Friday, 2 December 2011

Panic Attacks.

IMG_3225.JPG_effected

Before I begin this blog post, I'd like to let you know that this is quite a personal thing for me to write, but I wanted to share this with you as I'm hoping that if you're reading this as a panic attack sufferer, I may help you in some way. Alternatively, if you are reading this and you know someone who suffers with panic attacks, I hope I can help you get a better understanding and display ways in which you can show support.

Anxiety is an awful emotion to feel, a feeling that cannot be controlled & you are unaware of it creeping up on you. Different levels of anxiety lie in all of us all the time. From a simple thing like "Oh no, I've got school/work tomorrow" to something a lot more nerve wracking like a scary job interview or waiting for your appointment at the dentist (I know I'm not the only one). Although anxiety lies in all of us, It affects people in different ways. When we're stressed, our anxiety levels are much higher and some of us become a lot more sensitive to it. For those of you who are calm, collected and pretty fearless, you will have a much lower anxiety threshold. (I am jealous
of those of you who are like this)

Extremely high levels of anxiety, can, in a lot of people, cause panic attacks, whether you are aware of your anxiety or not.

I've suffered with panic attacks for 6 and a half years, and so i'm writing this blog post for those of you who struggle to understand, feel alone, need advice or need someone else to understand.

It's understandable that not everybody "gets" what a panic attack is. In fact i'm pretty sure more people don't understand than do, which is really sad. Even some of the people closest to me, struggle to understand exactly how it affects me, or my life, or some decisions that I choose to make. Even after hours of explaining, unless someone has been through a panic attack themselves, they will never truly or fully understand.

What exactly is a panic attack?

A sudden feeling of dread, the sudden urge to push your way through to the nearest exit, the whole room shrinking down around you and everybody staring at you and smothering you. In a split second, without you anticipating it, or knowing it's going to happen, your body releases adrenaline. This adrenaline is released as your body is preparing for "flight or fight". Something our brain is programmed to do in a life or death situation. You need adrenaline for a fight in order to be strong, and you need adrenaline for flight, in order to run fast and get away. This would have prepared our cave-dwelling ancestors to fight or run away from danger, but it’s much less appropriate to the stresses we encounter today. Clearly, we are not cavemen any more, and we don't need to hunt for our food, but this adrenaline is released in situations like tripping over a step, being extremely excited, being on a roller-coaster, being in a fight, In an accident, adrenaline is released into our bodies all the time, but us panic attack sufferers
have a "SENSITIVE ALARM".

My doctor said: "You are like the car in the street, who's alarm goes off with the smallest gust of wind, whereas all the other cars, take a good beating before their alarms go off", and really, that's the best way it can be described in the very simplest of terms.

What happens during a panic attack?

Adrenaline is released, thus causing your heart to beast faster, and your muscles to tense. We breathe in more oxygen, which our muscles use to turn sugar into energy (even though we don't need extra energy for anything), Blood is diverted to the muscles, making you pale and light headed. This also causes you to shake. Our digestive system shuts down, making your throat dry and making you feel sick. Your senses are heightened, you become more aware of sounds and smells around you (It's like someone turned up the volume, and in a busy place, it was loud enough anyway).
When adrenalin floods your body, it can cause a number of different physical and emotional sensations that may affect you during a panic attack:

These may include:

very rapid breathing or feeling unable to breathe
very rapid heartbeat
pains in your chest
feeling faint or dizzy
sweating/Shivering
ringing in your ears
tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
hot or cold flushes
feeling nauseous
wanting to go to the toilet
feelings of absolute terror
feeling smothered
feeling claustrophobic
being extremely emotional/uncrontrollable crying
feelings of unreality, called depersonalisation and derealisation.

Panic attacks come on very quickly, symptoms usually peaking within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks last for between 5 and 20 minutes. Some people report attacks lasting for up to an hour, but they are likely to be experiencing one attack after another, or a high level of anxiety after the initial attack. This is what I suffer from, If I ever have a panic attack, it will NEVER last 20 minutes, it will always spiral, until I can be alone, somewhere I feel comfortable, which can sometimes be hours away.

I'm not 100% sure what first triggered my panic attacks, although I will explain it below. The only major downfall for me, was that my brain stored this panic attack away so that when I re-entered a similar situation, my body had learnt to react in the same way.

This is the way I like to describe it:

"Imagine that your brain is filled with hundreds of filing cabinets full of different information. You have memories, things you've learnt..etc. Well, there is this one filing cabinet that stores every panic attack you have. Where you had it, what happened, who you were with, what you were doing, what you were eating, what you were drinking, everything. When you re-enter the same place, with the same people, or do the same thing, that cabinet unlocks, and releases the same adrenaline, and the same emotion. My brain thinks it's protecting me, by making me "Fight or flight" in the same situation"

Almost as though your brain has trained itself to react in this way. Which is annoying, and can be undone (more on that later)

For me, this happened in nightclubs, pubs, around drunk people and around alcohol. The reason being that my first major panic attack, was at a house party, in the middle of nowhere, which got completely out of hand. I was with friends but everybody was so drunk that I may aswell have been on my own. I wasn't drunk, but my then-boyfriend was, and he passed out and fell asleep, leaving me awake, and sober. All my friends were drunk also. Please bare in mind, I was 15, as were most of the people around me, and this was a serious case of irresponsible drinking and drug taking (not on my part i'd like to add). I didn't know a lot of the people there and I remember this one boy who had diabetes (the more serious type) and everyone was making a massive who-ha about him being VERY drunk. I was trying to sleep in a bedroom with my boyfriend passed out next to me, and another friend had fallen asleep as well, so it was silent, and away from the chaos. The next thing I remember was that I could hear someone violently being sick and lots of people freaking out. The diabetic boy was paraletic, vomming everywhere and needed sugar. Everyone kept running into the room asking me for help, and I didnt have a clue. I remember I kept saying "Give him lemonade, no point giving him food he isn't keeping anything down". It was then that I had a massive panic attack. Was it because someone was being sick (I have a phobia of sick - even more so now than back then), was it the chaos and the fact that ambulances arrived or being surrounded by people who were so out of it in a serious situation and being the only one that could see straight. Whatever it was, I lay there from 11.30pm until 5am, having panic attack, after panic attack. Shaking violently. I felt trapped, as the toilet was opposite the bedroom door, and I knew I couldn't go home because that meant walking past all the comotion and the sick. So I just lay there. trapped and panicking for 5 and a half hours. When it started getting light, and I felt phsyically exhausted (having a panic attack makes you feel like you've run a marathon) and I called my dad who kindly came and rescued me.

Now you know why I don't really drink, and why I'd much rather stay in watching crappy TV than have a night out. Is this how I want to be? No. I'd love to get dressed up, get some heels on, go out and have a few drinks, maybe even get completely sozzled once in a while. This is what girls my age do right?

Even now, when I think back, all those nights I tried my hardest to walk into a club/pub feeling positive that nothing would go wrong, and end up having to run out. I really did try, I tried to put on a brave face and act like nothing would happen & I tried to tell myself it was all in my head
and nothing was dangerous and as long as you don't think about it, you'll be fine. But it's not your choice. I don't think my friends understood, and in all fairness, I guess I didn't really explain as I wasn't sure myself why this kept happening to me. They started off inviting me out lots, and gradually, I'd just end up saying no for the fear of having an attack, until they gave up inviting me all together. This upset me, as I felt as though they probably thought I didn't want to be there, or maybe they didn't want me there, who wants a panic attack sufferer as a massive burden on a fun night out? I was missing out, and I hated it because it wasn't anything I could control.

For a while, I couldn't even go to a quiet pub for a few drinks. What a boring sod I was. I'd also like to point out, this was around the time we all turned 18 and started "properly going out". So many things contributed towards my attacks becoming worse. I didn't want to end up being severly agoraphobic (in serious cases can mean you are affraid to leave the house) so I really did try to force myself, which in some very rare cases, didn't ever result in me panicking, but then there were always the few incidents where I would feel so much worse, and felt as though I'd taken a back step. My ex boyfriend (different to the first I previously mentioned), used to invite me out with his friends to the pub etc, which I liked, and of course I wanted to socialise with new people and make the effort (being the good girlfriend I am) so I'd go. One of his best friends, who happened to be there a lot of the time, managed to pop himself in my filing cabinet of "things to panic from". I hope he doesn't ever read this and feel bad, haha. I once felt panicky, and my ex explained to him that I was panicking (instead of deciding I was more important than a pint and taking me home), and I just sat there, whilst he asked me pointless, patronising questions to try and distract me. (trust me, things like this do not work). I felt like an idiot, like it was some funny game, when really all I wanted to do was leave. That same friend was there on a quiet night out, which resulted in me getting up from the table and walking out without an explanation. The thing that topped it all off though, was the time he got so drunk, he vomited all over himself, then strolled back into the pub for another pint. Again, you will notice a pattern here? Sick. Drunk. Pub. After this, I couldn't bare to go anywhere with him. He is such a lovely guy too, but I couldn't control it, whenever he was there, my brain would let me know I was in danger and release the adrenaline.

Something people don't seem to realise, is that self esteem is seriously dented from suffering these attacks. I still, to this day, think that people judge me, and that they possibly all talk about how weird I am, or how annoying I am for having panic attacks, or even that they may think you make it up, or are using as an excuse. You start to think that you are ruining everyone else's life around you & have become a nuisance.

I'd turn things down ALL THE TIME, but it's not because I didn't want to go, I wanted to go more than anything, I just COULDN'T put myself in any situation where I felt I may have panicked. I'm going to list places I've had panic attacks before, as I want to express that they won't just happen when you anticipate them, but they can literally just spring on you, anywhere...

In bed at night
In a supermarket
In a pub
In a club
In a taxi
On a bus
On a tube
On a train
At the train station
In a restaurant
At a friends house
At a family members house
Boyfriends house
In a car
On a boat
At school
At work

That's all I can really think of for now, but there have been endless places where I've suffered a panic attack. Only when I was at my worst would I walk into a supermarket, or go to someone's house and panic. More recently, I've been a lot better, and I've found that I only really panic if I am placed in a situation where I cannot get out easily if I was to ever panic. (Train, Tube, Boat, Work, Club, Bus) More recently, as you will know, I was invited to go on the London eye with GlossyBox, and I cannot tell you how much I stressed over that. It's my worst nightmare, being inside a glass pod, that's locked, with lots of people, knowing that once that door closed, I was stuck in there, and if i were to panic, there would be no way of me getting off, and everyone would look at me, and think, what an idiot. Only Louise, and my boyfriend knew how anxious I was about it, but I wanted so desperately to get on it, and to see people, and I did, and I was fine. I was really proud of myself, for not throwing in the towel and missing out on an opportunity, and for doing it anyway. So many people live in fear of ever having an attack, and I think this is what makes life more difficult. For a while, I kept having panic attacks on the tube, and on the train home from London. Being that my boyfriend lives there, this devastated me. WHY WAS MY BRAIN FILING THIS AS A DANGEROUS SITUATION. I would cry, and think "I can't go. I can't go and see my boyfriend. I'm scared to get on a train. Why can't I just be normal".

One thing a lot of people don't understand, is that people who suffer panic attacks, DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS WAY. We don't want to get on a train and think "I really hope I get to the other end without panicking", we don't want to restrict the way we live because of something we can't control that leaves us feeling mentally and physically drained for days/weeks/months on end. We want to be normal, and carry on with our everyday lives without any added anxiety. I'd love to be able to say "I don't worry about anything, besides the normal things". After a panic attack, I feel so upset, but it's mostly anger. Angry at myself for not having any control and angry that I don't know how to make it stop. Then I feel angry because I feel like nobody understands.

What helps me?

When I'm actually having a panic attack, I find the only things that really take the edge off, are going outside, walking away from the place I was and fanning myself (I know this sounds weird, and probably looks it, but when you have so much adrenaline and your muscles are pumped, you should do some form of exercise to use the adrenaline, which is why i frantically fan myself or walk or knock my knees together or flap my arms around - discreet? I think not) Fanning also helps with the horrible hot flushes you'll experience, and cool you down.

Slow, deep breathing.

If i'm with someone, I need them to stay quiet unless I ask them something. I can't handle anyone talking to me, or trying to distract me, or working me up. At the time of a panic attack, I don't need someone highlighting the fact I'm panicking by making me say the alphabet backwards. It's nice to know someone is with you, but If I'm having a panic attack, I'm already hearing everything 10x louder and need to try and calm down. You also don't have a lot of energy to speak, as any energy you do have, is being used everywhere else.

In terms of long term treatment, stupidly, for 6 and half years, I put off going to a doctor, because I thought that I'd be able to control them myself. When I started having panic attacks visiting my boyfriend, I knew I had to do something about it, as it was hindering my way of life, and everyday things i really wanted to do, and I got fed up, and decided to make an appointment at my doctors surgery. Unfortunately, this completely destroyed any faith I had as it was the most pointless hour of my life. She sat and explained to me what a panic attack was. Funnily enough, after 6 and a half years of experiencing them, I already had a pretty clear idea. I have also been reading a few books. I'd really recommend the one I have photographed, and even for your partner, family member or friends to read. Have a look on line for self help books, some are a load of tosh, but some are quite eye opening. I don't take any medication for my panic attacks, mainly because my doctor said "I don't think we should put you on anything, how about you try some from a chemist or something"..er..great. I take Kalms, but whether they work or not, I don't know. In all honesty, I'm not all too pleased with my Dr's approach, or the NHS. They've not been helpful at all. This may not be the case for you, but I think in order to get further treatment I am going to have to go private for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Re-training the brain) or try hypnotherapy techniques. If any of you have had any experiences you want to share, please do. Not just for me to read, but others reading the comments.

Avoiding Panic...

For many people, the only way they can avoid having a panic attack, is literally sitting at home and never leaving the house. I never want to get this bad, but I can see how it would happen very easily with a lot of people. My panic attacks are a lot worse when I am stressed, or run-down, so I find it's really important to give myself a break. For many people that means taking time off work or going on holiday. I just make sure I get enough sleep, try to be as organised as possible and don't rush anywhere. You may think the last one is a given, but for a while, being in "fast-pace" London made everything a lot worse. In the mornings before I'd leave to go home, Me and my boyfriend decided we would get ready slowly, walk slowly and even wait for the next tube if we weren't there in time (I literally didn't rush anywhere for about 4 weeks) & this made SUCH a difference.
I also tend to listen to relaxing music before I know I need to go somewhere where I may panic. A favourite of mine recently has been Dianna Vickers' album (Her voice, I appreciate, could have an adverse affect on some people - but i find it keeps me calm because there are no fast beats or shouty bits) So find something you find relaxing.
I also think it's important to write down how you are feeling if you feel like you are about to panic. Once when I was on the tube, I started having a panic attack, so I whacked out my phone and started frantically writing how I felt and every time something changed mentally or physically, I'd write it. This weirdly, calmed me down a lot quicker. I don't know if this is because it distracted me, or because it made everything slightly more logical.
I still can't really go out and drink with friends but I've not been as bad recently. I do find however, that driving (so i know I can leave when I want), or having someone who is prepared to pick me up, makes things a lot less tense. Knowing I can get home if I do panic, puts me at ease. If you were to tell me we were all getting a taxi at 3am an hour from home, I'd freak out.
I don't like to have set times for things, as I feel a bit trapped. Sounds weird, but i'm sure plenty of you know exactly what I mean. I won't even book an advanced train ticket any more (even though they are slightly cheaper), I get a ticket which gives me a bit of lee-way so I don't have to rush anywhere or be stuck to one time.
I think everyone will have their own individual ways of avoiding and banishing panic attacks, it's really whatever works best for you, but I think "Taking it easy" really is the best advice I can give. You don't want to overwork your heart, as this may bring on panic.

How can I help someone who suffers Panic Attacks?

I'm going to do a little section here, on how to help someone who is having a panic attack, or someone who suffers them quite a lot. I looked online for something similar to this to show my boyfriend, and I didn't have much luck. So I'm going to write this myself, in the hope some of you will show this to your partners/friends/family and then they can feel a little more at ease about how to help you. Although it sucks having a panic attack, I can't imagine standing next to someone feeling helpless feels very nice either.

1. Remain calm. There is nothing worse than being with someone who is freaking out whilst they are, they will never calm down if you are flapping about like a headless chicken.
2. Do not be forceful. Be patient, and accepting. Do not settle for them panicking and being affected alone.
3. Let them do things at their own pace.
4. Don't make assumptions about what the panicker needs, ask them.
5. Find something positive in every experience. If the affected person is only able to go partway to a particular goal, such as the cinema or out for a coffee, consider that an achievement rather than a failure.
6. Remember that they don't choose to be this way. Do not show any dissapointment or annoyance when panic strikes or if they don't feel they can't do something.
7. In a panic attack, DON'T say:
"Relax. Calm down. Don't be anxious. Let's see if you can do this (i.e., setting up a test for the affected person). You can fight this. What should we do next? Don't be ridiculous. You have to stay. Don't be a coward. Pull yourself together, Stop being silly, what's wrong with you"
.
Instead, DO SAY:
"You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It's not the place that's bothering you, it's the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it's not dangerous. You are courageous. Remember that panic attacks only last a maximum of 20 minutes"
8. Do not try to distract them with stupid questions. As I said before, we don't want to say the alphabet backwards or talk about our day, it just highlights the fact that we are having a panic attack, thus creating more panic.
9. Be supportive & reassuring. After a panic attack, the person can feel down, depressed, angry, insecure and with very low self esteem. It's your job to help them to feel better about themselves and to let them know you are there.

I really hope I have managed to cover everything, and I hope this has helped some of you. If you're reading this, and you really feel down and depressed about your panic attacks and the way it has affected your life, please remember...

You are not alone, panic attacks are VERY common, and although terrifying, will not kill you. Don't let your attacks ruin your confidence or dent your self esteem, you are an amazing person, and you CAN stop them, with the right treatment and techniques. Do not force yourself to go somewhere you don't feel comfortable, you and your health are far more important than keeping someone else happy. If someone close to you fails to understand, it can leave you feeling terribly alone and insecure, FORCE them to read this blog post and tell them I'll kick their bottom if they don't LISTEN and show as much support as possible.

That's all from me. Please share experience's and leave comments below, it won't just help me, but will also help others just like you reading this blogpost.

619 comments:

  1. Thank you soo much for this! Probably the only info about panic attacks I've read that fully makes sense! I had a panic attack whilst driving once and it was horrible! xx

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  2. This post has really opened my eyes to panic attacks and the effects they can have. I didn't know much about the subject before reading this, but after doing so it's substantially raised my awareness. What an enlightening post.

    xo

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  3. I suffer from very minor panic/anxiety attacks whenever I feel stressed or overthink anything. Is it weird I've never done anything about it or seen a doctor? I just let it pass...This post was very informative and comforting. Thanks Zoella! xx

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  4. What a refreshing and honest post. I think it was very brave of you to share this with your readers and I definitely think that this will help anyone who suffers similar experiences X

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  5. I have panic attacks especially when in a cramped place like a plane or exam hall! I actually went to cognitive behaviour therapy for abit and these tips do help! :) also slight pain eg nipping or squeezing yourself helps I think. And counting things near you xx

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  6. Hi Zoe!
    I can totally relate to you here. I read this and just wanted to give you a big hug!
    I suffered from severe Anxiety problems with panic attacks for 3 years & it's horrible when no-one seems to understand. But I would definitely recommend CBT as this was what helped me to overcome mine. It's great in changing the way you think about the things you panic about. I've been free from panic attacks for a year now from doing this, so I hope it'll work out for you too! Wishing you all the best :-)

    Hannah x

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  7. Love this post =] I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and for a whole year basically lived as a hermit. I'm now on a low dose of zoloft and finally feel alive again =] I havent had an attack in 6 months and I can actually go out again!

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  8. This post really struck a chord with me, as I suffered with panic attacks for about a year after the death of my Grandad. A trip to the doctors confirmed that mine were caused by the sudden change of my lovely Grandad no longer being in my life. Evidently, drastic change makes me very nervous, and I spent endless days living on edge, not knowing when the next panic attack might come. Added to this, I'm a bit of a man when it comes to being emotional, so the fact that I refused to face what had happened for many months really didn't do me any favours, and stressed me out left, right and centre.

    Touch wood, I haven't had a panic attack in over a year now. I changed everything about my life, including my job, and the fact that I'd been in control of change turned it back into a positive thing. Isn't it odd how the human brain works?!

    Good on you for being so brave in writing this, I completely understand how hard it is to talk about it on a deep level. I'm sure this article will help many people! :) Another tip my doctor recommended was to 'walk it out'. Fast pace walking helps to regulate your oxygen intake, and exercise in general keeps stress/anxiety levels down.

    Note to self: Stop being a lazy cow.

    xXx

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  9. Really, thanks for posting this. It's uncanny how much I can relate to everything you posted. Obviously my experiences are trigged by something completely different, but the principle is the same, it takes a lot for me to accept going out and I'd rather not deal through the stress of panic attacks. I'm honestly super glad I'm not alone, again, thanks for posting this!

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  10. I've suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for god knows how long, all of which stems from this obsessional need I have for certainty about everything. Its horrible going through your teen years suffering from it, I've missed out on holidays, music festivals and all sorts of school trips because I just know I'd panic-or at least I think I will.

    The horrible thing I find is that people don't understand it so they either think you're making it up or that you're mental. Sometimes I've got very close to convincing myself of those things as well.

    I've finally been offered CBT after being on a year long waiting list and being on anti depressants but I had my first session the other day and came out in floods of tears because it just highlighted how much I'd have to change and get over to be 'normal'

    At one point it got to the stage where I asked my doctor if you could still get electric shock therapy for things, I just want it to go away.

    For me, I can only hope that one day I'll get to the point where I do anything without first categorising all available exits and coming up with excuses if a panic attack does happen.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, I read all of it and just nodded along I completely relate. So thanks for making it obvious that any of us that have panic attacks aren't alone, even if real life friends and family don't understand!

    (Will stop rambling now lol)

    xxx

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  11. It sounds to me that you might have a bit of emetophobia! I have it and the things you mentioned about vomiting and the fear of others being sick sounds very similar to the things I feel. I also frequently panic when I have to travel alone or when I'm in a crowded place. I don't even go to pubs because I'm so scared of drunk people who might vomit.

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  12. OMG, I feel like I am reading my life story. I have the exact same thing as you - I want to go out so badly to clubs and stuff - its what people my age do! But thanks to one out-of-the-blue incident, I associate drinking and partying with panic. my boyfriend doesnt understand at all and thats the worst part.
    God theres so much more I could write, I'm just comforted to know that there is someone else out there just like me.

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  13. Hi Zoe, I never comment much but I do read you regularly and watch your vids :) I wanted to thank you for sharing this. I suffer from those attacks as well but rarely talk about it because people will say that "it's all in your head and you need to calm down" - duh, I wish I could.
    It's much better now, as I focus on the deep breathing as soon as I feel the slightest sign. Also I'm in a much better place in life than when they started - when my mom was terminally ill, at some point I had about 5 attacks a day at work and had to eventually stop working and be put on medication. I know now that anxiety is part of life for everyone, we just feel it differently, and the fact that this happens to me doesn't mean that I'm in danger or deadly sick or whatever... I try to not let it stop me from living my life.
    I think you explained it all very well and gave great advice, I hope it benefits other sufferers amongst your readers!
    xx Mariella

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  14. wow, i'm really glad you did this, I've been suffering from them for 4 years and my friends are really unsupportive. Small spaces set off mine, so in exams I luckily get to sit in a different room with the people who have learning disabilities etc but my friends would all laugh which kind of made it worse and I had no-one to relate to and felt like a freak. I'm really glad you wrote this and I don't feel as alone as I did before and I actually sat agreeing with this as I read it, and I think the worse part is the whole judgement from everyone I fear combining with the overall lack of control you have when an attack occurs.
    But, yeah thank you for writing this, I hope it helps others as much as it's helped and reassured me :D xxx

    www.smkonx.blogpsot.com

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  15. this was truly a lovely post! thank you so much for sharing your own experience + such good information! i've recently heard that keeping a hand lotion or sanitizer with a scent with you can also help to calm people down in certain situations. thanks again for sharing ♥

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  16. I fully empathise with your situation Zoe and found this post both informative and reassuring.

    I'm in NY at the moment and suffered from my first panic attack on the flight over. I never thought I'd be one to suffer from them and it took me completely by surprise.

    I was asleep on the plane and wake up with a start and basically started hyperventilating in my seat! I felt so restricted, it was pretty dark on board and I just needed space - which there isn't a lot of in economy!!!

    I was disoriented, started sweating profusely, my heart was racing and I could barely breath. It was bloody terrifying. I was trying to push the button on my seat to alert the air stewards, but couldn't even remember where it was.

    Ironically as I was sat there thinking I was gonna run out of oxygen altogether - I thought of you, as I was freaking the hell out!! I've seen so many of your tweets where your refer to your panic attacks and I put two and two together and figured this must be what I was experiencing.

    I forced myself to regulate my breathing, slowing my heartbeat down and my body temperature returned to normal after a few minutes. I was too scared to fall asleep again for the rest of the flight and I never want to experience what I felt on that plane again, and I hope I don't on the way back.

    I think you're much stronger than you give yourself credit for and I'm really glad that you're taking steps not to allow your attacks to dictate the way you live your life xxx

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  17. Hiya
    Thank-you so much for this post, it's been incredibly helpful and thanks for opening up. I have never really had constant panic attacks but I used to struggle with depersonalisation - an out of body experience that left me not feeling like myself, feeling alienated and it was truly horrific. I found myself cancelling events, birthday parties and not going to sixth form.
    I got hypnotherapy for it and it worked absolute wonders. The differences that came after it were brilliant. I still suffer from it (although very rarely) from time to time but I can control it more now.
    Thanks again
    Raechelle xx

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  18. I also have a severe phobia of sick and it brought on panic attacks/anxiety/depression/OCD etc. Like you I could barely leave the house and in one period of time I actually didn't for about 2 months. I totally understand everything you have said. It's weird because even though you can feel so alone, posts like this make you realise that so many other people are the same.

    I had about 12 sessions of CBT (on the NHS) and at the time I didn't think it worked at all. However I am so much better now than what I was before so it must have helped. I find that listening to ludovico einaudi- i giorni (a classical piano player) really helps calm me down.

    You are doing SO well getting on all these trains/events etc. Even though they may be really stressful at the time, they will be helping you deal with the attacks so much as you are more exposed to the stress. You will eventually realise that those situations aren't a threat at all. Whenever I'm on a train or anywhere, I will always try and make sure that I'm sat within reach of an exit/toilet, just in case I need to have some time to myself and freak out. So you should be really proud of yourself for that!

    On a happier note, the 'going outside and flapping about bit' made me smile (not in a sadistic way) because when I get anxious, I start kicking my legs everywhere and everyone always thinks I'm a complete weirdo ;)

    I really hope CBT helps you! If you ever want any advice about it, my email is info@flawsandall.net or my twitter is @flawsandallblog . Such a brilliant post Zoe. Lots of love xxx

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  19. My best friend suffers with anxiety and has had a few panic attacks in her time.
    This has been so helpful for me to understand what she goes through and what to do.
    Even though i dont know you, i am proud that you have been brave enough to write all that down and help others!
    Thank you Zoe xx

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  20. Well done Hun! How brave are you writing all this and I know it will be a massive help to someone I know. Thank you and good luck with your hard work to cope with the panic attacks. Hugs xx

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  21. I have suffered from generalized anxiety since I was a child, and even went to various doctors and psychologists throughout my early teens. My anxirty got a bit better, but has come back with a vengeance. I am currently taking Zoloft to help control it, but I still feel a lot of anxiety on a daily basis and still see a therapist. Thank you for sharing this! It's great to know we are not alone.

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  22. I suffered panic attacks now for around a year. They all started after I had to have chemotherapy. I got home one night and just kept having panic attacks, I didn't know what was happening, I couldn't sleep without having panic attacks, so In the end we wen't to a+e & I was strapped to a heart machine etc absolutley dripping with sweat etc. Everytime after this everytime I went for chemo th same thing would happen, even when I went out etc so I decided just to stay in so It wouldn't happen. In the end I got so depressed I got put on tablets & to the point I couldn't bare to be here anymore :(, eventually I was locked up in mental health (I'm not mental theres just not much on the nhs for this type of thing apparently) I've been to councilling & private cbt and group cbt but nothing seems to help, they just tell me to take diazepam when things get bad but then in another breathe they don't like you to take them because there addictive!

    I agree tho the NHS are hopeless, if your on drugs etc then they'll happily guide you!

    This is probably the best thing I've read on panic attacks,,, it's very well written zoe & hits all the key points on panic attacks & also is very indepth.

    Wish you all the luck in the future & hope that you find something that helps you

    Stacey x

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  23. Zoe this post has made my day, in the sense that i know exactly the kind of things you go through. i have suffered with anxiety for over a year now and it has affected my life so much.Im not able to go out by myself very often and i also have the same problem that you did because i cant get the train down to carlisle to visit my boyfriend as the thought of it is terrifying. I dont suffer from panic attacks very often but my anxiety is always there at the back of my head and its impossible to switch off. I had cognitive behavioural therapy 5 months ago and it made my life so much better. Although my anxiety stops me from living my life like i should do at 19, its not half as bad as it was before i had the therapy it really is worth it. My anxiety makes me scared of being alone so i literally dont go anywhere without someone with me and it makes my life difficult but i hope we both overcome our anxiety x lots of love xx

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  24. Thankyou so much! my bestfriend suffers from panick attacks alot, and as i am with her throughout the day i never really know what to do. mostly i just get panicked aswell when she is having an attack, which is probably the worst thing to do. Thankyou so much! you don't understand how grateful i feel that i can finally help her :) your awesome and i love you! xx

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  25. this post was really eye opening, i dont suffer from panic attacks, but i know someone who does and i really had no idea what they were actually like. thanks for this, i've got a much better in-sight now :) Good on you for trying to help those who are sufferers and i hope you will one day be free of them :) xxx

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  26. Finally, someone who I can relate to. Thanks for this information!

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  27. I learned so much after reading this post, and I feel so inspired by you. You are really brave for sharing this with all of us, as we all have things that can plague us in life. I hope that after reading this people can be understanding of not just people who undergo panic attacks, but anyone who might seem a bit different -- maybe, just maybe it's not their fault. We all love you Zoe and wish you the best!!

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  28. I just want to say thank you so much for writing this, my ex boyfriend had agoraphobia and it sounds similar to your experiences, not being able to leave the house sometimes and getting panicky in crowded bars and stuff. He was really private about it and never thoroughly explained it so I never really understood it, only that he didn't like staying out for very long and needed to get out of situations he found difficult sometimes. I wish I could have read something like this earlier so I knew how to deal with it better. Best of luck with your CBT, you're extremely brave for writing this x

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  29. Thank you for posting this!
    i have been suffering with this for the last 3 and a halfish years. And have tried so many things to make them go away (for a lack of a better way of saying it). I dont understand how they are meant to last 5 to 20 minutes, because like you said, for you and me they spiral. until i can be alone, it just gets worse and worse and worse. I often have to get off the tube, leave the lecture hall, a store or a restaurant to find a bathroom where i can stand in the cubicle alone and try and relax. its horrid.
    thank you for the tips, the explaining (which i will use the next time someone asks about them, who has no idea what its like) and posting this, to show we arent all alone.
    x

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  30. Zoe I am so happy you posted this.

    I am a chronic sufferer of panic attacks and it sucks. I have the same feeling every time I go out...to a club (especially) to the pub, friend's birthdays, interviews, traveling on my own, whenever I am asked to do something on my own, seeing drunks etc. I DREAD going out to events or special occasions. My heart races out of control before I walk into a room full of people.

    The best thing to do, is to find out what triggers it (like you did at a house party)
    Up till recently I didn't know what made me panic. People told me I was just shy and was not socially active enough to get used to going out. But the reason I didn't go out is from these attacks.

    Recently I was out with a friend in covent garden when this woman had fallen over and was basically...bleeding uncontrollably. I have always been squeamish, but this time I started to panic and almost passed out. What made me panic more was the fact that I was in public, about to faint in front of everyone and make a scene.
    This day at covent garden made me realise the reason why I panic. I imagine every worst scenario possible in the situation, which in turn makes me panic. Even if it's not happening to me.

    You NEED to make your friends aware or you will feel alone. I constantly remind my friends of this problem so I don't feel so alone.

    Thank you for shedding some light on something I suffer with so much! <3

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  31. I found this really interesting to read, so thankyou!
    I wouldnt say I am a panick attack sufferer. But I do sometimes struggle with mini attacks. I am one of these people that is VERY comfortable with just sticking to what I am used to, I hate being pushed outside of my comfort zone. For example, when I was leaving school after Year11 and looking for a place for 6th form, I wanted to view a few different places, and not just be predictable and stay at the same school for 6th form. So, I went along with my mum and my sister to the local grammar school, we arrived earlier than we were meant to and the head of the 6th form began to talk to me. Now, normally I am a confident person when it comes to people. But, I answered his questions so STUPIDLY its untrue, I could feel myself inside slipping away. I could almost physically hear alarm bells in my head telling me to get the hell away. We stayed, and whilst walking around the school in the corridor I just stopped, and almost burst into tears. My mum was quite alarmed and took me outside and asked what was going on. I just told her I wanted to leave, and we did. My mum wasnt presuring me to go, as it was my idea to take a look around. I almost ran away from the place, i was so nervous. In the car i felt a desperate need to explain myself to my mother. She had taken the effort to bring me because I had asked her, and after only half an hour I had melted down. I just didnt know where to start. I had no idea what brought it on. Looking back now, I realise I was just totally out of my comfort zone. It was an all girls school, and I suppose I was scared of the bitchyness that can sometimes be there. I was unfamiliar. I was starting fresh, blahblah. I stayed at the same school I have been at for 5 years, and I couldnt be happier. Its just weird how these things happen.
    It happened again at a under 18's party I went to, I wont go into it as you will probably be so bored reading this comment!!

    I have also always had VERY bad problems with sleep, I have since a young age struggled to sleep, and stay asleep, and I think this can affect it sometimes as my tiredness can trigger things. I also have OCD, and that is certainly effected by my tiredness or stress levels. Anyway, enough of me filling up your comments!

    Thankyou for being brave enough to write this!

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  32. Thankyou so much Zoe. You're such a brave and courageous person for writing this. This is so honest of you and something I couldn't imagine many other people having the courage to write. Even though I don't nor do I know anyone who suffers from panic attacks, this has opened my eyes so much and educated me on them. I, along with most people reading this, now feel we know you and understand you and people alike much more after reading this. It sounds truly terrifying. I would never have thought they were this common. The feeling must be awful, not being able to control your own body is something I dread but I cannot imagine it at this level. Your very lucky now to have such wonderful understanding family, boyfriend and friends around you to help you through them. X

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  33. Like the above comment, I suffer from depersonalisation, and then that triggers anxiety/panic attacks. This post is amazing Zoe. I've been walking through supermarkets and felt a bit woo'ey and like I wasn't there, and then I'd start panicking and I've had to leave trolleys full of stuff and walk outside, sit down and shut my eyes with my head between my legs - it's an awful feeling. The first panic attack I ever had was when I hadn't eaten all day and had two cans of fat pepsi..I got home and was talking to my boyfriend and then kept 'zoning out' and actual thought I was dying. I then started crying hysterically and kept saying "I'm dying, I'm going to die, call an ambulance" and thankfully he was so good to me but I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

    I hate adrenaline anyway, you wouldn't catch me on a fast ride, fast car, anything. I hate it.

    Thanks so much for posting this Zoe, thankfully I don't get them as much anymore but a tip - if you feel one coming on, breathe as if your breathing through a straw and just focus on this invisible straw - it really works.

    x

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  34. Thank you for taking the time to explain your experiences and sharing such a personal subject - Some people don't understand just how crippling anxiety and panic attacks can be and how it can take over your life. I suffer from extreme anxiety and panic disorder to a point that i was unable to live a normal life anymore. For me personally, I'm only now able to cope with medication. It's sad that there is still such a stigma regarding anxiety and hopefully through posts like yours, we'll be able to educate peoples views x

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  35. It was very brave and good of you to write this post! I can sympathise completely with your plight, I used to suffer attacks in bed for seemingly little reason. Assemblies and lessons also used to affect me sometimes. In the end I had hypnotherapy which really helped as I didn't want to have a panic attack during my GCSEs (3 years ago). Best of luck in the future and know that, however few people you may know who can understand, there are always people hear who will listen and empathise.

    Amy x
    http://the-cameras-lying.blogspot.com/

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  36. I know exactly how you feel! I've suffered with the same problem for about 11 years and have tried everything except CBT which I'm going to try next and of which I'm actually going to university to train in! My anxiety isn't that bad anymore, but you are right, it does just creep up on you, and when it does happen now it is in the most random places! I think your advice is very on point, you have explained it very clearly and I probably would have said exactly the same thing! I hope this post helps an early sufferer of anxiety because if I had read this when I first started suffering it would have helped me not feel so lonely and scared! Fortunately I haven't let it hold me back from doing what I want to do and I have come a long way so hopefully this gives some hope to other sufferers!
    Well done Zoe, your in a position to reach alot of people and you have approached this subject well :)
    Take care and hang in there
    Xx

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  37. Very interesting post. I am suffer the complete opposite. I can't get panicked about anything. Opened up my eyes :)

    - Allie x


    Allie UK Blog

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  38. im really happy that you've written this, i think its really important for people to know what we all go though and i know that my friends will benefit from this :)
    thank you very much zoe xxx

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  39. Thank you so much for this! I personally don't suffer from panic attacks but with the job I do, I have a few clients that suffer with them and I've never really understood them till now. It's given me a great insight into what they experience. Thank you! x

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  40. I'm so glad you have taken the time to write something like this as there really isn't enough informative information that is written from the heart out there for sufferers and also how others can help when someone is having a panic attack.

    My friend used to have very severe panic attacks in pubs/clubs/around drunk people and the first few times it happened I really wasn't sure how to cope. She went and had private CBT and is a completely different person and it has now been so long since she had one she can't even remember her last. They aren't cheap but they have changed her life, I really would recommend looking into them. :)

    It takes a lot to write something like this and I really admire you for doing so.

    Amy xx

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  41. Thank you so much for posting this, it's so reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who suffers with anxiety!

    I have OCD and anxiety and I find that in some really difficult situations I end up getting so worked up and anxious that I have a panic attack. Reading your post there are so many things I identify with - I've had OCD all my life and lately it's got a lot worse, almost resulting in me not leaving the house. It just seems so much easier to stay at home and avoid any situation that might bring on the anxiety, but in truth stopping at home will only make it worse (that doesn't stop me wanting to avoid all situations though).

    When I'm out, it's the classic thing, you're almost looking for something to set you off. When it does - BOOM - you either have to get out of there or face the horrible anxiety. I know with the whole 'fight or flight' thing you're meant to stay and let the anxiety come and go, but for me it's just too difficult!

    I've tried CBT and didn't find it worked for me. I'm not sure if it's because I wasn't mentally prepared for it - the whole idea of doing what I absolutely feared scared me so much I think I pretty much resisted the treatment. I've been on medication for it before a few years ago, and it worked SO well. I literally felt like I was free from OCD. When I came off them it gradually came back so I'm going back on them in the hope it fixes the problem again. I'm a little shocked your dr didn't think of prescribing something for you, medication was a life-saver for me!

    I really hope things get better for you lovely, and you should be so proud of yourself for going to events and things that you know you'll be anxious about. Fantastic post xx

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  42. So glad you took the time to write all of that since it's rather personal. I don't suffer from panic attacks but I do get anxiety and it's gotten so much worse ever since I started college, so bad that I ended up missing classes cos I dread it and struggle with it SO much. I must say, I do understand how you feel about the whole 'getting invited to places by friends, not going, losing friends' because I get that too. It's actually so shit how they won't understand how you feel.
    But seriously, this post is amazing! x

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  43. This is the by far the best blog post I've read in a while! I've been through exactly the same feelings, thoughts and low self esteem due to my anxiety and panic attacks. It's so refreshing for you to share your experiences rather than hiding them away like I felt I had to do for about 2 years! Mine started when I began university and I put it down to the massive change. A lot of people don't understand issues like these and are too scared to talk about it, which makes sufferers feel even more isolated. Panic is actually normal, as you pointed out, and doesn't mean you're 'crazy' or 'mental', but when it gets to uncontrollable levels it is exhausting. It's so great that you have spoken out, hopefully it will encourage other people to do the same! My tips are to tell people about it so that when you are in situations you feel more comfortable knowing you've got support. Sometimes you do have to escape from situations because they are so unbearable, but I've found that feeling the fear and doing it anyway can really help, as often it will prove to you that the situation/activity isn't going to harm you. Even when you feel nervous or have an attack, you will always calm down eventually. Remember, you are so strong for carrying on your life and not letting panic attacks rule you xx

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  44. I'm SO glad you did this post, I suffer from anxiety but I've never really called it a panic attack, but after reading this I realise that this is what I have been having basically my whole life I thought I was just weird and needed help, but I'm so surprised that so many other people have the same experience. Most of mine are triggered from loud noises and big crowds, but the fact my dad and my brother both play guitar really doesn't help and I feel so awful for it but every time they play at home I can't be there or they just are too scared to because they're so worried how I would react. I would also recommend rescue remedy, it really does help to calm me down. Thank you for this post again :) It's really really helped xx

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  45. Ive had CBT treatment for depression and anxiety and I found it really helped me. I have never had what I think would constitute a full panic attack but part of my depression (I had a complete emotional breakdown in my second year of uni) entailed many of the panic symptoms, literally happening all the time, including rushes of adrenaline and extreme emotion. I also hated the situation and would have done anything to get out of it. CBT gave me a way to rationalise and focus on a way out. Whilst it took time and was a gradual process I definitely attribute it to me getting better. I was on antidepressants also for 3 years but this is not relevant for you. They helped significantly also, especially with the physical effects (inability to sleep and racing thoughts). Anyway, I would recommend the CBT and thank you for sharing your story :) If anyone reads this who thinks they may have depression, I would ask for help. Whoever or whatever, keep asking until you get it and you find your answer, because its out there :) xxx

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  46. I'm so glad that i'm not the only one who feels like this! It's so good to read we pretty much have the same "panic's" like pubs and clubs ect. I took kinda the same approach as you and went to my doctor after having panic attacks getting to Uni by train and sitting in lectures became to much and I had to drop out. My doctor sent me to see a CBT therapist, we had to pay privately and it was £200 wasted! All she kept doing was explaining about panic attacks and like you I had read book after book! I then stopped seeing her and went to see another man that was paid for by our family private health care, again he wasn't much help and didn't give me and constructive ways of dealing with all the different feelings i was experiencing! I finally went to see someone else and by now I wasn't leaving the house to even go shopping! Thankfully he was a blessing in disguise and gave me many relaxation techniques and helped me work out what one was best for me but also explained about the different feelings I was having and how to reduce them ect. I saw him for about 10 hourly sessions and it was a MASSIVE help!

    I wouldn't say I am cured but I am definatly moving on with my life, going shopping, driving, going to work just simple everyday activities that I took been so simple for granted! I also found writing a BIG help as actually reading back how I was feeling and why I was feeling it made it stick in my head and made it a lot more logical if that makes sense!

    THANK YOU so much for writing this post and sharing your experiences! I'm going to link it up for my boyfriend to read! Although I've written a blog post and have got him to read mine it often helps to read someone's else perspective as well!

    <3

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  47. I know a lot of people have said this, but I can really relate and sympathise with you here. I won't go into it, but it sounds like we're in a very similar place. Good on you for posting this, I agree with everything you've said.
    Sending love x

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  48. Thank you for writing this. I really believe it's such a shame that so many know so little about anxiety and panic disorder.

    I remember my first panic attack clearly. At the time, I didn't even know what a panic attack was and so genuinely thought I was dying :( I was alone and even called 999 (although they figured out what was happening and helped enormously).

    I've only been 'blogging' for a couple of months, but I have been talking about my personal experiences, if you care to look?

    Thanks again for this post. Let's spread awareness :) xxx

    little-did-you-know.blogspot.com

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  49. This post was amazingly informative and insightful. It was really brave of you, and I really enjoyed reading it. I'm currently studying CBT and want to become a cognitive behavioral therapist...I really think it would be worthwhile into giving it a go :) x x x

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  50. Reading this honestly felt like reading about myself, I've had episodes befor of hyperventilation, feeling incredibly sick and just wanting to go >home<. Mine too stem from alcohol and feeling like everyone else is drunk, I am not and something >bad< will happen. As a result at the age of almost 20 I've been out a grand total of about 3 times since my 18th birthday. I can't even go to a pub with my boyfrind in case he gets drunk and I freak out.

    I can't go to London/other cities on the train without freaking out (I don't even know why - I'm not scared of crashing/terrorism anything) but I just can't do it. I went to liverpool with my boyfriend a few months back and cried/hpyerventilated on the train because it sat on the platform for 20 minutes without moving. I thought I was going to be stuck there forever and it was dark.

    I also hate going on holiday or being out of my routine - I'm basically one of those people who come across as being incredibly boring as all I do is go to work, come home, blog, see my boyfriend at my house or a meal/the cinema/the park and go shopping with my friends.

    I can't do cocktails/clubs/nights out and as a result I've lost all but two of my best friends because people just fundamentally do not understand that I'm not >choosing< to not do stuff I just >can't< right now.

    I'm slowly improving and reading this post at least makes me feel like I'm not alone.

    I think you summed everything up in such a great way and verbalised it (typalised it?) brilliantly.

    Thanks so much for sharing Zoe, I hope your issues continue to improve also!

    Sarah
    http://fashionismyh2o.blogspot.com/
    xx

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  51. The second I saw the book you photographed I knew I had to read this post. I was given that to read by a doctor after I was diagnosed with schizotypal, a disorder that involves panic attacks, distorted thinking patterns and all manner of things that aren't bad enough to get you called crazy but bad enough to have people around you treat you like an idiot.

