If you're a fan of The Bloggess, like I am, you may have read her Post in which she discusses her fight with depression last week. I read it. And it inspired me to share my own struggles with anxiety and panic disorder.
These are not easy illnesses to talk about. The stigma that surrounds them and the lack of understanding by society makes many of us hide away how we truly feel. Dealing with anxiety attacks and panic disorder is scary and frustrating and makes me feel damaged. This isn't something I can "get over". Nor is it something I do for attention. Believe me, there are lots more fun ways to be in the spotlight. Being unable to breathe and breaking out in a cold sweat are not them.
I can't tell you what started my disorders. There are no traumatic events or serious illnesses that caused them. Just like I couldn't tell you when or where I might suffer an attack. All I know is that they are physically debilitating. The anxiety causes me to feel out of control and then I panic and all I know is that I feel like I've got to get out of here. Now! I remember avoiding some outings just so I didn't chance an attack happening. But that made me feel like a recluse and I hated missing out. I knew there was something wrong so I made an appointment to see a doctor and he diagnosed me.
Currently I take medication which makes me feel even-keeled. I haven't had any episodes or attacks in almost three years. And even then they were minor in scale because of the meds. Now, I'm not advocating pills to deal with anxiety, panic or whatever disorder you suffer from. I'm just saying that they work for me. And as long as my fabulous doctor is in agreement, I'll keep taking them.
I'm hoping for a time when I won't be dependent on medication to get through the day. Right now, though, I still need them. I'm not ready yet and too scared to go pill-free. I'm like a little kid and the world is my big, scary closet full of monsters. However, the meds help me keep the closet door closed, until I'm ready to slay the monsters on my own.