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Coping with anxiety
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Tanarya posted:
So, I've been suffering from panic disorder and anxiety disorder for about a year now. I'm 19 years old and go to college. It was really hard at first, all those thought of dying and going crazy really got the best of me. I used to smoke and drink often, but since I had my first and worst panic attack, I quit. For the last 3 months I've been feeling really good and happy like it was all gone and so I relaxed a bit and started drinking again. It felt good to go out again with friends and be a normal 19-year-old. You cannot even imagine how amazing it was to be myself again, no worrying no fear of an anxiety attack. So, the thing is I got too relaxed and got drunk. 3 days in a row. And ofcourse, the anxiety and slight panic kicked in again. I feel like crap. I'm really having a hard time coping with this. I'm afraid I'm going crazy and due to some recent thoughts of suicide, I'm worried I might fall in depression. I'm on meds, one a day, a mild antidepressant. It helps, no need for sedatives which I used to take when I couldn't sleep or relax. How do people cope with this? This is a lifelong problem, I know. But I just want to be a normal 19-year-old girl, just care free. I really need advice from someone who's been through this and beat that mother#*/% down! [br>[br>sorry if my english is bad, I'm from croatia.
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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
Your English is very good. No need to question it.

I would think that being from Croatia, there has been somewhat of an adjustment to the culture and language in the US. Add the fact that you're going to college and it puts a bit more stress on you. Then you add alcohol and sleep sedatives and the mix isn't looking very good.

Right now you need to help your body get through a rough patch with the drinking and sedative history. Whoever prescribed the AD should be looking at your bloodwork for changes in electrolytes, your diet and everything else. Drinking pulls vital chemicals from your body, causes slight brain swelling (possibly) and all of it means you need to start on a new path; enough sleep, proper diet, no drinking, some exercise on a regular basis and time for relaxation without alcohol or drugs.

Now's the time to put anxiety in its place, so start by learning relaxation breathing (see our Tips column), and help yourself to recognize the stress in your life and to modify it. Say, your feeling that you don't speak English well enough. Not so. But it causes stress. Everyone who ever came to this country and who made a life for themself began with not a very good grasp of the language, but they kept at it and they learned. It's the same thing with stress. You learn to manage it, to relax, to give yourself some relief from it, to use positive self-talk and it all begins to come together.

Do well in school and learn that you are more powerful than you thought.