Panic Disorder/depression, My Story.

Just wanted to stop by and say hello to everyone, explain a little bit about what's going on with me so I can get some help, and support. It may seem a little bit long, but I have a lot on my mind. I'm sure some of you can relate.

I suffer from severe depression and panic disorder. It all started about a year ago, when I was just sitting in my home watching some movies on my laptop, when I felt this overwhelming sense of fear, and dread. I felt as if maybe I had a stroke, or a heart attack. I didn't know. I was just so scared, my fiance was off staying with her mom, because she was asked to watch her little brother that night, I was home alone with no cell phone service (We lived a little ways out of our home town) and no land line to call off of. I felt like that was it, you know? That I was just going to die right there, and the love of my life was going to come home and find me dead on the floor. I got a bottle of water, calmed down and collected myself. My first panic attack lasted around an excruciating 15 minutes, but it seemed like so much more than that. I didn't have another one for another couple of days, and I was feeling pretty good about it. I wrote it off as just stress, because I didn't have a job at the time. Then me and my fiance, were laying on the couch watching tv one night, I had just started dosing off, when I felt it again. The sense of impending doom, the racing, pounding hear, the tightness in my chest, and the shallow breath. I sat straight up, looked my fiance in the eyes, and told her that I needed to go to the emergency room. I'm sitting in the emergency room, scared to death, having had an ekg and blood work done, the doctor comes in and tell me there is nothing wrong with my heart, and that they would have my blood work back in a couple of days to give me the results. This is when it really started to get bad for me. It wasn't just an every few days thing anymore, it seemed to be happening to me more and more often, sometimes during the most unexpected times, anything I did seemed to trigger my panic attacks, and I was scared. Blood work came back crystal clear, and I made a few more visits to the emergency room over the next few months, all coming back that I was fine of course. My last visit to the emergency room, my family doctor was there, and he handed me a pamphlet on anxiety and panic disorder, I read through it and started mentally checking off everything on the symptoms list. I had finally found out what was wrong with me, and it was just so overwhelming, I have not had any mental health issues in the past, and it was all so new and frightening to hear. Over the next few weeks I started battling it, reminding myself that everything was okay, and that I knew what was wrong with me. I was able to calm myself down so much easier, and just relax when it happened, rather than getting scared, and running off to the doctors office. I'm not one to give up easily, and I would do anything it took to make myself, and my fiance happy.

Some times were worse than others of course, and some nights I would just lay around and cry. Not able to sleep, and to arrogant and stubborn to stop anyone else from doing so for my own, what I assumed at the time, to be selfish needs. At this point I had to accept that there was a chance that I was not going to wake up. Being able to accept that I may die, however stupid that idea seems now, is the only thing that was able to allow me to sleep, to allow me to get the rest that I needed to function during the day. I was not able to be alone, when my fiance was at work, I would go over to my mothers and sleep there, and just sit with her, or go to a friends house occasionally. I felt useless, I felt like I needed to be baby sat. It made me feel better to have someone around, that way if something did happen to me there would be someone to tell that I loved them, or to take me somewhere that they could save my life.

I wasn't able to hold a job. I started going out less frequently, I started pushing people away in my life that meant most to me. I felt sick all the time. Like something could happen to me at any moment, and I didn't want it to hurt people as bad when something did happen to me. I had made a decision for others, that I don't have the right to make for them.

I had made a decision when I found out what was going on with me, that I was not going to use any kind of medication, and that I was going to work this out myself, with the help of my loved ones of course, and that's what I did. Eventually they started coming less often, and when they did happen it was just another thing, but there is always that feeling that, well "what if" something else was behind all of this. It was embarrassing for me to feel the way I did. So I was hesitant to talk to people about it, or to get help from my doctor, and have them look and see if anything else was wrong. At the same time, I didn't want to know if anything else was wrong. I was scared, and I didn't want to know. I didn't want to have to be the guy to come home and tell my family, my loved ones, and my friends that I was going to die. I didn't want to be the guy that had to look into the eyes of the person he loves, that loves him so much in return, that I wasn't going to be around much longer.

I was depressed, and angry with myself. For letting this happen, and I hated who I had become because of it. It didn't hurt me at all physically, or even mentally in some aspects, but it seemed to, over time, change who I was. It changed the way I acted towards people. I stopped letting people get close to me, and I stopped being "me". My moods would change rapidly. I was so confused all of the time, and I just felt cold, and emotionless. I felt as if it had broken me, and I hated the person that I had become so much that I caused the people closest to me to hate who I had become as well.

I started alienating my friends, and my family, and everyone that I held so close to my heart before. I put up a seemingly immovable wall around myself that I would be damned if I was going to let anyone through. I still know who I am, but it seems like this shell of a person I have become won't let him come back out and just enjoy life the way he used to. To love like he used to, or to be as kind hearted as he used to be.

I loved my fiance with all of my heart, but it seemed so hard to show any emotion besides anger, or sadness. I ended up pushing her away, and I don't blame her for going. I wanted to be with her forever, and she felt the same way, but at the same time I didn't want her to have to deal with what was wrong with me. I didn't want to drag her down with me. I was depressed all the time, and I was sad, and didn't feel as if that was something that I should put on someone else.

I realized how much I had changed. It may have taken something so heartbreaking and tragic for me to realize it, but I did. I didn't let panic disorder run my life anymore, and have not for a long time now, but I let something else run my life, and that was depression. I let myself change into the person I am now. It's not what I intended to happen, but it happened. I was in denial for so long that I had tricked myself into thinking if I just let everything pass, it would go back to normal. I had tricked myself into thinking that the people that cared so much about me, and wanted to help me, didn't actually care at all.

I went to the doctor again yesterday, because I'm now ready to take control of my life again. To become me again. He said some words that will stick with me for the rest of my life. He came down to my level, looked me dead in the eyes, and said "Cody, the only person that can fix you is you, you are not going to get better just by letting this happen to you, you have to get back in the drivers seat and drive. You ran out of gas, but all you have to do is fill that tank back up and drive." It might not seem like a whole lot, but it hit me so hard. It made me realize so much, and triggered so many memories for me, and just gave me the willpower that I need to actually do it and take control of my life again, to become that man that I was before all of this happened, and to become stronger than I was before.

I've scheduled a full physical to find out if anything is wrong with me. I feel as if I can deal with anything life throws at me, and better myself from what happened, rather then moping about and and being sad all the time. I'm ready to help myself, and anyone else that has problems like me. I feel like I'm capable of doing so much more with my life now. I'm enrolled in school, and I start in January of next year. I'm able to be proud of myself again, and stand tall, because I know I have what it takes to do all the things that I neglected and took for granted in the past. This problem has hurt me, but I also feel that it's helped me in a way that I can't quite understand. It took me down to a place that no one should ever have to go, and I was able to get back crawl out.

I'm sorry if it's hard to read, or you don't agree with some of the things I have said. I also apologize if things are a little jumbled up or out of place. I wrote from the heart, I wrote what I felt which is something that I can be proud of. It's not something I've been able to do for a long time now.

Thank you for taking the time to read this if you did. What advice do you have for me to stay on this track, and what advice can I give you to help you get to where I am at? Me being here isn't just about helping myself. It isn't just to vent my frustrations or to find sympathy. It's to help me, and people like me, to better themselves. I don't want to be just another statistic of depression and panic disorder, and I don't want anyone else to be either.
CodyM21 CodyM21
Dec 15, 2012