I have an anxiety disorder. When I was very little I experienced anxiety related some some things but for the most part of my life I didn’t have any issues until a few years ago. I believe relationship issues caused me to have several panic attacks, but it went undiagnosed for over a year and was just written off as random issues with my stomach. A year after that relationship ended I had a major panic attack that lasted all night, and due to the severity of it and the lack of understanding as to what was happening I felt like I was dying. All night long I was wondering I had been poisoned or if I was having a heart attack or something worse. There were many points where I could hardly breathe. I walked myself to the emergency room and waited from four to five hours to see a doctor, only to have them tell me it was probably just an anxiety disorder.
I was originally prescribed propranolol as needed, but that didn’t do anything for me. They then gave me klonopin as needed which almost always works very well. It is nice because I don’t need to take anything regularly, but it still affects me because I don’t drink anymore. I was told alcohol can cause panic attacks for people with anxiety, and if I were to have a couple beers or something then if I did have a panic attack I wouldn’t be able to take my medication because it shouldn’t be taken with alcohol, so I prefer to just not drink anymore. It often makes people wonder why I don’t have a drink, and I suspect several of them think I am boring because I don’t want to go out to bars or even have a beer with them. My close friends understand though.
The biggest things it affects for me are dating and work. The night I had the big panic attack and walked myself to the emergency room I had texted the girl I was dating at the time what I was going through and she didn’t respond. The next day she texted me that she didn’t want to have to deal with these issues so we shouldn’t see each other anymore. I went on several dates with other girls later that year and anxiety caused problems with most of them. A lot of people don’t know what it is like, and even if they do know what it is like and are accepting of it they would still prefer someone who doesn’t have any issues.
From what I have read about anxiety, many of the relaxation techniques involve something to distract yourself from what you’re going through. I find that I do the opposite and that seemed to help a great deal in the long term. I think the anxiety I have is a result of some aspect of my psyche that is illogical, so if I find what that is and focus on that then I can slowly work my way into it and untie whatever knots I find. Over the last year I have had two strong panic attacks, but aside from those I have noticed a strong decline in the overall levels of anxiety I feel. Today I almost forget what anxiety feels like, but there are good days and bad. The bad ones lately aren’t so terrible anymore though.