In the Beginning…

I remember being this girl:

I remember going on trips with my parents, going out with friends, riding in the back of my mom’s station wagon, flying to see my grandmother on my own, and enjoying life overall.

I don’t remember my first panic attack, but I think the anxiety started to come forth once my parents split when I was 12. I want to go on record that I don’t blame my parents–it just so happens that the onset of anxiety and panic disorder can occur because of a traumatic event. And the separation/divorce was tough on all of us.

I do remember writing in a journal when I was junior high “I wish I was normal.” I didn’t know at the time what my feelings meant, but I knew that I was scared because they kept happening. I tried seeing a therapist, which may have helped my emotions about the divorce, but did nothing for my nerves.

At one point in junior high, I went to see the school counselor. I was very upset, my stomach was in knots, and I just wanted to go home. I told the counselor, “I wish my mom was here.” Her response? “I wish my mom was here, too, but she’s DEAD.”

Obviously I wasn’t happy with that response, but I couldn’t put into words exactly what was going on with me. I didn’t understand why these fears kept popping up, sometimes out of the blue. It wasn’t until I was in college before the words “anxiety,” “panic attacks,” and “agoraphobia” came into my life.

It wasn’t a doctor who informed me; it was my dad. He bought me a book titled From Panic to Power by Lucinda Bassett. The book opened my eyes and I finally understood what I was dealing with.

But HOW to deal with it? Even with all of the techniques listed in Bassett’s book, I’m still searching for the answer.

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