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I have been a worrier all my life, suffering from anxiety attacks from age 4. As a little girl, it manifested itself as the inability to speak. When I got scared, I would freeze up and could not speak. In elementary school, I was bullied. In the 5th grade, the anxiety kicked in again, but this time, it manifested itself as nausea. I would get so nauseous each and every morning before school due to my anxiety. It randomly went away.Over the years, I became the most social and outgoing person. I was constantly out, constantly working, constantly partying - I was barely ever home. I thrived off of the energy in large groups of people, so much so that I got a job in the nightlife industry. I worked with a huge nightlife marketing and promotional group - this meant I was always at clubs and different functions.
My doctor put me on Effexor. This is when I experienced my first panic attack. It hit me out of nowhere, and it left me absolutely terrified. At this point, I had no idea that it was anxiety related, and I had never been on an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, so I thought it might just be a side effect from the drug.
Fast forward 4 months - in August, I had another panic attack. The difference between August and 4 months prior, is that my lifestyle had started to take its toll on me. From binge drinking on a weekly basis, to barely getting any sleep, and a very poor (almost nonexistent) diet, I was starting to get into pretty rough shape. This second panic attack actually happened while I was intoxicated. The one and only thought in my mind was 'I'm dying. Someone call my mother and tell her I love her.'
After that 2nd attack I was truly afraid of what was going on with me. I started to develop the fear of experiencing another attack, and at that point, I didn't even know that it was a panic attack that I was experiencing. Because of this fear, it started happening more often (at least once every 2 weeks).
In November of 2013, I woke up one morning and started my day in the most productive way possible. I was up early, organized myself for the day ahead, and picked up breakfast on my way to class. Somewhere between getting breakfast and getting to class, I started having heart palpitations. Because I had started the day off pretty positively, I didn't make much of it, and blamed it on running for the streetcar. A couple of hours passed and the heart palpitations didn't stop.
To make a long story short - since November, I have experienced multiple panic attacks a day. I quit my job, and stopped going to school. I moved out of my downtown apartment, and moved back home with my mom.
Even on the days where I feel most normal, I am unable to leave home. I've attempted both going down the street, as well as heading to the mall downtown - both situations have left me bursting into tears and rushing home. My anxiety/panic/depression has gotten so bad that I'm unable to even settle myself at home now. Initially, reading about other people having the same experience gave me a sense of relief, but at this point, my fear is so strong that I feel as though my life is over. I have this constant fear of either dropping dead or just going completely insane. I'm at my absolute wits end, and I don't know if it's even possible to try to cope anymore. I just want nothing more than to be back to my normal social, and outgoing self. I want to be able to get out of bed. I want to be able to leave home. I want to live.
everyone's asked me 'Well, what triggers it?' and that's the one question I can never seem to answer.
My life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride - to put it lightly - but I've generally been the strongest person. I've always been the person that everyone leans on and everyone turns to in moments of weakness.
I know I shouldn't be, but I'm almost embarrassed to even bring it up to anyone anymore, because every conversation leads to people talking about how much they miss the way I used to be, and how this is so unlike me. I've tried talking to people about any little fear I can think of, I've tried writing it out, and at points I've tried to just brush things off, but nothing seems to really help.