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I started having, what I know now is, panic attacks at age 15.
Every morning when I got up to go to school I’d start vomiting and shaking until the bus went by. Finally, the guidance counselor intervention took place and she had me work in her office on the period a day hoping I’d become more comfortable.
I still felt claustrophobic in class and had to resist the temptation to run. By the time I came to start college, I avoided church, stores, malls, any place with crowds and was terrified of being in a car.
Finally, my parents took me to my family doctor when I called home telling them I was walking home from college. I was put on valium and kept at home for 2 weeks then returned to school with a referral to a psychologist.
Things got worse because he molested me and fortunately I was referred to a psychiatrist. He started me on meds for depression and with a new therapist. I moved out with friends, bought a car and started working full-time.
I’ve had a couple relapses where I’ve been housebound but have made it back. My parents have been great even though they don’t really comprehend everything.
One of my sisters suffers from anxiety and we’ve recently become a support for each other. Its a hard and scary disease. Just when you think you have it beat it puts you in check.
I could write a novel about all of the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met. Maybe someday I will.
For now, I participate in a group on Facebook when I can and try to help others with what I’ve learned over the last 42 years. Right now I’m facing a bigger battle.
Both my parents are now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, one almost 2 years ago and the other just recently. I’m trying to learn all I can as each of them is different. I just pray I can handle it and my anxiety doesn’t get in the way.