    I've suffered with panic attacks and due to my issues they're often over the most minor issues which in my head become distorted and out of proportion. (there being no butter left = me weeping on the floor for half an hour because I rather fancied toast.)

    So many people think you're being melodramatic and don't understand how somewhere in the back of your brain an alarm will go off over something tiny and suddenly you're shaking, cold and feeling like you're going to be ill. Especially if you're in the middle of Primark on a Saturday morning......

    Luckily I have an amazing family and boyfriend who are more than understanding but I still find it very hard to make connections with people as friends and the constant nagging that I could snap at the smallest thing makes me scared to go out sometimes. It's a long struggle but I know I'll get better if I keep going.

    Anyway after that long ramble my point is THANKYOU for posting this and helping to give people an insight into what panic attacks entail and how to help someone when it occurs. (believe it or not I've had a large glass of water poured over my head by someone - wasn't exactly productive)

    Anyhoo, thanks Zoe :) It takes a lot of courage to approach this subject and I really appreciate it.

    Maisy xxxx

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  52. Amazing post Zoe, thank you for sharing, it is really brave of you.

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  53. Great post. I've had a couple of panic attacks in my time and they really are awful. Mine come very sporadically and are usually set off my extremely high stress situations, otherwise I somehow manage to keep my cool. Thanks for sharing this :)

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  54. Thank you so much for writing this post. I've suffered with panic attacks/anxiety issues for five and a half years after my dad's girlfriend attacked me. I'm now like you in that I find it hard socializing in pubs, clubs etc. I don't 'like' being around people drinking alcohol. It's so hard to get people to understand that it's not that I don't want to go to these places, I actually feel like I cannot go! I'm going to email some of them your post to see if it helps them understand.

    I've just been referred by the GP for CBT. I used to take Beta Blockers in the beginning because I was sick every day and lost a stone in weight (went down to 7st) because I was too scared to eat in case I was sick. I think having a phobia of being sick makes it hard to understand where the panic comes from - is it from the fear of being sick, or is being sick coming from the fear?

    Anyway, I've babbled on quite a bit. Again, I just want to thank you for sharing this post with us all. Well done and good luck!! Jade xx

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  55. Thank you for this post Zoe. I have never personally suffered from panic attacks but do get anxious in certain situations so some of your tips will be really helpful for me. I know that panic attacks can strike anyone at any time so we all need to learn and understand more about them.
    I did Psychology at uni so we did a bit about CBT - it's usually used alongside drug treatment (the drugs are a short-term fix to get you to focus on the CBT which is the long term fix). I think if you go in there feeling positive that you can do it, it will really help you out.
    Fingers crossed the CBT helps you out xxx

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  56. Great post, my friend suffers from panic attacks so badly. It's lovely of you to share :)

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  57. I honestly feel like giving you a huge cuddle! I completely love this thank you so much for taking the time to post this. This certain-ally a personal/private part of me, My first one was when i was 14 during a pe lesson, i am now 20. I had no idea what was happening to me, i just remember wanting my mum and telling her i was about to die. Those symptoms you've listed i pretty much get every time i get a panic attack. Mine tend to happen more when i'm stressed or run down just like you! My previous one was back in august at work, it was quiet simple everyday situation (i was wiping a table) And then boom one came on. I wen't a whole year and half without one, i was convinced i had gotten over them that when it happened i generally believed it was something other than a panic attack because of how severe it was. And the one before that was also in august so i still don't know weather that's how they work, or when i'm going to get them.. But this what i do know.


    When i'm having a panic attack, sometimes it will only be an hour a couple of minutes and they've been seconds. Which is very rare well for me anyway. What helps me is being with someone who actually know's how i'm feeling. Understands the symptoms i'm having at that moment - I't sounds strange but that reassures me that whatever i'm feeling no matter how bad my panic attack is, is that they know how i'm feeling. I've a family history of panic attacks, so it's pretty easy to get someone to sit with me. But the only person that can actually help me through them is my dad. Because he gets them quite severally (Pretty much everyday) Which is awful!

    I'll go for walks, my boyfriend is amazing. And understands a lot even though he's never experienced one. The last one i had left me exhausted for a ages, and i physically felt like i couldn't go on anymore, that they wasn't ever going to go away, they'd always happen etc. So unfortunately i went down with depression. I can tell you they get easier. Coming from a fellow anxiety disorder/panic attack sufferer that you do learn to control them. And i know better than anyone or when i'm constantly being told 'you'll be okay just calm down' It's bloody easier said than done! If you ever feel like talking don't hesitate to email me. Any of you, I think we could all help each other :)

    Once again, Zoe thank you so much posting this.


    I wish you all the best, Amy x

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  58. Thanks for writing this Zoe, recently I started to suffer from panic attacks and I felt like I was the only one and just being silly, but after reading some books, and your post, I know realise that i'm not being silly, it's an actual reaction to something.

    Like you, I'm scared of anyone being sick, and drunk people make me very uneasy. I don't know if the two are related, but both scare me to death. I don't drink, or like it when people around me are drunk. I was once on a train and 2 girls got on and were talking about how drunk they were, I had to get off the train and wait 30 mins for the next one. I just sat there in panic but I had to get off the train.
    I'm really lucky to have a boyfriend and a manager at work that understand and are so supportive that when I do feel anxious, they know how to look after me and that makes me worry less overall.

    By missing out on things like getting drunk and going out, you're creating new opportunities for yourself so don't feel that you're being left out, other people are missing out on your experiences. I try to look at it that way. Why would I want to spend my Friday or Saturday night drunk and being ill, then Sunday feeling worse and dreading monday morning. I much rather enjoy waking up on a sunday and making bacon sarnies and having a snuggle on the sofa with my boyfriend watching tv.

    Thanks again for this post, It must have been hard for you to write but you've been so brave and i'm sure all the people reading this will respect you for being open and honest and I can see from the comments that you, and I are not alone in feeling this way and reading others comments can help us to understand why and how to get better :)


    laura
    xx

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  59. Gosh that was actually a really interesting read. I don't suffer from panic attacks but I'm glad I can now understand what people may feel when experiencing one.
    I don't want to say "I feel so sorry for you," and sound patronising but I admire that you can share your experiences with your readers for others to benefit from, that's really selfless of you. This post has also answered a lot of questions regarding me own anxiety disorder, because I don't think I've had a panic attack before but I do suffer from an anxiety disorder that causes me to throw up and faint but it lasts waaaay more than 20 mins so it's different to yours. I agree that the nus are hopeless! They coundnt even diagnose me after I was hospitalised for 4 days!
    Anyway, you seem like the sort of person who is mature enough to handle your situation with grace (maybe not the fanning but the fact you can talk about it so openly!) so I wish you all the best!

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  60. This post was so helpful. I always thought I was just being silly. I am constantly worrying about things and stop myself from doing things because I panic about it. I know I'm holding myself back from doing things that would be great and it just annoys me but I can't change. People just tell me to do it and don't be silly but I can't snap out of it. I'm gonna to use some of your tips and hopefully it will help. Thank you x x

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  61. I had severe anxiety for two years from 14-16 and my school were AWFUL at dealing with it! The only thing that helped me with it was the linden method (google!) and obviously I still get a little symptoms of it coming back now and then but no actual panic attacks! :) excersise also really helped me get rid of the extra adrenaline and taking up a hobby (so I didnt focus on the anxiety) unfortunately mine was so bad I couldnt leave the house at my worst point but I started off walking down the road a little further everyday and got better & better :) I'm now reaching the age where everyone 'goes out' and instead of being scared I'm excited to face the 'challenge'. Lovely post Zoe I could relate to it 100% I wish you a full recovery (Which is possible!) xxx

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  62. Hi Zoe! What a great post, I'm sure there are many people out there who have these panic attacks and haven't a clue what's going on so hopefully this will help! I work in mental health services and I would urge you to return to your doctor and ask to be referred for CBT or further support. Their dismissive approach is shocking and not helpful at all, but they will have services in your area and your GP should be utilising them. Take care xx

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  63. I've been having some panic attacks for the past year and a half, they started when I was hit by a bicycle and since then I've been terrified of bikes, which led to a fear of transportation and for some time I couldn't even stay on a bus for more than one stop without feeling nauseous. I'm now okay on buses and in cars, I generally avoid trains and I'm scared to even try flying (I used to love flying, going on 14 hour ones once every couple years, and now I'm terrified of having a panic attack). I tried everything from useless motion sickness drugs to a chiropractor!

    Like you I have a fear of sick which is difficult at parties, and I've been known to avoid parties from sleepovers to meals out. I also have the occasional panic attack when I think about death - these are the WORST, I genuinely feel like my body is shutting down and become hysteric.

    Now the main thing is sitting down in a crowded room for a talk/lecture/assembly - my sixth form's kind and lets me skip all these, but I'm starting uni next year so lectures are gonna be a problem. I also can't go to cinemas, seated concerts or plays which really sucks now cause I love christmas films! Thankfully my boyfriend's really understanding and hasn't asked to watch a film once since we started going out. (: But if I sit in a talk for more than five or ten minutes I break out in a cold sweat, get nauseous, and find it difficult to breathe. I'm definitely trying the self help book above, thank you!

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  64. I cannot express to you how GLAD I am that you posted this. Im 15 and never realised that i was a panick attack sufferer until now. Honestly, I hate going anywhere where I can't get home immediately (buses that run only every hour are my worst nightmare) I cant tell you how much I cant wait until i can drive.
    please please please can i e-mail you for advice :( hugs kim xxx

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  65. Great thoughtful post Zoe! I used to get panic attacks in my teens and twenties but I am much better now (on an SSRI). Hope the attacks lessen for you in the future. Good job on educating yourself :)

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  66. I suffer from very mild panic attacks (no where near as bad as yours) when I'm on a plane. And only on a plane, strange really. I get an unbearable stabbing pain in my stomach, shortness of breath and my sense of hearing and smelling is heightened. (not good when the plane food smells gross, makes you panic even more.) I then get very teary.

    The ONLY way I can stop myself from panicking is by lying down - if there isn't any spare seats where I can stretch out and have a nap I'll have to wait another good 4/5 hours untill I get off the plane. Now I don't have a full on panic for that amount of time, just uncomftable, uneasy, like you cant relax - which makes the pain in your stomach worse.

    I also have to eat little and very often, as me (and my sister) suffer from fainting A LOT.Whenever I feel clostrophobic and hot or have been standing up for a while without a drink my vision goes and have to sit down wherever I am... whether on a sofa or a shop floor. Again it doesn't get completely solved untill I grab something to eat.

    Your so strong and obviously are mature and handling this brilliantly. You can overcome anything as long as you want to, and that doesn't mean making it go away.

    Nia
    x

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  67. You are an absolute star Zoe and SUCH a lovely girl, you don't deserve these panic attacks at all!

    As you know I have emetophobia too and all my previous panic attacks have been caused by the fear of people being sick, or feeling ill myself. Thinking about it, I probably had about ten (if not more) traumatic experiences involving people around me being ill when growing up which have all accumlutated in my brain to cause my phobia! I wish there wasn't such a thing.

    Hope to see you at another event soon girly! Much love xxxxxxx

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  68. This was such an informative, helpful post and I'm sure it will reassure many people as it has done me. I used to have a huge fear of flying and on entering an aeroplane for our annual family holiday I would have a panic attack, I remember them like it was yesterday. Everyone around me was staring at me wondering what on earth was going on, but if you have ever suffered from a panic attack you will know that you have no control of yourself whatsoever, it was so embarrassing but there was nothing I could do about it. I now have to fly 3-4 times a year to visit my boyfriend who lives abroad, I'm getting better each time but I still have the fear of having a panic attack inside of me. I cry when my parents drop me off at departures because I know after that I'm on my own until I reach the other end. Slowly, I have gotten over this fear but even now, I still dont know when a panic attack will 'attack'. Thank you for sharing this Zoe! x

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  69. Amazing post. It's really brave of you to share and it looks like it will help a lot of people :) xx

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  70. This post helped me a lot, thanks :) x

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  71. Thanks so much for writing this!

    I have recently abandoned my uni course due to what I now think must have been panic attacks.

    I would dread going to uni, and that soon became a phobia of making noise or drawing attention to myself in the silent (but full) lecture theatres or exam halls. As time went on the phobia became stronger. I would sit in the hall distracting myself from the fear by fidgeting, becoming sweaty(eww) and tense, and quite shaky. I always felt like I wanted to cry. I would feel like the fidgeting was really obvious and everyone was looking at me because of it.
    Eventually, I started getting pains in my chest which was actually quite scary until reading this post made me realise it was just another symptom!
    My boyfriend was really supportive and said if uni makes me feel this way I should take a break. Thats what I'm doing now and I feel great; No more chest pains! No more tears over having to go to lectures and talk to "normal" people who have no idea what I am going through.

    My symptoms have now decided to say hello when I'm in the cinema too (I nearly fainted during HP!) which is really annoying but I literally run to the loos breathe for a bit and go back in and I'm fine (as long as I didn't miss anything good!!)

    I'm not saying it's ok to leave behind everything that causes panic, but uni had not a single positive effect on my life and I know I made the right decision. Just like you with pubs, I mean I know its fun for most people, but you really aren't missing much!!

    Reading this has made me feel even more as though I have made the right choice and for the right reasons. Being healthy and happy is waaaay better and waaaaaaay more important than being like everyone else :) xxxx

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  72. Oops and I forgot to say how sorry I am for you that your panic attacks are so bad! I think you are so brave and strong to keep up with everything and everyone else (like the London Eye trip!)

