Many of you won't know this and it is a topic I have been debating posting for a while.
Anxiety & Panic Disorder - My Road to Recovery
This year marks 12 years since the beginning of my anxiety attacks but also, signifies how far I have come in my recovery.
My anxiety began with panic attacks and along the way turned into a severe social anxiety. This all spiralled out of control due to a past relationship, with a man who wasn't ever abusive physically but by the use of his words. Words that were hurtful and demeaning. This was mental abuse. It took me a very long time to admit to myself that this was happening to me. I suffered it for 2 years.
It got to the stage where I had lost 2 stone in weight and the actual thought of going out in public was terrifying. I remember on my 20th birthday being in HMV on Princes Street, Edinburgh - I felt like the walls were closing in on me, I dashed out and sat at the nearest bus stop for an hour in a cold sweat. A few weeks later, in Cafe Drummond, Aberdeen - whilst at home visiting family, I wasn't so lucky and I took a tumble down the stairs, the whole room went dark and I fainted. I was extremely lucky to have very good friends with me at the time. This cycle of passing out in public spaces continued for months. Sometimes, taxis would have to be called just so I could remove myself from the social situation before an 'attack' got so out of control. It has to be the scariest experience of my life.
I met my cousin one evening for a glass of wine and she couldn't believe the change in me - she said that she used to think of me as 'the most confident, outgoing person she knew', I was now a shadow of my former self.
This nightmare didn't only harm me socially but it began to effect my work and colleagues became really concerned. I remember arriving late to a business lunch, I had slept in - shoved clothes on and ran out the door. When I arrived at the table, making my apologies, my boss asked if I were ok? She looked really worried. I said 'yes of course why?', she replied 'you have scratches all down your neck'. I hadn't actually looked at myself properly in a mirror that morning so I took myself off to the restroom and right enough, I had been clawing myself in my sleep. This was a big wake up call.
To cut a long story short, with the help of family and very good friends, I removed myself from that relationship and moved back home to Aberdeen. I remember the car entering Aberdeen on my return
and a wave of relief overcame me. Slowly, my life began to get back on track. May 2004 signified a future of brightness. The panic attacks lessened and the recovery began, through taking one step at a time.
The following year, I met my husband to be. We have now been together 9 years and have two beautiful boys. I do still suffer sleep anxiety, I am not 100% sure it will ever go. Though, breathing and relaxation techniques work wonders. I find exercising outdoors priceless help.
The biggest aid to my recovery was the help from family and friends. Being able to realise my problems and being able to talk about them freely was better than any medication than a doctor could prescribe. Also realising that none of it was my fault, I wasn't to blame.
If you are someone who is sitting here that has been through or currently suffering anxiety and feels like they have no one to talk to. Call Anxiety UK Tel: 08444 775 774 . You can talk to somebody confidentially for advice, even if you just need to vent.