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Panic Disorder- Illness or Disorder?

I was diagnosed with having a Panic Disorder after suffering numerous panic attacks which got progressively worse from March 2009-June 2009.

Such a prospect felt very alien to me and unreal, such as the symptoms I’d been experiencing on top of the panic attacks like dizziness, stomach upsets, derealization, strange sensations through chest and lack of concentration. Immediately you think of serious illness which then kick started my health anxiety and over the past 8-9 months I’ve thought I’ve had every illness known to man….but I’m still here.

As human beings our bodies go into panic mode (flight mode) when faced with these type of symptoms which spur on panic attacks. For people who get diagnosed with this mental “illness” it takes a very long time to understand the ins and outs and the amount of symptoms you can experience. This in turn makes it twice as difficult for people who don’t suffer with anxiety to understand what we experience. At my worst was when I didn’t understand at all and suffered a complete breakdown where I refused to leave the house, go to work or try to do anything that might result in any type of danger as I felt I was going to die from my symptoms at any second of every day. This went on for a month until I realised….why should a relatively fit, healthy 22 year old have to go through this?

After much research through google (a panic disorder individuals worst nightmare) I came across a website called www.nomorepanic.co.uk , which was the beginning of my learning curve. It listed every single symptom I’d every experienced even through simple anxiety through to the feelings of a full blown panic attack. Their forums went on and on about health anxiety, peoples experiences and their current troubles. It was like someone who got into my mind and produced an entire website based on my thoughts. In my personal opinion I believe this condition (of which I also do not believe an illness but a disorder) is overlooked by many people as something you can just “get over”. This sometimes being apparent in doctors and medication thrown at the situation. I was put on sertraline at my worst and believe this was a stepping stone on to my recovery and return to work but this only corrects the chemical imbalance in your brain and provide a short term solution, the real work being in training your brain.

Training your brain is the ultimate challenge.

It has taken 8-9 months for me not to panic on a daily basis and if I get ill, not to believe it is a life threatening condition. My causes seem to pin-point being exposed to numerous deaths including my Mother in 2006 (delayed grief) and my current love suffering from stomach cancer and eventually passing away in July 2009. On top of the panic I felt disgusted at myself that I couldn’t fully support my partner at the time with the real advice I wanted to give as I was so terrified of life and death in general so talking about death in so much detail was a complete panic attack in itself.

I still have days when I have panicking moments and now call these my “silly” moments where I feel weak and dizzy….when I’m actually just exhausted, stomach pains….when I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and weird chest sensations…..concentrating on too many anxiety symptoms. At present I have about 1-2 bad days per week and by the end of this year I want to be in full recovery and deal with these situations in a normal way but training my brain is my ultimate goal.

I’d advise anyone to read up on panic disorder before judging anyone who experiences severe anxiety/panic as you may regret your reactions to someone who is crying out for help but can’t admit it as they feel they are “going crazy”. I’ll write more blogs on the symptoms of Panic Disorder and how it affects people differently in future posts but this is my basic (if you can call it that) introduction.

More information on anxiety and other types can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anxiety

Anyone suffering from this disorder and need advice, please feel free to e-mail me at davidcity1987@googlemail.com

Peace out! 🙂

January 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments