I've been plagued with Panic Disorder for about 10 months now. It has come, it has gone, and then come back again, over and over. I've tried medication, natural alternatives, relaxation techniques, all have only given me temporary relief at most from the horror of another panic attack. There's still more to try though, and my problem changes every day. I just started seeing a psychologist, but that has also posed many problems.
I suppose I should be more specific, panic disorder is a fairly umbrella term. Panic Disorder is a less generalized version of General Anxiety Disorder; characterized by sufferers feeling impending doom, increased heart beat, sweating, increased stress, heart palpitations and many other fun goodies. Panic disorder is different from case to case, usually differing by the cause of panic attacks.
My particular problem revolves around death. I, personally, am afraid of death. Anything that makes me think I'm about to die sets off my panic attacks. The usual stimuli are things like random chest pains, feeling like I can't get enough air, hearth palpitations and unexplained numbness. These sorts of things make me think I am having a heart attack or a stroke, making me freak out and go into panic mode. Usually this happens once every day or so causing, as I'm sure you can imagine, a lot of distress. I've gone to the hospital twice and the doctor so many times that they're sick of me. So far, no problems. I'm perfectly fine. But it never seems that way to me and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
My panic disorder has also caused a cascading array of problems. First of all, it has increased my stress level drastically, which is never good. Too much stress causes a poor immune system, and can lead to actual heart problems instead of ones that I imagine. My fear of death has lead me to also hate being alone, because I worry something will happen and no one will be around, or I just want someone around to talk to and keep my mind off my problems. Due to my fear of being alone and my fear of death, I've become an insomniac. I don't want to go to sleep alone and die or wake up and have a problem. So, I go to sleep whenever I'm tired and sleep until I wake. This makes me feel miserable and also increases stress. The insomnia has caused all sorts of problems as well. I lost a job due to sleeping through a day of work, and I'm asleep during the times when most people are awake and most businesses are open. In fact I missed a psychologist appointment by sleeping through it. I'm sure you can see this snowballing into more and more of a problem.
How did all this happen? How did I come into such a stressful state? It all started with a thought process. One night I decided that nothing happens after we died, which was a very stressful thought to me. The very thought that someday I'd die, not even that I'd die soon, scared me immensely. I had problems going to sleep for a week or two after this initial realization, then I got over the fact that I'd die someday and there was a chance that nothing would happen afterward. What was much worse though was when I started considering that I could die soon; something I had not come to terms with.
So, that is the state of my life, and I won't let it stay that way much longer. Feeling miserable most of the time, being unable to fall asleep alone, it has to change. I can remember what it was like before any of this was a problem, and I lived quite a beautiful life. It's something I have to fix before my life can really progress anymore.