Yesterday I was reading an article on Time magazine called “The Science of Anxiety” (actually from 2002) to see if there was anything I could learn or explore on the topic. This line really jumped out at me:
“…according to a survey published last January by researchers from UCLA, less than 25% of Americans with anxiety disorders receive any kind of treatment for their condition.” – Source
That is just so sad. And I would venture to say that by the time we finally do reach out for help, we’ve probably been suffering for far too long….
Personally I sought self treatment for panic attacks and anxiety before I even had the knowledge of what was wrong with me.
At that point I had been suffering from panic attacks and high levels of anxiety for years. At least daily since 10th grade. Now I was in college and I just couldn’t take the hell of freaking out in class with multiple panic attacks every single day. It was exhausting and bewildering and I was very desperate for help.
I was 18 and found a social worker who would see me for $2 per session. This was because the program offered a discount student rate based on a very reduced sliding scale.
Back in the 1980s, treatment for panic attacks and anxiety wasn’t widely known or discussed. At least it wasn’t in my small town. I remember describing to the social worker what I was experiencing and her taking it all in. I remember being filled with such shame.
She was very kind and helpful and she listened to me without judgment. I remember after a few sessions she printed off some information found in a magazine for me to read. It talked about “anxiety attacks” and what the symptoms were.
I don’t remember much about this very nice lady, but I saw her every week for awhile. It didn’t make the anxiety go away, but it was very comforting to finally talk to someone about what I was going through. It was the first time I told anyone about my big secret. And because she didn’t treat me any differently once she knew about it, it confirmed that I was not, in fact , going crazy, like I’d feared.
This morning I was trying to fit in stopping by my doctor’s office to go pick up my prescription. Part of me felt really bothered by this inconvenience. I really didn’t feel like driving all the way across town. What a pain!
But then I remembered the Time magazine article and what it said about people not seeking treatment for panic attacks. And I remember the sheer hell I went through in my early years – how terrifying and bewildering it was to be trapped and have my world close in on me by something I didn’t understand.
I know today my anxiety and panic attacks are well controlled. I work hard to take care of myself and try not to get too down when I have a setback.
So today thank God I have support, a good doctor (who doesn’t treat me like I’m crazy or a drug seeker), effective anxiety self help strategies I use, and medication that helps me.
I actually wasn’t such a big damn deal to have to drive across town.
As it happened, one of my neighbors was directly in front of me. In the past I would have high tailed it out of the pharmacy if I saw anyone I knew when I was handing in a prescription- you know, the public admission that I am taking medication for a problem.
But yesterday I just stood there calmly and made some idle chit chat. And I handed in my prescription and headed on my way. No shame. It feels good to know I am taking care of myself today and not floundering in the dark.
Not knowing what is happening when anxiety takes hold of you, not having anyone to talk to, not knowing where to turn, now THAT is a burden.
I know my 18 year old self would have given anything to be where I am today.
If you haven’t yet sought treatment for panic attacks and anxiety, I urge you to. You can learn a lot with just a little research. You don’t have to live completely in the dark like I did all those years ago.
Love yourself enough to take a little action to deal with your anxiety and panic attacks today. There is no shame and you so deserve it.
I wish you peace,
Ready to take action with a safe & highly effective program to stop panic attacks & anxiety? I recommend and use the 60 Second Panic Solution. Please get started today and reclaim your life from fear.