    You are quite inspirational !!! xxx

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  73. Zoe, thank you for opening your heart and being so honest.As well as my ME I've also suffered from a long period of depression, alongside frequent panic attacks, so I can relate to a lot of what your saying. Mine started off when my dad passed away, I was fine to go out on my own but if I went out with someone and I couldn't find them, you get the idea! I've had attacks in the middle of supermarkets, shopping centres, you name it. Thankfully some of the medication I now take has knocked the edge of them but I still have them occasionally when I'm trying to go to sleep. I don't know if its to do with being alone, or the dark, I get the most awful sensation of panic and fear - sorry that this was a ramble but thanks for sharing and lots of look for the future xx

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  74. Thank you. I have suffered from panic attacks for the past two years and it's nice to know I'm not alone. From not being able to sleep at night, to needing to go home when I am out with friends - panic attacks can strike at any time and they are difficult to explain to people - some people can be quite judgemental.
    Thank you for bringing attention to something that affects so many people - I was ashamed to go to a doctor for a long time because I thought it was a silly problem, when so many people had 'real problems'.
    Now I have things are better.
    S xx

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  75. Thankyou for posting this, it must have been hard to write so in depth about something that affects you like that. I don't suffer with the same panic attacks as you but have a horrible phobia of sickness (and anything to do with it really), and I’ve realized that the symptoms you have of panic attacks are very similar to the ones I have with Etemophobia (the fear of sickness) and sometimes other times when I feel REALLY out of my comfort zone. I think what I’ve managed to do is make the sickness to be much more of a negative thing in my mind than it really is, and associate it with feeling out of control.
    I have to do what you do and remove myself from the situation, and drink water and breathe deeply, or I just feel worse and worse. I used to, and probably still have a phobia of roller coasters, that got so bad once I broke down crying at the local fair when I was surrounded by these pretty tame fun fair rides and felt so stupid, especially as my little sister couldn’t understand why I was acting like this because she loves those kinds of rides! I felt like no one understood how I felt and thought I was weird/just being silly, and you’re right when you say it affects confidence and self esteem. Probably because it affects our daily lives, and the avoidance of the problem makes those ‘everyday’ situations horrible to deal with.
    I remember once when I had just arrived in morocco on an expedition with my school and the first night we spent in a hotel when I lay down in my bed it hit me just how far away from home, my mum and my comfort zone I was that I could not for the life of me relax, I felt so close to panicking, but thank god my best friend was there, and I got into her bed haha. I think there’s something really personal about these types of anxiety or phobias, and you feel kind of trapped in a bubble with your fear. I don’t think I’ve ever written this down because I never viewed it as an actual medical problem or encountered anyone who felt the same thing, it’s really reassuring to know others have it too. Hopefully i can get better at dealing with it, even though i'm not as bad as other people, i love travelling and meeting new people, so i want to be able to deal with new situations better.
    Sorry for rambling on! I hope yours or anyone else’s panic attacks/phobias get easier to deal with, you sound really brave with trying to get on and lead a normal life :-) xx

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  76. I was at a festival/concert and while in the crowd, naturally people began to push and shove, i was completely surrounded by people i didn't know because my friends and i were gradually becoming separated by the crowd, it had become so violent at one point that a fully grown man in his late 20's literally shouted and began swearing in my face. He was so close to me and i've had weird personal space issues in the past, bearing in mind i'm a 16 year old girl the man proceeded to push and actually punched me in the ribs at one point as he thought it was me that was pushing him even though i was being pushed in the crowd as much as he was and i'm not exactly a fighter - i hate confrontation. Everything just felt like it was closing in on me, i couldn't breathe, i didn't know anyone around me, i was in a crowd of 50,000 people and a man was shouting in my face and hitting me... it all just became too much and i had an asthma attack there and then i will be forever greatful for the 5 decent people behind me that screamed at the security guard to come and get me and i had to be lifted out of the crowd, you would think i would breathe a sigh of relief however i was taken to the st johns hospital tent and had a full in panic attack experiencing everything you just explained. I had never had one before and there was no chance i was finding any of my friends - it was absolutely horrific and terrifying. I have complete sympathy for people who suffer from these on a regular basis i occasionally still have them when i'm surrounded by lots of people and sometimes when i have asthma attacks which you could imagine is a great combination. I really hope you can overcome your panic attacks Zoe, i know how it feels and i wouldn't wish it upon anyone :) xxxxx
    http://catrionaa.blogspot.com/

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  77. I have bad panic attacks too. It pretty much ruined my last year of secondary school - I hardly ever went, when I did I was fidgety, quiet and just generally didn't want to be there. Luckily I'd taken some of my qualifications the year before so my grades didn't slack too much and I got a doctors note sent to the exam board for the rest.
    I only told a few of my best friends at the time, I was 100% in the same boat as you with the 'what if people are calling me weird behind my back' feeling. I was supposed to be going to college after secondary but just simply never made it in - I wanted to go so badly, see my friends, be normal for once. I'd even text them the night before telling them to save me a seat but then flake the next morning - having spent the night awake with worry and crying uncontrollably.
    Luckily now I work part-time at the same place as my Mum, it's not a long-term solution but it's really helped me become more confident and stopped anxiety from ruling my life. Work are really understanding and having my Mum there as silly as it sounds makes it better, because I know that if I do panic she can just take me home.
    My GP referred me for CBD when I was first diagnosed and the woman who did it was lovely. Personally I found that a lot of the techniques they gave me things like 'write down all the reasons you'll be okay. ping a rubber band every time you start to feel panicky. etc.' I'd already picked up from my online research & reading. Also, a few months ago I went to hypnosis, (around the time I was suppose to be starting college to try and push me in the right direction) to be honest it did nothing for me. I had to go private, but for me it wasn't worth it - it has to work for some people but my GP said that it only has a effect in maybe 1 in 10.
    Looking back now at what I've written makes me realise just how much anxiety and panic attacks have affected my life in the past year/ two years. I worry daily that people don't understand, that they get annoyed with me constantly changing plans, that one day they'll just say they've had enough. With my families support I'd say things are definitely looking up for me, that's not too say I don't have days where I don't leave the house, but all in all I'd say I'm starting to get a handle on it better. (Also I've started taking Fluoxetine, having changed doctors and found that it's really helped!)
    It's so nice to hear that I'm not the only one suffering with this problem, sometimes you just feel like you're so alone. Like no one understands, but it's nice to come across pages like this - where I've been reading your blog for months clueless but actually you're just like me :) and I'm not a freak haha. Thanks for posting this, I know it's hard opening up to close friends & family about it, never mind anyone else. I really respect the courage it must have taken, you've made my day.

    Hannah
    x

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  78. this is a great post zoe and i admire you so mch for putting this up so people who doent experience this can understand. This is something i relate to completly, panic attacks are horrible, unfortunatly for me i tend to have most of mine when i'm in the comfort of my own home. I have the biggest fear that i'm not breathing properly and sitting down watching t.v the simplest of things can bring on a major panic attack. for 20 mintutes or so it actually feels as though i am dying. Im so lucky and fortunate to have a boyfriend that knows just what to do. as soon as I allow my mind to think about my breathing i go into panic mode.

    thankyou for sharing this, and i am so pleased that you are getting stronger and doing more things that you can enjoy. you should be so proud of yourself xxxx

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  79. Reading your post, and all the comments has felt like therapy. I have a lot of anxiety and a couple of really horrible panic attacks in the last year and somehow thought it was just me, alone and it didn't happen to anyone else - I feel so comforted to know there are other young ladies going through the same thing, and understand exactly how terrible it feels.

    Thanks so much xxx

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  80. Thank you for writing this. I know you must be 'putting yourself out there' so to speak as you seem to get a lot of negative feedback sometimes (which, frankly, I think is undeserved!). I suffer from panic attacks but they are very 'mild' if you can call it that and I don't get them often. The first one I remember getting was when I was about 10 and about to go take a test in games (I'm really rubbish at games!). I remember asking my friend if she ever felt like this (and explained my symptoms which were a feeling of unreality and heightened hearing) and she had no idea what I was talking about. I also remember saying that I'd felt like this before, but I don't remember when that was.
    It was only years later that I googled those symptoms and saw that it was a panic attack.
    I can't imagine what yours are like though as mine are rather mild and don't happen very often, maybe they aren't even panic attacks at all, but they do seem to fit everything I've read about them.

    I wish you the best of luck at fighting your panic attacks and thank you again for sharing this with us. :) x

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  81. Amazing, brave and honest post. So informative too, which is great. I love what you said about everything seeming 10x louder - when I'm anxious I can't handle any noise or questions.
    I feel lucky that I haven't experienced a panic attack for a few months now, and I think it's down to CBT. It's such a shame you can't get it on the NHS. My therapist has worked out that I'm more of a "worrier" than a "panicker", but when I let my worry get out of control is when I can have a panic attack. Just knowing this fact helps me control my worry, and therefore I can almost rule out panic attacks. It's pretty life changing! Especially as a few years ago, I was too scared to leave my home, too scared to walk into any building without someone else going in first, and many other things. Anxiety really does control your life, and it's so frustrating.
    I hope anyone reading this, recognising the symptoms, or knowing that anxiety is holding them back from life, goes and seeks help. It took me years (and some Diazepam) to finally get me to go to CBT, but it has helped me enormously. It's not for everyone, but it's definitely worth a try, as it could give you your life back.
    Hope you're managing okay,
    Lyzi xxx

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  82. very interesting post, i have suffered a few mild attacks myself but have been around people who suffer quite severe attacks. I think it's great that your speaking out and it's very brave of you to do so to such a large audience of people who wouldn't necessarily look to you for this kind of info :o) it's amazing how many people will now read this because of you, and have more of an insight to how to cope with people who suffer or perhaps help them directly.
    one of my fave blog posts ever.
    xx

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  83. really proud of you for doing this :)

    the other top tip I have for people from a nurse and someone who has them on the tube very often :


    carry a paper bag and breathe into it during a panic attack ( if you can persuade yourself too) or when you feel one coming on



    xox

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  84. ive got a friend of a friend who had a panic attack in a restaurant because she was nervous about who was going to be there all of her supposed 'friends' laughed at her and skitted her for it because she looked stupid,it was horrible,she wasnt in school for a week.she was scared of what they'd tease her for
    i think youre so brave to tell everyone what youve been through and its nothing to be ashamed of:) xxxx

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  85. Thanks for this blog post Zoe, you very brave and I'm sure it will help so many people - sufferers and their family/friends.

    I can vouch for CBT being very, very useful. I'm sure you've done your research but if you want to know anything feel free to email me.

    I'd really try and see another GP though. I hate the thought of taking medication but sometimes it is really useful - even to keep in your bag for post-panic attack as it can really take the edge off the heightened anxiety afterwards until you can get somewhere 'safe'.

    xx

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  86. I have been having panic attacks since I was 14 (I am now 21) and I have to say almost all of this post resonates with me. They put you in such a different head space and it is almost impossible to stay grounded. I have found that being communicative (similar to you writing down everything) helps me end an attack much quicker. For instance I recently ended things with my ex boyfriend of 5 years. I knew it needed to happen (he did not treat me very well) but was terrified because I didn't know what the stress would do to my anxiety. I also have a horrible anxiety about people getting sick and he threw up while we were breaking up on the phone. This triggered a HUGE panic attack. I had to get off the phone with him. I immediately called my mom, and told her literally every thought that was going through my head, as soon as I thought them, regardless of how ridiculous they were. I think maybe this helped me in organizing my thoughts or at least getting them out of my head so they weren't trapped in there. As I've gotten older I've actually discovered that one of the most useful ways of dealing with my anxiety is to tell somebody exactly what I'm thinking right away. Even if it feels like its not going to help, it always helps at least a little in getting rid of my anxiety. This is not a new problem to me and I'm not going to pretend that I have a handle on it, but I definitely have a much better understanding of myself and whats going on than I did before.. e.g. I find that I tend to be much more anxious when light is limited. I live in Canada in the 8th coldest city in the world-so our winters are harsh and daylight is limited. I find it is much easier to be anxiety free in the long warm summer days.
    Anyways haha now that you've basically read my life story...
    It's really great to hear about somebody who has been through what I've been through and understands exactly what I/we are dealing with.
    This isn't my complete story obviously, but I hope the bits I've shared will be useful to you.
    I think the biggest thing for all of us to remember is that no matter how messed up our heads feel for that time we just need to keep on breathing and the sun will rise tomorrow. Even the darkest, longest night has a morning!!
    Keep on keeping on!
    Hugs from Canada xo

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  87. I was away on vacation in a different country when I had my first panic attack. I really thought I was dying. It was by far the worst, and I have had quite a few after that first one. Not knowing what to expect takes it to a whole different level of panic. I never went to the doctor because when I got back home my mom explained it was normal and there was nothing wrong with me and supposedly I'm not the only one in my family who suffers from it. Most of the time now I can feel them coming and can stop it from getting out of hands. But it doesn't always work out so well. Just last month I had a bad one at night in bed. And it's so true that the last thing you want is for people to start talking all around you, it makes it that much worse. It's taken me nearly 6 years to (somewhat) understand it and learn how to make it better. Any new information about it always helps. So thanks for writing this post!

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  88. Thanks for this Zoe - my boyfriend has gone through CBT and has gone from panicking in restaurants, cinemas etc to actually getting on a plane. Big step for him. It really has changed his life. You are super :) xxx

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  89. I've learnt so much from this, Zoe and what you've said, makes such a lot of sense. I'm sure this post is going to help so many people. You should be very proud of it! Also a big well done for getting in that glass pod. That sounds like a huge feat given the panic you get. Have a great weekend, Zoe x

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  90. Bless your heart for taking the time, effort and courage to write this post... I'm 26 years old and have suffered with panic attacks for the past 12 years intermittently. I am a mental health professional, and know many other people who have suffered with this often not talked about disorder. It really can happen to anyone from any walk of life. I sometimes notice panic coming on at the strangest of times without any warning, but for me, usually when I feel out of control in some way, shape or form.

    What's so wonderful is how you've had the courage to share your story. I think a lot of young women are so concerned with portraying an image of being confident and successful, and unfortunately this means that people are often reluctant to share their vulnerability and anxieties. So well done for putting yourself out there!

    I know this post would have been so helpful to me when I was younger x

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  91. I've just been sat reading this and it has been like sat reading something I have wrote myself. I can relate to almost everything you have said. I have also suffered from panic attack for over 6 years and after losing a lot of friends and my boyfriend of 5 years, it left me so sad but has also left me with people that are truly supportive. I had my first panic attack on a train returning home from visiting my boyfriend and haven't been able to get on any public transport since. I'm hoping one day I can push through it the way you do. Like you say all we want to do is enjoy life and not feel fear in situations where we should feel fun, happiness or excitement. I have lost so much confidence and self esteem, and finally after 6 years of seeing different doctors have I found one that really understands and helps, and has finally referred me for CBT. It's sad that this seems such a taboo subject and that we really have to fight to be able to get help. Thank you so much for this post and making me feel a little less alone. I hope one day I will have the strength you have had to push through and get on a train or be able to drive again, and just to start enjoying life again. There's no worse feeling in the world. I really hope we can both eventually kick anxiety in the ass :) xx

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  92. I can relate to this, oh my goodness. Mine all started from stress at uni, depression from my parents divorce ( yes I used to get panic attacks when I was in bed)! being in small spaces like busy trains and packed shops ( Primark)!! I don't know about you but I suffer from insomnia too! Oh and when you said about being in clubs/pubs, there have been times where I've had to sit outside on a pavement head between knees!
    I'm really glad you wrote this post, now I know I'm not the only one.

    :) Kathrynxx

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  93. Thank you for writing this post. I really needed to read this. In fact, I could think of a few people who should also read this to know how real it is! My first two years of Uni were a complete wreck because of my inability to control my anxiety & having panic attacks.

    And now, I'm not afraid to admit how it encouraged further mental and physical problems which I am still experiencing the after effects of. This year however, I feel like i'm in control alot more and I can't quite understand why. This post has urged me to establish what I am associating with when I feel panicked and overly anxious; what am i afraid of? Being honest with yourself will only benefit you in the long run.

    I wish you the best of luck, love and support for the future. :) xox

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  94. Thank you for posting this post! None of my friends (except for one who suffers from panic attacks) understands what a panic attack is and that it is a serious internal type of anxiety. They say "it's all in your head, or just breathe, you're a grown up." It is the most hurtful response and it makes me feel ten times worse like something is wrong with me, when I already feel like I'm going crazy! I suffer from panic attacks that stem from my allergies to all dairy products. When I am put in a position to try new foods or go to restaurants, it is absolute hell for me. I make myself think I am having an allergic reaction and it actually feels like I am dying. Then I get a panic attack from fear of having a panic attack is that makes sense. I was put on an anti-depressant which has helped a lot, but one summer I completely stopped taking it cold turkey (NEVER EVER DO THIS) and literally could not leave my house all summer. I would sit in my room and listen to my heart beat fast, it was THE worst summer I could not do anything due to this fear.

    It is so hard for people who do not suffer from panic attacks or anxiety to understand what it feels like. It is a TERRIFYING feeling and it makes the person feel completely defeated afterwards. I hate when my friends say, "oh I had a panic attack yesterday about my test or about a boy," this is not a panic attack and can not even be compared to what a panic attack is. It is so hard but with years of working on myself and recently studying abroad here in London from the US, I have been pushing myself to really be in control of my anxiety. It is so hard but you take it day by day.

