Questions For…Somebody Living with Panic

If you’re new here, throughout November I’m talking to people who have their own experiences of mental and physical health problems. My last post was with Jade talking her experience of anxiety and depression.

I ask the questions and my contributors give me their answers which will be unedited. Today is Lisa’s experience of panic, anxiety and depression. Please check her out over at https://theprocrastinatingmum.co.uk/

If anyone would like to be a contributor please get in touch via the contact page. If you’re affected by anything that may come up in these posts please scroll to the bottom for relevant support information. Above all please respect people’s honesty and enjoy!

Can you tell me a bit about your experience leading up to experiencing panic,anxiety and depression?
My first ever memory of experiencing anxiety and panic attacks was when I was around 9 years old and my nan had just died. I started to question what would happen to us after we died and I was unable to comprehend the passage of time after we die. I had no idea that what I was experiencing was anxiety and panic attacks. I was terrified and didn’t confide in anyone because I didn’t understand it myself. I tried to ignore the problem for years until it eventually got too much. I’d started drinking every night to block the thoughts out and my husband started to question me.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was 26. I’d been married 3 months and what should have been the happiest time of my life was just a big empty hole. I adore my husband but I felt like I had nothing left to look forward to. I felt like I was just waiting to get old and die. I think that it probably ties into my anxiety. I used to cry in the shower before going to work. Whenever I left house I used to be so upset because all I wanted to do was sit in my nice, safe, warm house and ignore the world.
I’ve managed to kick the depression but I still stuffer with anxiety.
 
What does panic and anxiety mean to you?
It means that I’ve lost some special times with my family because I’ve been too busy having a panic. It’s means I’ve missed out of evenings round friends houses because my anxiety has flared up. I hate my anxiety but I’m making peace with the fact that its going to be sticking around forever.
What have you found helps or doesn’t help?
All the normal things help; taking medication, reducing alcohol intake, keeping busy, exercise, meditation, keeping open and honest about what I’m feeling to my husband and friends and family. Starting my blog has really helped me as well. Getting the thoughts out of my head and onto ‘paper’ has been a massive help. And knowing that I have been able to help some other people is amazing.
If you’ve accessed mental health services/sought professional help/been to GP/had medication/had a diagnosis what is your experience of this?
I have spoken with my GP a couple of times and had therapy, both private and iTalk. Therapy was a great experience, I am very glad that I went. Talking the problem though, even if you don’t get the answers is so helpful.
Going on medication is a difficult one. My problems were exacerbated by taking medication for the first few weeks before helping, which is a common side effect. I also had to change the medication that I was talking to help with the anxiety.
I have had only one bad experience from a GP and that was when I went to the doctors shortly after giving birth due to the anxiety peaking at its worst. I explained my fear (death, end of time) and the doctor told me that I should seek spiritual help and that everyone worries about it. He did still prescribe some medication though.
 
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is experiencing
this?
My advice would be to ask for help and let people in. Keeping it a secret only hurts
you. You don’t have to go though this alone.
And (I know it was only meant to be one piece of advice!) Don’t be afraid of going on medication. When you have a headache you take paracetamol. Taking medication to help with your mental health is exactly the same. It is not a sign of weakness!
Is there anything good about having anxiety and panic?
It made me realise just how much my friends, family and husband love me. They have all been so supportive and loving.
How do you see having this relates to you as a person? Has it changed you, is it part
of you or is it separate to who you are?
It has changed me. I appreciate the good times a lot more. It has also made me both more brave and more scared. I’m scared of triggering a panic attack a lot of the time but I’m more outgoing as person now. After my son was born, I would struggle with being in the house with my own thoughts so I would have to go out and see people.
Anything else you’d like to add? Is there a question you wish people would ask?
I think, just be there for someone with a mental health issue. I don’t expect anyone to have the answer so don’t try and give an answer. Just give love, support and hugs!

Samaritans
Telephone: 116123 (24 hours a day, free to call)
Email: 
jo@samaritans.org
Website: 
https://www.samaritans.org

Mind
Telephone: 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463
Email: info@mind.org.uk
Website: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines

Rethink
Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday)
Email: online contact form
Website: http://www.rethink.org/about-us/our-mental-health-advice

Saneline
Telephone: 0300 304 7000 (4:30pm-10:30pm)
Website: www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/helpline

 

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