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Anxiety Is Ruining My Life

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From a young woman in the U.S.: Since around the age of 10 years old to now, it feels as if my anxiety has been a building pressure in my mind. At first in the very back of my thoughts, and now seeping into every second of my life. Conscious or not.

When I’m driving, when I’m watching Netflix, when I’m in the bathroom. Even when I’m asleep. The slightest bit of stress and anxiety is enough throw me into a panic attack and it feels like a spiraling, uncontrollable rollercoaster ride with no end in sight. It’s incredibly frustrating and leaves me feeling hopeless and like I’ll always be like this.

Now, I’m sure there are many reasons for this irrational anxiety. My early childhood sibling abuse, my molestation by another girl when I was 8, a year of bullying in the 5th grade, being separated from my older sister – who I had always been with my whole life and my closest friend, the countless times where someone I trusted and gave my all for would let me down. The list goes on.

Sometimes I feel too broken to fix myself. The thing that has pushed me to seek advice today is my panic attacks. Specifically, my night terrors have been escalating. Increasing in intensity and frequency. I’ll jump in the night and yell for my sister, tell her i’m dying and eventually fall asleep if I’m lucky, I don’t remember the next day.

There is a history of sleep talking and walking on my mother’s side. I suspect anxiety as well.

I’ve started to have a small moment of intense panic daily. I can’t cope, I can’t lie down to sleep because I’m afraid of freaking out. I often panic when trying to sleep. I hate driving because I’m afraid I’m gonna have a freak out in the middle of a highway.

I’ve tried calming myself with different tactics. Grounding myself – grabbing onto what’s real around me chanting “You’re okay. You’re okay” to myself. Looking like a loon. Or trying to imagine a calming, safe place to pull myself into. I can almost never calmed down completely by myself and I call to my sister. Usually randomly telling her I love her or asking her to tell me I’m okay.

I NEED someone else to soothe me and it drives me crazy. I’m not how I am supposed to be – and I know it. When I panic it’s like I change into a 6 year old version of myself that doesn’t know how to breath anymore.¬† Why can’t I control my own mind? I honestly feel like I’ve gone crazy sometimes. This hopelessness is not only sad and scary, it’s isolating. I scare myself.

Anxiety Is Ruining My Life

Answered by on -

A.

What a hard way to live! This sounds so scary and painful! I’m am very, very glad you wrote.

What you are describing is consistent with a diagnosis of a panic disorder. This is different from an isolated panic attack. Your experiences of anxiety are happening frequently. If a panic disorder is untreated, it can severely limit one’s life. Often a person starts being intensely afraid of having another attack, which ironically brings it on.

It’s a good idea to seek medical advice because sometimes what looks like a panic disorder is in fact a signal that something medical is amiss. So do see your doctor. Bring your letter with you to help your doctor understand the intensity of the problem.

If you are medically okay, then please see a counselor who specializes in anxiety disorders. Panic disorder is extremely difficult to manage on your own. You deserve to get the attention that will give you relief.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Anxiety Is Ruining My Life

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Anxiety Is Ruining My Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/06/02/anxiety-is-ruining-my-life/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 2 Jun 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 2 Jun 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.