    Thank you so much for posting this and I am so sorry you have to go through it, we all want to live life to the fullest and it is SO hard when it feels like something is stopping you from doing so. I feel like I am supposed to be this carefree girl but I'm not at all and struggle with anxiety everyday. Good luck to you and I wish you all the best, you are so great for sharing this!

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  95. I have GAD and I was on medication until a few months ago for panic attacks, I used to have them very often. I realized the medication i was taking was only preventing the actual panic attack and not the terrible anxiety i had. I decided to make the choice to gradually stop taking them and make other changes in my life for example i moved away from where I live and now while my anxiety isn't gone I have far fewer panic attacks which i'm very thankful for, though they might still occur it isn't so often.
    My panic attacks would usually occur when I was on my own and about to enter a social situation but my worst one was the day I had actually decided to go to the Dr's about them. It actually happened in front of people, in a class at college. I think it was the worst as it seemed to be elevated by these people around me (who previously didn't know i suffered with them) seeing me in a state of weakness and a lack of control. Having to leave the room in such a state and having to return with those people. It's hard to even think about it. But I went to the doctors and she gave me medication to physically stop panic attacks from occurring, not anxiety. I had to tell my friends why i went into 'melt down' in class and why I sometime wouldn't go out.
    Eventually, I stopped taking my medication though. In August I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of going into a post office. I didn't though because I was on medication. But after I realized that I didn't feel any better being extremely anxious & not having a panic attack. It sounds stupid but I almost thought it would have been better to have a release. Albeit, a very terrifying release.
    I really applaud you for going to that London Eye event, I definitely wouldn't have. You're very brave. I really hope your CBT goes well! xxx

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  96. I know how you feel about going out and partying. My mom was an alcoholic and into drugs on top of being bipolar. It was horrible, and I associate danger and negative emotions with drinking. I live in the US and am under 21, but many of my friends drink anyway. They don't really invite me out to things as much now that they've started drinking, and they've grown closer because they have social drinking to bond over. I feel very left out, and they treat me almost like I'm a prude. I just have no desire to drink at all, and being around drunk people makes me extremely uncomfortable. I hate being isolated from people, but they just don't understand.

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  97. Dear Name-Twin (haha!),

    To echo everyone else, thank you for writing this. It's always been hard for me to explain my anxiety, but this is exactly it. I knew it was bad for me too when I started having panics with my boyfriend. I was offered medication but I did turn it down, but I haven't been suffering as long as you have (maybe 2 years or so).

    I know it's bad when I have panic attacks because anxiously awaiting to come see my boyfriend. Ack!

    Stay safe, happy & healthy,
    -Zoe

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  98. Zoe. Your an angel and I'm so proud of you for posting this because not many people would. I've suffered from panic attacks for about 9 years and I'm only 20 :( it gets worse the older I get and the more responsibility I have. I quit Uni, have no relationship, not many friends. Close my self up in my room hoping and praying for a better day. I don't experience the same attacks mine are from worrying about the future. I worry moving out of my home. Sleeping any where other than home. Being away from my family. There's not a thing in the world that I don't worry about. I've never been to the doctors about it but I think I might now ive read you were brave enough too. I have insomnia too, which makes me even more anxious there for I suffer with attacks most nights due to worrying about sleep?!?!?! Vicious cycle. Hope it all works out: and thank you

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  99. Thank you so much for posting this. I suffer from anxiety and can relate to a lot of what you said.

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  100. I have been struggling with depression for the past years until today. Your information are totally true. Not everyone really understand it well. People might not know what we "a sufferer" thinking. What i found out is they like to make assumption on me. The worse part of my life where I get panic attack during my exam period. So, in the end I see blank. Depression make me feel horrible where I turn our to be bulimia/ed and panic attack. I also found out people don't understand it because they don't understood me, what they really understand is the meaning of it but they don't understand the true meaning of depression/panic attack.

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  101. Thank you for being so brave as to share this with us! Panic attacks can be really scary! I am sorry that you have been suffering with this, but you are sooo brave to share your story! Stay strong!

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  102. Hi! I found your blog while watching your youtube.
    I've been having panic attacks since i started doing major exams. The worse part is i know that im wasting time panicking and it just sets me off into a worse panic attack than before.
    I found that hypnotherapy worked a bit. But i still have the attacks. Although most last for a shorter period of time than before, some don't. I might try the book you've mentioned. Just wanna say that i'm so glad you wrote this post. It mustn't have been easy and i don't think i would have found it simple to write about something so personal. But thanks for doing it!
    - Sophie

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  103. Like lots of people who have posted, I am also a massive anxiety sufferer. This post has made me feel a lot better about my (what my friends would call) "antisocialness". charming eh! It's good to know there's other girls out there who like dressing up, fashion, makeup etc and yet can barely set foot in a pub let alone club!! I'm 24 and haven't been clubbing since 21, and even then I would suffer from panic etc. My friends don't understand, "step out of your comfort zone" they say, but they don't get it!!

    Anyway enough about me!! I really encourage you to go to another GP for a second opinion, and try to get seen by a counsellour/therapist/CPN etc. I have lots of mental health issues - bipolar, psychosis (yes really), eating issues and anxiety. I see a psychiatrist, psychologist, occupational therapist, CPN etc and I think you would benefit a lot too! A lot of people on the NHS are trained in CBT and it really does help so much to be taught CBT by a professional rather than from a book.

    So yeah, please try again! And ask to be referred to someone, and don't take meds!! Valium is so addictive lol.

    Take care

    xxxx

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  104. OMG! I was breathless when I finished this post. I didn't know how awful could be a panic attack. You and all the people who suffers from it and who fights it need to be very proud of yourselves. You're so strong!
    Love from Italy!!!

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  105. That was amazing.

    Firstly I’m sorry for this LONG reply. As another anxiety, panic attack and emetephobic I seriously commend you for writing that.

    I’m 21 and my story is similar to yours but with a different first trigger. I believe mine was when I was 9 and I had this awful orthodontic brace which was fixed to the roof of my mouth. This brace was like a torture treatment, it really made eating difficult and I hated eating in front of other people. My first panic attack happened in the lunch hall in my primary school when I refused to eat my packed lunch. The dinner ladies told me I couldn’t leave unless I’d eaten it which made me so panicky and claustrophobic and I just started shaking and getting hot and I couldn’t control myself. I told my mum when I got home and she let the school know I’d be going home for lunch for the rest of that term. However, even when I got my brace off later in the year, I still had the odd panic attack. This time it was whenever I felt ill, or was near someone ill. I think it changed into this because of how ill the panic attacks made me feel, so as soon as I felt a twinge of something inside me that could somehow turn into a panic attack (or worse be sick) I panicked more and felt even more ill.

    As I got older and went to university, although I still hated it, I got more used to other people being drunk and ill. However this didn’t make the fear of myself being sick go away. I also like to drive just so I know I can get home if I need to as I hate not having an exit. I agree with what you say, we don’t want to be like this! I look at other girls who post their pictures from nights out on Facebook and think to myself “look how much fun they’re having with no care in the world”. I want to be like that! I want to feel so panic free that the word panic doesn’t even crop up in my mind before a night out.

    My boyfriend is very considerate and understanding about it all. I feel so bad when he tries to comfort me during a panic attack because it must be such a weird situation for him. I dislike people touching me during a panic attack as it makes me feel trapped, so I don’t let anyone put their arm around me. I find it hard to talk during a panic attack due to having a dry throat and my jaw tenses up. So I’m just sat there in a silent shaking mess.

    Like you, I put off going to see a doctor because I thought I could control it myself and always thought to myself “it will go away one day”. In fact, it got worse. So I plucked up the courage to go to my NHS doctor. They were NO help. All she did was say “mhmm” when I listed my symptoms and the fact I’d suffered with this since I was a child. I felt so let down. But my mum found an NHS trust in Hertfordshire which runs CBT. The link is here: http://www.hertspartsft.nhs.uk/our-services/community-services/enhanced-prmary-mental-health-servcies/ Obviously I know you, and many others don’t live in Hertfordshire but there could be other services similar in your counties. I went to see a lady and talked and cried to her for an hour. Although she didn’t offer me one to one sessions (which I was disappointed about, I think it has more to do with NHS budgets than me not being suitable) I am starting group CBT therapy.

    I could go on forever about my experiences, my highs, my lows, my accomplishes, my failures, but you’ve listed such good examples of how bad it can get, but also the sense of achievement and elation that can happen when you conquer something you didn’t think you could like the London Eye (and for me it was a gig in London). If we remember those achievements we can use them to push us through even more and hopefully make us realise that we CAN do this.

    If you ever need someone to moan about panic attacks with please feel free to message me on FB, just search for /marina.walker

    Lots of love xxx

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  106. Hi Zoe, thank you for writing this post. You are very brave girl to share what you've been through... I have moments when I'm extremely scared. And as stupid it might sound I'm scared I'll die. First time it happened soon after my first son's birthday; I developed condition called Sarcoidosis. I didn't know at the time I had it, I only knew I had lumps in my lungs and I was scared it's cancer. I had swollen knees and sore lumps on my legs, It was painful to walk. I couldn't breathe properly, I was weak. I remember I was cuddling my baby and crying eyes out, I was scared and had no idea what was happening to me.
    but panic attack is so diffident. I had it when I was having my c-section. i was sitting naked and waiting for spine injection and started to feel sick. my heart was pounding, I felt I'm going to faint. I started to cry and couldn't stop, my body was shaking. I felt stupid and ashamed, like a silly cow. I was crying during whole thing, only stopped when by baby was out and I was told hes fine.
    I did have another moment of fear, without the reason I started to think i'll die, I wont be there for my boys, I wont know what their life is like.
    Its OK to be scared.Its OK to have panic attack. but when you are like this its important to learn how to cope with it, so you can enjoy your life.

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  107. Zoe, thank you for sharing this with us. It helps me feel less alone. I remember my first major panic attack. Racing thoughts, feeling like there was ice water in my veins and my heart pounding so hard it felt like it was going to pop right out of my chest. My father used to be a huge drinker which caused a LOT of terrifying moments. And though things are better now, and he no longer drinks, I find myself triggered by certain things and just DO NOT enjoy going to clubs or bars. I feel trapped in a lot of situations that involve alcohol, though I have managed a few nights out with friends who I am super comfortable with. I also used to have panic attacks in my sleep. Weird..I know. I didn't think it was possible but my doctor informed me that it was..and they were happening to me. I would wake up feeling shaky and as if I were having a heart attack. Pounding heart and everything. The worst are the ones that happen for no reason. :( I will start feeling that flush in my face and I literally sit there trying to talk myself out of it. "There is nothing wrong Melinda. There is nothing wrong Melinda..." I feel silly in my self dialog, but this often helps if I catch it fast enough. There have been so many nights I could not sleep I was so panicked and literally cried myself to sleep. I got a prescription for Ambien..a sleep aid, so when these nights hit-at least I can get to sleep quick. Though I don't recommend taking sleep aids unless you really need to.
    I feel less alone now sweet Zoe. I wish I could offer some sort of advice, if I run across any info I will pass it on. Hopefully this will help people understand how serious this is. It is so frustrating when people don't understand or downright deny you your right to your feelings. I was once told "YOU have never had a panic attack. YOU don't know how it feels. You don't know what you're talking about." And this came from a close family member. I felt totally unvalidated-as if my feelings were unimportant and I have a carefree life compared to theirs. UGH! People need to understand-our experiences may be different, but they are very REAL to each person. Sorry this is such a long comment :/. But it means a great deal to me that you shared it. I would try another doctor though, I've found that you really have to dig around for the one's who really care and will take the time to help.

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  108. PS...stay strong Sweet Zoe. You can do this! We both can!

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  109. This is one of the best blog post's I've ever read! I've had anxiety attacks since I was about 14 and I'm 17 now. They started in a similar situation to what yours did at a house party with underage drinking. As a result I get anxious around drunk people, if I go out to a pub or to a party, if I am in a close space or anywhere I've had an attack before (like the filing cabinate thing). I just start to shake and have a horrible feeling of dread.

    I went to my GP on the NHS recently to get help because it just got too much. They were no help, after explaining my symptoms (shakes, feeling sick etc) the doctor just gave me a link to a website which turned out to be a self-help guide explaining ways to distract yourself. I instantly got online as I had already tried these things to help me, things like counting and concentrating on breathing but nothing had ever helped and I wanted something that would actually work. I found 'Bach' a brand that specialises in 'flower remedies' for numerous sitations (I think it's quite well known). I purchased a spray which you spray twice inside your mouth, its really quick and easy and doesn't taste thaaat bad. You can go through a process on their website where you can choose certain 'flower remedies' to suit your needs. Before I go out anywhere I expect myself to have an attack I always use it but I'm not sure that it works as I have experienced attacks since but it does seem to take the edge off or I don't feel like I'm going to have an attack before I do, which can sometimes be worse. I do find that going outside or where it's cold/quiet and walking around helps me too.

    I also end up turning down going out because I am scared of an attack which is sad and I hate myself for it. I dread losing friends because of it as they don't know how to deal with my attacks, I find that I snap and get annoyed if people say things like "come on just try doing this" and that they will just get fed up of me eventually. I feel people think I'm being dramatic and silly or I'm just being boring by not going out which will/nearly has, resulted in to me not being invited at all.

    I have found this post SO helpful and I will definately be taking your advice on board. It's nice to know somebody who suffers from a similar thing as nobody I know has ever had an anxiety/panick attack and really don't understand what's happening when one creeps up on you.
    Thank you so much xxxxx

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  110. Brilliant post Zoe. I don't suffer with the extreme type of anxiety but can get really anxious before job interviews, coursework deadlines and job interviews, i usually take a herbal remedy called rescue remedy which if your like me really help.

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  111. I also suffer from anxiety, which has been made much worse recently by a big bout of despression. I also found my GP very unhelpful, it wasn't until things escalated and I was hospitalised that I started getting help... even then I don't know if it was the right thing for me! I've finally found medication that has helped me but it's taken a lot of trial and error to get there and I'm not sure if some of the medication actually sent me backwards rather than forwards.

    Mental health is so difficult.

    The one thing that has helped is having a CPN to talk to every week. I start my CBT next week (I got referred in April, what a joke...) I would recommend talking therapy over everything else; although if you can find a way to pay for it yourself rather than being stuck on an NHS waiting list for months, you will probably find things get better quicker! There are lots of charities that offer subsidised counselling so always worth asking your GP about...

    I don't know, there are no easy answers. You just have to keep fighting and remember that things will get better eventually. Like you said, anxiety is awful but it won't kill you, even if it feels like it will sometimes.

    My mental health issues have ruled my life this year, and I need to get back on top of things.

    Good luck everyone :)

    xxx

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  112. Hi Zoella, I know what it's like! I won't go into detail but I turned into a paranoid wreck and ended up seeing a psychiatrist because my anxiety became so unmanagable (I didn't work for years). After being stuck on various meds for over 7 years I demanded Cognative Therapy (I has to find this out myself), I was referred by the NHS and had a hours therepy once a week for a year. It turned out that I had a form of OCD called 'Pure OCD' By the end of my years therapy my life changed completely! I cannot believe I got over my issues and stopped taking the meds. Now 4 years on I feel that in a way I've learnt alot from the horrible experiences and they have made me a much calmer relaxed person (this took a while!) I don't think that anyone would believe I had theese problems as I'm so calm now!

