May, 21, England
May’s anxiety started young, triggered by her alcoholic father and several traumatic events, including a rape. May picked herself up from her lowest point to finally seek help and conquer her Generalised Anxiety Disorder. She recently graduated with very good grades and has been in recovery for over two years, at the time of writing.
Part 2. For Part 1, click here.
I had to live with them for the rest of the year, I didn’t tell anyone but was found in tears most days by other housemates. I even got myself a boyfriend a month after it happened, but I think that was just so I could have someone with me to keep away the housemates so they couldn’t do it again.
I hadn’t even come to terms with what had happened because I was experiencing memory loss, which came back piece by piece over the next two years.
A year later, I met my current boyfriend, and about a year afterwards I finally told him why I often get emotional and claustrophobic. He’s very supportive of it all.
I found myself putting increasing pressure on myself at University, and during the last 6 months of my last year, I went to two lectures in total. My anxiety got so bad that I was having weekly, if not daily panic attacks, proper ones which involve crying, screaming, extreme suicidal thoughts, self-hate, loss of control, and finding it very hard to breathe. I couldn’t even go to the corner shop alone. I was a complete mess and missing all my lectures.
Finally, after a particularly bad week of daily attacks, I went to the doctor and got medication at last! Beta Blockers and Anti-depressants. The medication was harsh, and the side effects made me almost ring for an ambulance at first. (Sweating, odd heartbeat, shakes, hot and cold flushes, feeling very sick, loss of appetite, and bad insomnia).
But after a few days they settled down and I noticed a massive difference, although I still had a temperature and sweated like crazy all the time. I also couldn’t concentrate well at all on these. Whereas before I would feel my heart racing in situations, I would now simply feel anxious, but my heart remained steady.
I carried on with the medication and managed to turn my University work around, and ended up graduating with a 2:1 and a first in my dissertation!
6 months on from my lowest point, I am having about one panic attack every 2-4 weeks, cutting down on my dosage, got myself a customer service job, and my general outlook on life is so much more positive.
It does get better, eventually.
(Even though that story was long, I missed out a lot of details still such as visits to a counsellor and self-improvement goals)
Back to Part 1