I am a 28 y.o. male living in Russia, working in advertising for many years. I suffer what is currently diagnosed by a psychiatrist as a panic disorder or GAD (he is not sure yet, but I did have panic attacks in the near past, so he inclines to the panic disorder).
My first waves of anxiety arose 1-1,5 years ago in the shape of "OMG, everything went too bad" feeling and were clearly job-related. Stressful meetings, unreal deadlines and multi-tasking triggered feelings like "I don't want to wake up tomorrow" or "everything is so bad I won't make it" or "we have to do something quick"; they also somewhat spoiled my peristaltic processes, if you know what I mean
, but nothing more.
Then, 9 months ago, dizziness began torturing me every 2-4 days; I felt like I couldn't walk straight (although I could), felt like the head is empty (it wasn't), like my legs aren't strong enough to hold me (they were and still are). After a month of such prelude, full-scaled, severe panic attacks started, with feelings of numbness, face paralysis, staying on the verge of collapse, vertigo, dreadfulness, racing thoughts, derealization, etc. You all know those, I guess.
Here in Russia non-organic illnesses are rarely treated at all (unless it's an obvious case of psychosis). In medical insurance programs, psychiatrists/psychotherapists are simply absent. Logically, the ambulance that I have called after a panic attack took me to neurology department where all tests including MRI and EEG proved me super-healthy.
In spite of that, things got only worse with panic attacks, I couldn't go out, take subway, usual stuff. Benzos were the only - a temporary one indeed - solution. What was funny - only then I realized the problem is not with, say, sudden carcinoma or ischemic attacks in my brain (MRI proved that), nor with the blood pressure (I have the one of a pilot) but something psychologically-grounded.
Another interesting Russian "tradition" is that here a doctor first studies psychiatry for some 8 years, then has practice with mentally ill at hospitals and only after some years of that gets additional psychotherapist education. That's why psychotherapists that can treat anxiety disorders not only by injecting you heavy anti-psychotic drugs or prescribing antidepressants are very rare and expensive (the last one I believe is however true for all countries
So, only 3 months ago I finally found a psychiatrist+psychotherapist to suit my needs. By that time I believed I was going to die the other day. He immediately evaluated me and ran all psychiatric tests, coming to conclusion that I am not in any psychotic state. We started a course of psychoanalytical therapy, with the only medicational support of Phenibut (it's a Russian nootrope with very light sedative effect, not a benzo or anything like that; in US it's considered a food additive).
The positive outcome of psychotherapy over 2 months was the elimination of almost all symptoms. Dizziness, numbness, derealization, vertigo, breath seisures, fear of transport, agoraphobia - gone. Bye, babies, please never come back again.
Now, for some unknown reason, I have 2 "new" strong symptoms.
1) strong, oppressive, barely bearable periods of anxiety without any obvious trigger; they occur 1 to 3 times a week and last for 10 minutes - 2 hours. They are much weaker than panic attacks and do not trigger any urge to run; but they do "oppress" and make me think I am nuts.
2) horrible, dreadful and imminent feeling of insanity(schizophrenia) knocking on my
It is obvious for me that the second issue is the outcome of the first: it's on the height of anxiety attacks when I really believe those thoughts and fears about psychosis are the first call for psychosis itself. But honestly I am still scared even when out of anxiety. "This is my life, and it may be in danger" is my anthem for about 2 months already. Don't laugh at me, but sometimes I feel I have no tomorrow because of schizophrenia onset happening right now.
My doc gives me a friendly smile every time I tell him about my fears, reassures me that it's 99% that I don't have and will never ever have schizophrenia (and, as I write above, he's very experienced in psychoses, so I should believe that, 99% is a good number).
He also seems a good psychotherapist/analytic (hence all previous symptoms gone), but the only question remaining is how do I get rid of the fear of schizophrenia finally?
Unfortunately, there are zero or almost zero cognitive therapy specialists here, and I don't see how psychoanalysis can make this particular fear go away. More than that, my doc insists we work on the anxiety, not on the fear of schizophrenia which will go away on its own. I would want to obey to that, but I feel I still need a CBT book or resource to learn myself control this fear. I can't live full life with this fear, because it stops any activity: I would just sit and think of how useless will all my efforts be if I'm getting schizophrenic tomorrow. To me, it looks logical.
So, still searching, hope to find answers here...