    I just have to say that you must tell your doctor that you need CBT (tell them what to do otherwise they won't bother because of the money it will cost them) Also, it sounds like you have a fairly OK doctor because every one I saw wanted to stick me on meds.

    Now at 28 (scary!) I feel like I'm only about 20 because I lost so many years to this crap!
    Life has started and it couldn't get any better!
    I still avoid some situations (but not with regret) and I don't drink but it's easily managed!

    :)

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  113. I have the same phobia of sickness which causes me to have a lot of panic attacks. No one understands them really and I often end up feeling quite stupid in front of my friends.

    I found hypnotherapy really helped. I definitely recommend it - it gave me some useful strategies on how to deal with panic attacks independently.

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  114. I'd never really heard about panic attacks before, but i'll be paying extra attention around me now, and try to help or do what i can... wow...

    munchmecat.blogspot.com

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  115. I love how all the panic attack sufferes are uniting together on this post. I've suffered from them for about 8 yearss now and in the past year it got so much worse to the point I was having on and upwards of about 10 panic attacks a day, each and every single day, it ruined christmas last year as christmas evening when we had family rounnd for games of cards etc, like you said, noise comes so much louder! I couldn't cope and was crying and panicing the whole night. In fact up untill summer this year I was signed off by the doctors in an unfit state to even work! It got that bad, was horrible. I've got so much better since, but still have them, and I can often get worried about having one then I'll have one, but I always carry around my kalms, special calming chewing gum and ani sickness tablets like you I have a fear of sickm espically being sick, so that makes the whole situation much worse.
    Honestly reading this made SO much sence, you literally spelt it out word for word. I'll deffinately be redirection friends and family to this post who just don't quite understand.
    -x
    http://makeupmeow.blogspot.com

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  116. Wow thats amazing :)
    great post, I get really worked up and panicked over things and now I have a better insight into panic attacks :)
    Thanks Zoe :) <3 xxx
    and well done on the london eye!

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  117. I have suffered from panic attacks for a while and it's only recently when one of my friends has witnessed me having one, they have realised that it's not easy. I hope that people with friends that suffer from this read this and realise that they need to support their friends and also understand what's going on.
    Abbey
    x x x

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  118. Thanks so much for writing this - My anxiety began on the same basis, the fear of sick, and has accelerated since then. I've always felt like the only one who struggles to go out drinking with friends because of my anxiety, when I want to go so bad. This honestly made me feel much less alone. Thank you so much xxxx

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  119. This post is brilliant. I too am a sufferer of panic attacks and you have summed up EXACTLY how I feel! Even the sick phobia I have too, I HATE it and it is a major trigger. You're actually the only person who has even though my boyfriend/parents are comforting, they don't suffer.

    I also put off going to the doctors as I don't want meds and prefer to deal with it my way (which involves standing in fresh air and not moving... even when it happens at 4am! Think me in a dressing gown looking like a crazy cat lady.)

    Anyway, I could go on for ages but thanks for this post and I hope you find a way to get better/manage it like everyone else who suffers :-)

    xx

    blushing-rose.blogspot.com

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  120. This post is so inspiring.

    As a panic attack sufferer myself, I completely agree with everything you have said!

    Yes, it gets you down and makes you angry and upset but believe me, you are strong!! Xx

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  121. Hi Zoe,
    Thank you so much for this post! I suffer panic attacks too and as myself don't understand why it's happening, what more the people around me. I do the same things to relieve and calm myself down from it. This post will surely help.
    Take care!
    xx

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  122. Thank you soo much for this! I think it was very brave of you to share this with us. Panic attacks can be really scary! I am sorry that you have been suffering with this.
    xox

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  123. I'm bi-polar. I don't usually tell people that but this is the internet and you don't know me so who's to judge? I also know its not the same but there were a few things that you said that really struck home. The first was your visit to the doctors. Before I knew what was going on I'd suffered an 18month low and when I finally gathered up the confidence to go to the doctors she simply screamed at me and gave me a few numbers and sent me on my way. I called the numbers and tried to get myself sorted but there was a six month waiting list. I had no idea how I would be in six months and I was scared that if I didn't manage to get myself sort I wouldn't be there in six months. I'm a scientist and my sisters a doctor so she gave me her text book on CBT, told me to read it and to understand the science behind it before applying it to myself.
    I kid you not it probably saved me. CBT is one of the most affective treatments you can do and I can tell you that from self experience. I urge you to try because at the end of the day whether its panic attacks o bi-polar disorder they are both manifestations of psychological problems. Unfortunately in such cases the only person who can fix that is yourself. Once I'd realised that I started to train my sub-conscious to pick up on what was getting me down and to prevent it from making my situation worse.
    It works sometimes; I've just come off a month low so not always but I now what's going on I reapply the theory of CBT and can usually pull myself out of my depression.
    I hope that you manage to conquer this mountain because no being in control of your body sucks and feeling alienated is one of the worse feelings in the world. However, I doubt people are really as affected by what you're experiencing as you think. People are more selfish than most people realise and if someone does judge you then they are simply not worth your time.
    I know I don't really know you but I've been following you a while and I think you're awesome. I'm very blunt and I don't give compliments unless I mean them.
    Good luck and if you need anyone we're here for you!
    Nashxx
    http://nash852.blogspot.com

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  124. Hi :) Thank you for this post, reading it has left me feeling a little better about my own anxiety problems.

    I've suffered with panic attacks for a few years now too. Mainly, it occurs when I feel I've lost control for example when I'm in a big crowd and I can't see a clear exit or if I feel unwell (or too tipsy).

    I've had many in the past that have only lasted a few minutes before I've calmed down (once in a crowd at a Elbow concert), but also one quite severe one that happened last year. I was travelling on quite a long journey in a car with my friend and her boyfriend (who was driving) and I started to feel travel sick. We were on the motorway and I felt there would be no where to pull over if the worse happened so I panicked, but panicked a bit too much (I think also because I have a fear of vomiting too.) I felt suffocated, like I couldn't catch my breath. I went light headed, had cold sweats and felt very dizzy. My hands and feet went tingly then numb and eventually my hands started to seize up into claw like positions and I couldn’t unclench my jaw to speak. My friend was terrified and didn't know what was wrong and thought I was low on sugar and tried to feed me coke cola, but I couldn’t swallow or open my mouth properly, I thought I was going to die! My hands were frozen and I felt like I was locked in my body.

    I passed out for a second and woke up at the doctors (was closer to the hospital.) My friend carried me in because I couldn't move and a doctor came out and helped. He kept asking if I'd taken drugs, then came to realise I was panicking. He tried to calm me down and unclench my hands to release the tension. He said if I didn't I would need an ambulance. Eventually I controlled my breathing a little better and my hands unclenched (and then I proceeded to throw up all over the floor...which actually helped :S!) I then had tests done to check I was ok and he let me go. My friends and I laugh about it now; they call me dinosaur arms, ha-ha, because of how my hands looked. But although we laugh now, at the time...there’s no words to describe how terrifying it really is, like there’s no way back from it. I also sometimes feel that people who observe my attacks think I'm sort of attention seeking, because they can't really understand why it would happen...even I don't really know why it happens, all I know is that when it does, it’s out of my control.

    That’s why it's good to know that there are others who suffer too, and the tips and guidance you have written seems like it could really help me, so thank you :D. I will get my family and close friends to have a read as it’s also good for them to have more understanding about them and I'm sure it would be more reassuring for them to know what to do when it occurs (reassuring for me too!) :D

    xx

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  125. Thank you Zoe for this great Blogpost.
    I think bloggers can write about more topics than only fashion and something else. Its important to let the world know, that we have more things to know especially such topics like panic atacks or cancer oder like that.

    Love Rima

    rimaloves.blogspot.com

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  126. i get them too when im in crowded places, it's awful. from reading the comments- it's obviously more common than i thought.

    http://whattheshoe.blogspot.com

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  127. I've had kind of panic attacks, sometimes because I was afraid I'd fail at something (this is my biggest fear) and sometimes cause I was so angry at someone, I swear I wanted to hit them, and kill them. I really scared me. Once, I threw something at someone to hurt them and then I went into my bed and didn't move for something like 4 hours, because I was afraid that if I moved, I'd be even more aggressive. Anywaysn, thank you for sharing your story with us. I really like your blog, your videos, and your personnality.

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  128. Honestly, I didn't know much about panic attacks (although I did have a friend that suffered and I never knew what to do to help her). It's so admirable that you are able to talk about it because I'm sure this will help loads of people and their friends and family. Thank you!

    Cait xx

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  129. Zoe, you have no idea how much i appreciate you sharing this. For years i suffered of panic attacks, with my parents not taking the situation seriously and just saying that i was stupid and got worked up too easily. Then i had a major panic attack, which lead to pretty serious consequences, but even though the doctors tried to explain my parents what panic attacks were about, they just carried on believing that it is something stupid and related to the fact that i cannot control my emotions. As if they were comparing it to some teenagehood petty crisis (please note that i am past 20 haha). This is pretty stupid if i consider that my parents are otherwise extra caring and understanding. Luckily my boyfriend, whom i live with, does take it seriously, and helps me calm down and all whenever such events occur and i am with him. I have noticed that since i have someone helping me through with this, the frequency has decreased. A LOT.

    All this to say, resist, stay strong, and trust yourself more than any drug or medicine. You CAN work this out.

    Lots of love,

    Giulia
    http://giulesss.blogspot.com

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  130. Hey hunny,

    I have literally only just discovered you on youtube and i'm kinda annoyed that I haven't seen you before now.

    I can totally 100% relate to this post. I'm 25 and have been panic attack free now for nearly a year. I've always suffered anxiety but it progressed onto full blown panic attacks a few years back and seemed to just creep up on me. The worst times being at work - not the most ideal place when you're a receptionist!!

    I would highly recommend CBT for you but I would go one step further and see a hypnotherapist. My mum is a psychotherapist/hypnotherapist and discussed it with me before I saw a therapist and I promise you that this will help you. The only down side is the cost of going private. It mounts up as the sessions go on but if you can commit to it, it is so so helpful. I, like you, was very disappointed in how my doctor and the NHS counselor handled my case - apparently you can treat someone with 3 hours CBT? pfft yeah right.

    wishing you the best of luck sweetie with trying to overcome this. I feel your pain.

    I'll be tuning in to all your youtube vids from now on.

    take care xx

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  131. As a sufferer, survivor and tried and true anxiety handler of panic attacks (I have post tramautic stress disorder) I would suggest editing your article. Therapy (as in seeking treatment with a liscensed counselor, psychoanalysis, psychologist and if need be, psychiatrist) is the most effective means of dealing and learning to cope with intense feelings of anxiety. It is necessary to optimal health and I would suggest if you haven't sought treatment with these specialized professions to do so, you are loved and don't deserve to tough through this. An easier less burdensome path is possible. I also think, for the people that read this article, it would be the most responsible thing to do. It is imperative this information is included as the less knowledgable look now to you as source of education and suppprt.

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  132. Thank you ever so much for writing this post! I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for over a year and like you have a phobia of sick. I find it really unnerving to go to parties or the pub, anywhere I know there will be excessive drinking. I've had a few panic attacks at college and the beginnings of many there which was awful because I never wanted to go. Once I'd had a panic attack there would be a negative stigma with whatever day it was, whatever shoes/coat/outfit I was wearing, whatever food I was wearing, even perfume. It was almost if I believed those things were causing my attacks, which I now know was totally untrue!
    My doctor, like yours, was totally unhelpful. He instantly put me on some anti-psychotic medication which didn't solve the problem at all.
    I have found that Rescue Remedy pastilles work best for me, dunno whether they actually work but taking them makes my brain believe I'm actively combating my anxiety.
    Thankfully I haven't had a panic attack since August and haven't felt remotely anxious since October.

    Again, thank you ever so much for writing this!
    xx

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  133. I found this so interesting to read and i cant say that i understand because ive never had a panic attack or anything like it nor do i know anyone that has. A lot of things you said reminded me of things ive learnt in my Psychology class and the whole way through i was thinking that CBT would help so i was pleased to hear that you know about it, i really hope it helps you!

    http://zozeze.blogspot.com/xo

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  134. I'd never thought about the same situations triggering panic attacks but you're right! Mine were nearly always in the middle of the night when I had essay deadlines and couldn't write the essay, seems trivial but it was horrible and nearly every essay deadline! Glad that they are getting less frequent so you are able to go about your life a bit more, was horrible seeing you have one that time! xxxxx

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  135. Zoe, this was so kind and lovely of you to write this. It must have been really really hard for you to try and describe something so personal to yourself, but i'm sure it's helped many people, including myself :) thank you very much.

    Silly blogger doesn't let me comment on your page using my google account, so if your ever passing through my bloggy say hello.

    lots of love, orla :) x
    www.orlieani.blogspot.com

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  136. My friend suffers from panic attacks and i never understood them so although i have always felt very sorry for her when she cant come out with us somewhere i have never known what to do or say to comfort her so this has been really helpful. i am also going to show her this blog post as she has only suffered with them since the summer so it may help her to understand and feel less alone also. i hope she feels like i am there for her now too :)

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  137. Very interesting and informative :) I feel prepared now so that I can be on hand if anyone needs help!

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  138. what a great personal blog post zoe! i loved the emotion put into it. I dont suffer from panic attack but i had a friend who did and she had the same triggers you did, with the drinking and partying. thank you for posting this!

    -kelly-

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  139. Firstly, fair play for airing on your blog, takes a lot of strength to take about such a personal issue.

    The first time I suffered a panic attack it was so severe that I thought I was dying and made my boyfriend call an ambulance for me. I had subsequent attacks in the cinema and work and finally admitted to myself that I was not functioning properly and needed help. I went to CBT, not just for panic attacks but for related stress, depression and anxiety problems.

    During these sessions the single most useful advice I got when dealing with panic attacks was to just go with it. Accept that, yes I am having a panic attack, I'm not going to die, I'm not going crazy, it's not the end of the world - I suffer from panic attacks and that is ok. In my experience, the worst thing to do is fight the rising wave of panic as this only exacerbates the condition. By accepting that it is happening and not fighting against it you immediately feel calmer and the symptoms are not as intense or as prolonged as they usually are. By this simple thought process I have my panic attacks completely under control, I now recognise the first signs of a panic attack and then accept that it is happening rather than struggling against the inevitable and trying to control it or stop it altogether. I no longer take the panic attacks as seriously, I no longer attach any awful meaning (such as it being a sign of my imminent death etc) or rehash, relive or over anaylse the panic attack. I accept it and am ok with it and the wave of panic subsides before gathering any momentum whatsoever.

    Hope this is of some help xxx

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  140. Wow.youre so brave for sharing this, thank you!I cant tell u how well u articulate the feeling!I have always been a worrier!Its when this worry is consistent and extreme that it turns to attacks.I remember one of my first occurrence s was when I had to b forced onto the stage even tho I was so scared, or when I suddenly worried in the middle of a dance.Things got a lot worse when I worried about my future post uni and I went into complete anxiety breakdown,I could barely even get thro work without turning into a mess for no reason.I tried Christmas, I tried tablets but neither worked.Im now an Occupational therapist and altho I still have situational anxiety,ive learnt how to stop it from spiralling so that it spills into my whole life and practising what I preach as an ot.Much of what u said in your post actually!As well as distracting myself with my interests,writing lists and slowing down my thinking!It's nice to know we're not alone xxx

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  141. Wow, your so brave! Well done for taking steps to manage it and trying to stop it hindering your life, your a great role model. Two of my friends have had regular panic attacks after their dad died and while they do go to the doctors, they just get signed off work for a week instead of trying to do anything about stopping them or trying to manage them which obviously doesn't help improve things.
    I have only ever had one and it was the most terrifying experience ever, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
    It's great you are speaking out xx

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  142. Thank you for posting this post, another great thing is all the comments people have left! It is reassuring to see there are so many other people in the same situation. I suffer from panic attacks, I usually faint when I have them unless I can control it. I have done it all my life and my mum said I was around 2 or 3 years old the first time. Over the years I have learnt how to calm myself down better but I still faint sometimes. I also try hard to not let it stop me doing things in my life. It is hard but gradually working up to bigger situations is the best way.

