This I Believe

Tara - Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: fear
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I had my first anxiety attack back in September, and of course I had no idea what was happening to me. It wasn’t until the week after Thanksgiving that I had my first severe attack. I felt a strong pressure on my chest and back and was unable to breathe. It felt like I was having a heart attack. The doctors, however, claimed it was just a stomach virus, but the Christmas of 2008 changed my life forever. It’s natural for everyone to be stressed during the holidays, but the stress ended up putting me in the hospital. It was then that I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. And now I’m starting college. But I believe I can control and overcome my anxiety through medication, therapy, and an organized life.

After I was diagnosed, my doctor wanted to take immediate action to start controlling my anxiety. After having two anxiety attacks in a month, I wasn’t going to complain. So she put me on a daily medication called Celexa, which also treats depression. Currently, I’ve been on the medication for nearly a month and am already starting to see improvements. I haven’t had an attack! Although I’m still anxious, in reality, what college freshman isn’t?

Before being diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, I never would have thought about seeing a therapist. I was relatively normal growing up and had a decent life. There wasn’t anything to talk about. But now I find myself wanting to go and craving someone to sit and listen to my problems. I find that just talking helps more than anything. I hope a therapist will be able to give me tools and skills to control my anxiety so that maybe someday, I won’t need to pop a pill every day.

What I’ve noticed after starting school again is being organized not only helps me stay on track in my studies, but it also saves me from stressing out the day before a deadline for an essay or assignment. I started using a planner religiously, not a bad idea for most people, actually, and having separate binders for every class. I also started keeping my room tidy, which definitely helps when it comes to finding shoes five minutes before class starts.

Hopefully there will be no more anxiety attacks in the near future, and I can go about living a semi- normal life. Through medication, therapy, and being organized, I believe I, and others who also have the same anxiety, have the power to overcome my anxiety. Anxiety controls my life now, but someday I will take back the reins.