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Panic attack phobia. When I was about 16 I started to get panic attacks every day, they seemed to have come from nowhere, nothing had triggered them, or at least I wasn’t aware that anything had.

I had had some signs previously that I was an anxious child, often crying at the slightest thing and being very clingy to my parents.

This had seemed to start once I had started junior school, as I do remember being extremely confident as a younger child. So perhaps social pressures had been my trigger or even the pressure from teachers, I can’t be sure.

As I got older I became less and less confident and always felt that I didn’t fit in anywhere as my teens wore on, the anxiety increased and the panic attacks began.

The attacks were terrible and in the end I actually became phobic about the attacks themselves, to the extent that I used to trigger them off myself.

I knew that evening times were the times my anxiety became worse and because of this I used to dread the evenings.

This dread turned to anxiety and yep the next panic attack was triggered. It was a daily occurrence which knighted my life for many years and stopped me enjoying my teen years.

panic attack picture by Jim Limwood

Being so young and feeling very isolated I did not seek help. My parents seemed to treat me like I was mentally ill and I don’t remember them ever really trying to help me, I guess they didn’t understand what was happening and put it down to being a teenager. I don’t blame them for this but I do wish that there had been someone in my life then that could have helped me understand what was happening to me.

It is common for people who suffer anxiety attacks to think that they are going mad and there is no way or out for them.

I know I did, I assumed that I would suffer these terrible frightening attacks for the rest of my life and that I would never be happy, I even turned to alcohol to try and calm me down.

Pure calm

Twenty five years on and now a trained stress advisor I look back at those times with sadness. I lost so much of my youth to anxiety and only wish that there had been more help available then. Luckily anyone suffering today has so much more support available, from the internet, social support groups and from stress and health advisors who are far more able to provide effective help.

Learning to cope with stress and find relaxation is far easier to do effectively with the amount of information freely available to everyone.

If you are suffering panic and anxiety attacks, I urge you not to let them take over your life and waste so many happy times. I eventually grew out of my attacks as I moved into adulthood and found a very supportive partner, but I lost many years to anxiety. Don’t be like me, seek help now.

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