started the program, I was out and about participating in “outdoor” activities.
There were so many new and fascinating things for me to try out; I felt like a kid in a candy store.
I lost 20 years of my life, but I learned how to truly appreciate and value the little things that we
sometimes find annoying or take for granted; going to the bank, visiting family and friends,
taking a walk in the park, and spending the day at a shopping mall.
The “Home Study Course” gave me the knowledge and confidence that I needed to begin my
road to recovery, and with the ongoing support and help of a very dear friend, the world outside
my front door slowly began to open and expand. Anxiety will always be a part of my life, but
I will never allow it to control my life as it once did.