If you’re anything like I was 3 years ago, then you probably answered "yes" to quite a few of those questions.
A normal day for me back then would include 10 or 15 panic attacks. They were HUGE attacks too. The kind that would leave me curled up in a corner somewhere, crying, shaking, too exhausted to do anything.
It didnt get much better when the attacks stopped. Because even then I had to live with the general anxiety that had ruined my life for the previous 17 years.
I was scared that any minute Id have another panic attack. When an attack came I was scared I was going to die.
When my anxiety caused physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, depersonalization, and palpitations, I was scared I had some terrible illness that was going to kill me.
And pretty much every minute of my day I was scared that my life would always be that way. That it would never get better.
I lost count of how many times I saw my doctor. And seeing her wasnt an easy thing to do when just the thought of leaving the house was enough to make me throw up.
In the end she put me on medication. First sedatives, which numbed me to the point where half the time I didnt know where I was.
And not just one anti-depressant. Three of them. Because the first two caused such unbearable side-effects I couldnt stand them for more than a couple of days.
I was on a cocktail of drugs for more than 9 months, and you know the crazy thing? My anxiety and panic were as bad as ever. And I was still having all the panic attacks. And I was still living in fear.
Actually, things were worse. Now, as well as my anxiety problems, I also had to deal with the side-effects from the medications I was taking.
The psychologist had me talking to empty chairs where my dead father was supposed to be sitting. Really helpful stuff.
My sessions with her were pointless, and seeing her each week had become one of my biggest worries. And extra fears and worries were the last thing I needed.
Id tried to help myself by reading books on anxiety too. I read dozens of them. Stuff on cognitive behavioural therapy, distraction techniques, relaxation, positive thinking.
And even after everything, I still found myself curled up in a ball in the corner of my bedroom one night, having the longest, most awful, most scary panic attack of my life.
My memory of that night will never leave me. From midnight until 7 the next morning Id had one long and unbearable and terrifying panic attack.
I really thought I was losing my mind. Id locked myself in my bedroom because I was sure if any of my family got in they would have me put in a mental asylum.
When the morning came, and my mind had cleared enough…