I have been diagnosed now for about a year and a half with anxiety/ panic disorder and depression. Depression runs in my family and I was very lucky to get diagnosed quickly and put on medication by my family doctor..(yes you read that right my FAMILY DOCTOR!!) My first experiences with panic and anxiety came when I was serving in the US Army in Fort Ord, CA. In the evenings I would not be able to sleep for more than mabys a couple of hours a night. After a few weeks of this I found the perfect sleep medication..alcohol. After a couple of weeks I decided that since I was enjoying it so much in the evenings, why not drink during the day?? And on and on it went until I eventually had to stop. I managed to do this with very little trouble (I was blessed). I gradually learned to deal with this anxiety by just attempting to ignore it and I bacame very introverted and almost home-bound. As a matter of fact I still have trouble often opening up to new acquaintances. Once I was released from the Army I moved back home to IN and started a job working for a local bank in the evenings. This job suited my personality very well as it was in the evenings and I was the only person in the bank.. But after a while the anxity monster came back and I even began having distortions in my visual perceptions. I would look at something and all of a sudden it would appear fuzzy and then clear again. I also noticed that I couldn't stand to be around people, they made me feel like crawling out of my skin! I struggled through that time barely holding on to my life and even contemplating suicide a few times. I literally thought that I was going crazy or losing my mind. I somehow managed to begin college the next year and I took a job at a local library working in the storage area. It was here that my panic attacks began for the first time. Several times I would be reshelving books and all of a sudden I experienced a sense of unreality and my heart rate would speed up immensly. I would look around and not be able to see anything around me. It looked like a big swirling mess of colors and I would be overcome with the feeling that I had to get out of there. So I did, and the library didn't like my leaving without explanation very much. As a result when I arrived at work one morning and they began to berate me for this behavior I decided the %#$@ with it I'm leaving. The irony in that is if I would have stayed they offered free counseling for their employees. Needless to say I was suffering. On a prayer I made an appointment with my family doctor and to my surprise he almost immediately diagnosed me with my illness. He even prescribed some medication on my first visit. (Xanax:which by the way I would caution anyone using this drug to check out its addictive side effects). The Xanax worked somewhat well for me for about a year and I felt pretty good however, I still would have some rough moments. About a year later I started having problems again and I went back to my Doc and was put on PAXIL. I have been on this for about three months now and I have to say it is a lifesaver. I actually feel like a normally functioning human being again:-) So anyway I would encourage anyone out there with similar problems to NOT GIVE UP!! You can get help. Just look around and don't take no for an answer from any doctor. GOOD LUCK MY FRIENDS! I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY CORRESPONDANCE FROM PEOPLE SUFFERING WITH SIMILAR PROBLEMS OUT THERE. ALL MESSAGES WILL BE REPLIED TO!
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