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    Absolute hopelessness, please help me I beg you
    stateofemergency posted:
    I don't know where to start but I'm going to make this as short as possible, even though I bet it's going to be a few paragraph long.
    My name is Darwin and I'm an 18 years old college student. I think I have always had GAD ever since I was a kid, but never completely recognized it until in high school. The first time I had panic attack was 2 1/2years ago in February. I was having a motion sickness when watching Cloverfield on a movie theater. It was so horrible that I only got to watch 10 minutes of it and I went to ER with my mom. The doctor found nothing wrong with my heart, and told me that I had anxiety attack. That's when things start to crumble down.

    The days after my first panic attack:
    On that night when I suffered my first attack, I wasn't able to sleep at all. I kept having these irrational fears and thoughts and just you know..complete hopelessness (even though I didn't know what panic disorder was). So I had to go back to the ER on that night and the doc gave me some pills to calm me down (it was Xanax).

    In my first 5 months of having panic attack, my life was completely miserable. I was a senior in high school and I had one panic attack in my english class because I was watching a black and white movie so I had to go home. I spent days crying and crying. My mom and brother are no help either, instead of helping they kept saying that I'm a weak hearted person and that I should just loosen up and be a man. I tried but I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I tried to convince myself. In those 5 months, I had been researching about panic online. researching about it helped me ease off my panic a bit, because i had knowledge of what it was and it reassured me to not give up (since many of them said it's highly treatable and 'curable' with care).
    I don't know what happened but some how I was able to be panic free for about 3 months then I had another one when I vacationed in Miami, but that immediately went away. Then I was able to be panic free (only a few, mild attacks and anxious feeling) up until now, last night.
    I was having what I think is a full blown anxiety, even though I didn't have panic attack (because I tried to hold it so much, I really hate the feeling of panic attack). I tried to reassure myself by surfing on the web but because i already had knowledge of what it is, it doesn't help me as much anymore. Instead, the thought of 'wow, web surfing doesn't help me anymore.. what am I going to do now? really terrifies me and gives me another anxious, irrational feeling. I'm more hopeless than ever because of this, because web surfing doesn't help ease up my panic anymore.. so I just feel like giving up. What makes it worse is, I read more about people who are complaining about having them and are not recovering..and that makes it 100x worse because it gives me less hope and the will to fight it.
    Are there really some true, complete recovery successful stories of people having overcome panic disorder? Why don't I see it often on the internet? Is it really hard to treat this disorder? Why do doctors and psychiatrists say it's one of the most and highly treatable disorder but I only see more people complaining of not recovering?

    Please please help me, I'm begging you. This is a cry out for help. I'm very depressed because of my anxiety disorder and sometimes I just feel suicidal and giving up on life.. Like I have no passion to continue on living.
    The weird thing is, many people complain of having agoraphobia or they can't go to public places. I never experienced that except on movie theaters, where I first had my attack. (Traumatic experience leads me to avoid movie theaters).
    Should I take medicine? Are there any success stories on taking medicine? I also heard a few who said that therapy and medication don't help them at all..arghhh!
    Am I too young to take medication?
    Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
    I can see that you've been struggling with this and that, unfortunately, you haven't had very much support from other people around you. Yes, panic and anxiety or treatable, but it really depends on who does the treating.

    For one thing, you have to really decide whether or not it's an anxiety attack or panic attack because there are major differences between the two. In other words, you may get anxious about something and that may really upset you for days on end, but panic doesn't act that way. Panic appears, to many people, like a heart attack, there's pain in the chest, there's difficulty breathing, there is a feeling that you want to run away and escape but you don't know from what and you're afraid of what you might do.

    Panic attacks, also, don't last for days. I think many people have prolonged anxiety, but it's been seen as panic. Most of the literature tells us that panic attacks don't last more than 15 to 30 minutes and they don't last for one day. I know a number of people have said they have had unrelenting panic attacks for days on end, but I believe it's really severe anxiety.

    So what do you do? I have a few questions for you and then I'll make a few suggestions. First, within the past five years have you had any type of infection, like strep throat for which you had to be treated? Do you have any other medical illnesses? Have you had a recent physical exam by your primary care physician?

    I think all of these things need to be explored and nothing should be assumed to be anxiety or panic until everything else is ruled out. I know that sounds like a long, protracted process, but it's the only way to approach this. Once you've been cleared medically, then you can begin to look at what treatment plan would be most appropriate for you.

    I'm a firm believer in taking conservative steps first and, for that reason, I would suggest that you begin to look at some of our self-help techniques in our Tips column. Please look at the relaxation breathing video, learn how to do it, and do it on a regular basis. When you're doing the breathing, don't hold your breath so long that you get lightheaded. Sometimes people have a tendency to overdo this. It should just be relaxed breathing with you thinking about different parts of your body and then allowing your breath to go out, so watch the video, learn to do it, and use it regularly.

