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.
I grew up in a similar way, although I never really had much of the attacks as I did just a social anxiety, I was very shy and was quite the people pleaser, very passive... but as I aged on into my teen ages I become a little more resilient, as I hung out with friends and "forced" past my fears and anxiety and went out, did the whole night party thing and loved it. bein' the badass back in the day. but as I hit the late year of being 21 I began to bounce back to my old ways of anxiety in a more adult form, I was being irrational, that is a battle I'm fighting right now, at the age of 22.
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.
More than likely this is the case, most doctors will start you at a sub-theraputic dosage that will keep the initial side effects down, but as the drug begins to set in the body, the initial take off is rough, your anxiety will spike through the roof, same here when I started Zoloft a little over a month ago, I had back to back attacks that I had NEVER experienced before.
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.'
Are you still on the Effexor? Has your dosage been adjusted or has your doctor/psych choose to maintain the dosage that you were on? once you get over the first launch of it (6-12 weeks I think) you might have panned back out to feeling your way prior to starting it, which might indicate an uppage in dosage, have you spoke with your doc about this?
Sorry to hear about the panic attack while intoxicated, do you recall what might have triggered it? was it in fear of anything or a thought that might have triggered it? That's got to be a crazy ride to go through, I usually become loosened when drinking alcohol, especially in social situations (like bars and stuff) but when I'm sober I hardly can go in there without feeling like I'm about to kill over with anxiety.
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).
fear and mind battles are nasty, it does not take much to turn them into a snowball effect of variable battles. Once you start turning the gears on the mind, sometimes it gets to spinning so fast you can't grab the handle.
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.
Is there any anxiety-triggering going on with your classes? Were you comfortable in the classroom setting? I had a hard time going to mine the first time around but it started to pan out. It's hard to think of what causes stuff when they initially happen at times, but if you look back at it, sometimes you'll see what may have caused it.
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.
Were these attacks coming out of nowhere or again, were there any triggers? (sorry to be reptitive)
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.
I am sorry to hear about what you're going through, and it's hard at times to see an "out" to these situations because it's not like throwing a band-aid over a little cut on your arm. These things build up, they bottle up... and the more it adds it's more to look back on which develops more lack of self-worth. You can pull yourself out of this and I know you can. Don't try to do it.... just straight do it. It's easier said that done, but do whatever you have to do and follow through with it. Nobody said it would be easy, but the reward at the end is much better.
I'm glad to see you on here seeking support, and I hope you find your "out" and carry through living a happier life. Anxiety has knocked you down, maybe a 100 times. but You've stood up 99 times prior to that, you just gotta get up again and find a new way to face these situations with all that you got, until you become accustomed to it and it no longer effects you as greatly.
It sounds like you've been taking a medicated route. I highly suggest speaking with a Psychiatrist as soon as you can schedule one and let them know what's REALLY going on. Tell them how you REALLY feel and they will do their best to help. If you feel they are incompetent to your needs, then you find somebody else who is. There will be one out there that will suit you.
Sorry to hear CBT didn't work out, but if you do decide to go back to school or if you are currently attending, see if they have a Therapist on staff. This will be free to you (as it is most likely included in your tuition).
Therapy is hard. and it's very slow and progressive, but it is great way of understanding your own mind and finding ways to self-control these behaviors.
You're a strong individual because you've shown that you have pushed through this for so long and you're reaching your hand out for help. There is a way out there always is.
Keep me updated.