    We know from research that one of the best things you can do for anxiety and depression is simply exercise. When I say exercise, I mean something that is comfortable and that you can do about three times a week. You don't have to use heavyweights, equipment, go to a gym or anything else. You can do simple walking exercises, in place in your home, if you want. You can do exercises while seated at a desk or even while you're a passenger in a car. Exercise helps the brain to release hormone substances that can really help.

    One other thing you want to do, and I'm sure you've begun to do this, is to use positive self-talk where you help calm yourself down at the very beginning when you start feeling a little anxious. You then start to do some relaxation breathing and if you can go for a walk just allow your mind to relax. If you have something like an iPod, put some calming music on it and allow that to help, too.

    Try all of these things for at least two weeks, if you can, and see how you feel. Also, begin to keep a log of when you become anxious, where you are, what you're doing, what you've eaten or had to drink and see if there is any pattern to this.

    I hope things do improve for you very soon because I can understand how you must be feeling right now. This isn't your fault. We know that anxiety is actually a natural part of life, however, sometimes it does get a little out of hand. Often, it runs in families and it has a biological basis. Remember that when somebody tells you you should act like a man and pull yourself together. Would they say the same thing to a dia
    stateofemergency replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
    Dear Dr. Patricia,

    I have read your background and I was surprised that you graduated from Queens college, because that's where I'm studying right now.

    I just realized that anxiety and panic attacks are two different things, where panic only lasts temporarily and may or may not come back in the day. I think what I'm experiencing right now is the Anxiety Attack.

    The physical symptoms that I have is :

    -unwanted thoughts, thoughts about future, horror movies, etc.

    -fear of incoming panic attack. Everytime I think of having another panic attack, it makes me feel worse and more anxious.

    -feeling of absolute hopelessness. I like to go to the internet and google about Panic disorder. Most of the people who responded to it complained that they are not recovering and that they've had it for years, like 5 years. These life experiences make me feel very anxious and fearful. I am very scared that I might live like this for the rest of my life. I cannot even handle having anxiety attacks for days, how can I live like this until the day I die? This thought alone makes me feel very depressed and I feel suicidal at times, even though I know I won't ever commit suicide since I'm a Christian. I know if I commit suicide I will go to hell and that thought makes me feel even more anxious. Can you see the cycle of my thoughts? It's terrifying and I don't know why I'm thinking like this. Just a few days ago I was very normal and I was even laughing at how miserable I was the first few months I had my anxiety/panic attacks.
    Also, reading negative stories about people having them for so long and that it's ruining their lives makes me feel absolutely hopeless. It just tells my brain that if they can't do it, how am I going to be able to make it through? If medication and therapy can't help them, how can they help me?
    Then I see a lot of cons on using drugs, they say it's only temporary, it underlies the real issue, masks the fear, addictive, and have terrible side effects. While the pros say that they are helpful to ease panic and if combined with therapy, they can cure panic disorder and anxiety attacks.
    These messages really mix the way I feel about seeking treatment and I don't know what's right and what's wrong anymore it's driving me crazy.

    I'm too afraid to seek treatment because of those unsuccessful stories, I'm afraid to fail and have to live my life like this forever.

    I'm so paranoid, helpless, and pessimistic. I also don't have anyone to talk to. I moved to New York about 5 years ago and the only family members I have here is my mother and my brother. I've got noone to talk to. My mother never helps me to ease my anxiety, infact she worsens it by telling me to man up and that life itself is already very stressful and you shouldn't do things that make it worse. My brother is no help either, he's the type of person that doesn't care about things and you can't ever have deep conversations with him.

    I don't have any medical difficulties. I think I'm healthy. I don't have diabetes, or any kind of diseases. I don't drink alcohol, wine. I don't do drugs. I don't smoke weed or marijuana. I don't do parties.

    Just a few days ago I was very active. I exercised in the gym a lot. I lifted weights and did alot of aerobic exercises.

    Right now I'm just feeling terrible because I feel like I'm disabled and a bit agoraphobic. No matter how terrible my anxiety attack is, i WILL NEVER let agoraphobia take over my life. I'll try as hard as I can to go out. Just like last night, I went to New Jersey with my family to visit my friends. I was very anxious last night but I just forced myself. Having agoraphia is the last thing I want to add to my mental illnesses (Which is GAD,PD, and depression).

    Doctor, please help me. I just don't know what to do with myself. I'm so scared and alone. I'm too scared to seek help because of reasons I mentioned above.
    upperfalls replied to stateofemergency's response:
    Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

    Here's a link to the protocol for anxiety disorder from PhD/MD Dr. William Deagle:

    I hope this helps.

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