    I also find if I can get out of the situation I am fine. I will go to the toilet and calm down on my own.

    I also went to a cognitive therapist but I only went once because she was trying to find out what first caused my panic attacks and I don't know because I was so young. She was also teaching me the techniques like saying the alphabet backwards and did some hypnotherapy. I think for the hypnotherapy to have had an effect I would have had to go to more sessions so I can't really comment on that!

    Also, I bit random but as I was typing this an advert came on TV for Peter Andre with Piers Morgan next Saturday at 10pm talking about panic attacks!

    PS I loveee your YouTube videos, especially vlogs with A sprinkle of glitter! Thanks again for taking the time to write this post because I'm sure it wasn't the easiest thing to write!

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  143. Mine started a year ago so this post is very helpful for me. What triggered mine was my husband getting out of the navy. No navy...no income. We are both set on me staying home with the kids until they are in 1st grade and up. Not quite sure what that would be to your country but basically both kids would be over the age of 5. So instead I found ways to bring in cash here and there. But not near enough to cover bills or even A bill.

    My husband was without a job for about 9 months. During that time I had attacks over anything and even things I used to love doing. Last year I went and saw Dane Cook for the first time in concert and I was sitting there freaking out and not being able to breathe because there were so many people. But the second the guy stepped onto stage I was fine.

    Things that I notice help me is deep breathing and walking in fresh air. So usually I will walk laps around my house. Probably look like an absolute kook to my neighbors but can't say I care! Also focusing on a thing I enjoy. Which explains the concert thing. Now that my husband has a job I noticed that I barely have any anxiety attacks. My last one was over a month ago.

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  144. This was so interesting, I loved this post Zoe, never thought you had panic attacks but I can relate so much! I don't suffer from them, but I got them a few times before (I never thought of them as panic attacks until I read this) and I knew I had them when you went on about the tubes etc. About 4 years ago, I was in Prague (I don't live there but go every summer cause I was there for 12 years) and I'd always use the tube there. And one summer I started having these panic attacks as you said every time I were to go on one. I don't know why because I'd always use it before but just that summer I had so many problems with it. I felt so pathetic tbh and just wanted to be normal again. Every time I were to go on, I felt like I was gonna faint, my heart would start beating super fast and I felt so vulnerable and everything. I kept telling myself "you're not gonna die from this, its not the end of the world, EVERYONE travels like this" but I just kept freaking out. I just wanted to cry there and never get on but I had to because I was always with someone - my friends or my family and I didn't even tell them about it cause they'd think I'm a drama queen or something. One time I really thought I couldn't make it and just wanted to get the f out of there and walk home or something. It was so bad.. but then it stopped all of a sudden. I don't know why, if it was that I got over it or something but I'm glad it did. Another time when I'd have constant attacks would be when I was in the same situation - as you explained - same place, same person etc. I was about 13 and for a year I went to a different school. My form teacher (I had him for most subjects too) was just horrible, I felt like he hated me, he wasn't a nice person, always shouting at me etc. he was just so mean to everyone. I mean he couldn't do anything to me but all of a sudden I was so scared. Every time I was getting dropped off to go to school (it was almost every day!), the whole ride I was thinking about it and panicking, and when I would get close to the school, I'd start shaking and feel sick, dizzy and hyperventilate and so my dad had to take me home. It happened several times, sometimes I'd feel so sick I wouldn't want to eat etc. It got pretty bad and I didn't even tell my parents, I dunno why. But I just kept telling myself to get over it and go there, so I did. It toned down later on and I was okay, but I changed schools anyway. I didn't have any panic attacks ever since, and I'm glad. It must've been some 'teenage' thing for me I don't know. Lol, this was quite a long comment, but I thought I'd share my stories since you shared yours. I'm glad yours are getting better and good for you that you went on the London Eye! I used to be scared of heights a lot, but that's a different story, I always try to overcome my fears in a way and just get over it and I feel awesome after that. I wish I could help you more, but I'm sure you will be fine. I realized that sharing things with people helps a lot though. xxx

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  145. Hi Zoe, I'm going to be honest when I admit that I can't say I've ever experienced a panic attack or even given them much of a real thought- and in fact, I have skipped over the article when I was checking your blog before. But just yesterday, a close friend of mine told me that she was experiencing panic attacks, so I of course, had to read this. It was really insightful, and I'm definitely going to be sharing this post with her. This has really clarified things for me and I hope it does so with her as well. Thank you as always for a wonderful, well-written post. :)

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  146. This post has made me feel so much better about my panic attacks. I missed half of year 10 and nearly all of year 11, and it makes me feel 'normal' in away to know im not alone in suffering from them. I think alot more people need to understand that just because you have panic attacks doesn't mean that you aint normal. The comments on here to also make me feel alot more happier about myself and more confident to get on with life, without worrying when my next attack will be. Thank you zoe! xxxo

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  147. Thank you for this post! I've never had panic attacks so i can't imagine how scary they must be, but you're so brave for sharing this with us!
    Also, i just wanted to say that i've had some CBT on the NHS and, although it wasn't for panic attacks, it was sooo helpful for me :)
    hope you're well
    Lily xoxo

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  148. Thakyou so much for the advice.... my best friend has suffered from panic attacks for 8 years...whenever i am with her when she has one i fell really bad as i cant help. Now I can so thankyou :)
    http://daniellejadee13.blogspot.com

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  149. Such a good post. I too suffer from pretty extreme panic attacks. Seeing the amount of people who have responded to your post is amazing! I've suffered with panic attacks off and on for about ten years. I am currently going through a rough patch where my attacks have been more frequent and more intense. Driving from my house to my university is an excruciating experience, and I live about ten block from it. Grocery shopping, going to the mall, going to the gym, going to school...these are all things that have been made pretty uncomfortable for me. One thing you said that really struck a chord with me was the "filing cabinet" analogy. This is so true!! I bought a pair of riding pants a few months ago, preceded to have a horrible attack while wearing them, and now I don't like wearing them because when I do it is all I can think about. Ridiculous...I know, but it's like those of us who suffer from these attacks are trying so hard to leave the reminders and the memories of the attacks in the past that anything that reminds us of them becomes a negative thing. Another thing you talked about that really hit home was the agoraphobia. I have this secret, terrifying fear that I could become one someday. I fight so hard to force myself out of the house to do the things I must, but I am worried that one day I will be exhausted from the fight and just decide to stay home....forever. I am definitely going to check out the book you recommended. Maybe ask for it for christmas, ha.

    This has been one of the best blog posts I have ever read. To hear about someones panic attacks, especially ones that sound as bad as mine, it relieving. No one is alone dealing with this, but there are days where you have never felt more abandoned because of this anxiety. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! You are gorgeous, smart, funny, and incredibly kind and I think you are so honest and brave for sharing this. I'd love to see more posts like this!

    Thank you, Zoe.

    PS- I have a blog, Pretty Little Things. Stop by and say hi if you have an anxious moment! I'm sure I'll be right there with ya'!

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  150. thanks for this - so helpful! <3

    http://thisisenglandye.blogspot.com/

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  151. I have actually learnt so much from this post and all the comments, so just wanted to say thank you xxx

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  152. This really made me tear up a bit just because you've said everything ive been thinking. Ive suffered from anxiety since I was six so thats ten years now. Im on medication but really I dont think its doing anything for me. Im now being home schooled because the thought of school terrifies me. I just want to say a massive thankyou. I would never think someone as gorgeous and confident as you would suffer from this horrible thing. It really gives me comfort knowing that somewhere out here, someone is feeling the same things im feeling. Again thankyou.

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  153. Wow! That was so impressive and so brave from you to write this! You can be really proud of you!
    I hope for you this will end sometime...

    xxx

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  154. I could have written your post. I am 22 and have been suffering from the exact same anxieties as you since I was about 17 when my friend and I were followed by a drunk man in town at night. We had no way of getting home and it was the most awful feeling. I've gone through the same fights in my own head when I get invited out with friends, panicking and then ruining the nights (and I feel, straining friendships) because I feel so trapped and my friends just don't understand. I have had CBT and lots of counselling. The CBT helped me the most althought it was a challenge as I ddi exposure which means placing yourself in the situations that you're scared from. It didn't completely cure me but it 'took the edge off' as you could say. It's so refreshing (in a way) to hear about someone my own age, who is so NORMAL :) as I feel like a complete weirdo and so alone in my problem. Really hope the CBT helps you. Best of luck!

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  155. thank you so much for writing this. both me and my best friend suffer from panic attacks. from my experience, watching her having a panic attack is just as bad as having one myself, because i know exactly how she's feeling and it brings back awful memories.
    for a while i was having panic attack after panic attack for a good few days. i think it might have been a whole week actually. i saw doctors and a&e staff so often but, because i calmed down when i thought they were gonna make me better, they always said nothing was wrong with me and sent me home. it was horrible. i felt like i'd have to go through this forever, and that i was a burden to my parents because i'd keep them up all night and they couldn't go to work the next day, and all i could think was that maybe suicide was an option.
    i was put on really strong sleeping medication to try and get back into a regular routine so i could go back to school and that helped a lot. my attacks are a lot less frequent now but i have stupid routines from the sleeping meds, like i can't eat after 8pm or i have to go to bed before midnight, and i can't have naps during the day.
    again, thank you for writing this. to know that other people understand what i go through is just amazing. other than my family and my best friend, nobody i know has any idea about how to react to a person having a panic attack and don't understand why they have them, and i think it's fantastic that you're spreading the word to all of your followers. xx

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  156. I've only been getting them within the last couple of years, co-incidentally around the same time I went on the pill. I had a panic attack the other night at a concert. It was horrible because I'd been looking forward to it and then Mr Panic Attack comes along and ruins it :(

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  157. Hi Zoe

    Well done for broaching what is a difficult thing to admit especially to people who at first will read your blog and not understand the first thing about panic attacks. Hopefully if they've taken the time to read this post they will now have a better understanding.

    I have suffered from panic attacks and they are not pleasant AT ALL! Most of mine occur at night, which for some people who might say thats better than in the day and in public. Yes I might agree, but when it takes place it feels like morning will never arrive, what might be 10 mins or an hour of panic feels like forever when you are suffering on your own. It is very frightening and you feel totally out of control of your mind.

    I never know when one will happen, it can be out of the blue when I have nothing on my mind at all but if I sense a certain amount of stress is building up over other things then I take certain steps to alleviate any possible attacks. Relaxing my breathing, plugging into my ipod and listening to a relaxation track, I have found some on itunes that are very good. Removing any potential stressful situations, not always easy to do but if too much is happening in one day I try and change my plans around. Steer clear of alcohol or foods which have more of an impact on your body i.e. keeping you awake because of digesting them.

    These are just a few things that help me but I really feel for you guys who suffer from these things frequently and I only hope that Zoe's post can provide some helpful advice.

    Esther xxox

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  158. Thanks for taking the time to write this. I have never really understood panic attacks before but now I feel like I do (well definitely a bit more than before!) xx

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  159. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm currently watching someone extremely close to me go through something terrible that has brought on panic attacks. Although I suffer myself, not as bad as this. I may even show her this post, in the hope it helps. It has given me the knowledge to help her. Thank you so much Zoe. Be proud of yourself and what you are achieving. You sound like you handling this well and not letting it control your life. xxx

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  160. Hi Zoe! It has been a great blog this one. I don't really know if I suffer from panic attacks but I used to faint a lot of times. I remember once watching a movie in which the actors were taking drugs and I fainted. I also fainted when a friend was telling me how to do a tourniquet. She was just telling and I wasn't watching anything at that time, but just thinking about that made me feel so bad that I fainted.
    I also feel bad when I drink alcohol, the next day my hurt beats a lot faster.
    Have you noticed things like this? Have you ever fainted because of a panic attack?

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  161. I have suffered with panic attacks from when I was a young teenager and it really affected me going to school at the time. I think people can really fail to understand but I found a brilliant book and it gave my coping strategies for when I did have panic. I am still a pretty anxious person and I guess I am going to have to accept that but it is nice to feel like I am in control now and that anxiety isn't taking over my life.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, it means a lot to me when I can identify with other people and realise I am not alone.

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  162. Hey, I'm a girl from Belgium (sorry if my english is bad). I've been following your posts on youtube and blog for a while now and I just love the way you are, as a person. You seem so confident and certainly not insecure! It surprised me to see you also suffer from panic attacks. Like a lot of people here, I suffer from them too. It completely changed the way I am. It's very hard to cope with... Your advice on what to do and what not to do is so helpfull for a lot of people. I think of it the exact same way.

    My biggest problem is that my panic attacks got more and more severe. First I had them when I had to take the bus. Then any public transportation didn't go well. Then when I went to café's or bars, cinéma, school, ... AND THEN it got so bad I even had them in my bed before I went to sleep... I thought to myself, now I don't have any place were I can feel safe, not even home.. I almost got into a depression because of that, it was so awfull. And people, the best advice for you, if you get in a situation like me, just try to make a 'click' in your head. It's NOT going to kill you, it's just in your head, YOU are the only one who can make sure you don't get it, if you fight for it, you can beat it!

    I'm doing a lot better now, and all because of myself. I went to special doctors for this, talked to a lot of people, but most of all they don't understood, because they never had it themselves. It helps when you talk about it, then you won't feel alone. But the most important thing that can beat it is yourself. To everyone who has panic attacks: STAY BRAVE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS MAY THINK OF YOU, FEEL CONFIDENT, YOU ARE SPECIAL, YOU ARE LOVED, YOU'RE NOT ALONE, YOU CAN BEAT THIS!

    And a lot of respect for you, Zoe, for helping a lot of people and supporting them with your soothing and empowering words! There aren't enough people like you on the world!

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  163. So great you share this:) Happily enough I'm not suffering panick attacks but I can totally imagine how it feels of panicking and losing control over you own body. I had a robbery training lately (I work in a supermarket and last months supermarkets are robbed more and more in the area where I live). We had a roleplaying game and I was choosen to be the victim, the trainers were playing the robbers. I couldn't see them, only hear them and had to obey their orders. Unless you know it's a training, your body reacts in a different way than expect. My breath went faster and faster and even my collegues told me they could see the fear in my eyes: again, it was a training!

    So I may not suffer panick attacks, but it's nice to read how you can control the panicking.

    Xx Jorien

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  164. This really moved me, I almost cried. It's such a relief to realise that you aren't alone. I started having panic attacks a few years ago because of a relationship I had with a friend and as a result of the way I was treated by them I now have panic attacks during confrontation, paticularly over text and when any plans clash or if I'm going to be in a situation where I'll be sleeping over somewhere. I also have them when I'm with people that I don't feel "safe" around. They are horrible and I don't think people understand just how horrible and traumatic they are.
    I completely identify and sympathise with your house party story, it sounded horrific. Recently, I was at a house party and I actually had to get my brother to pick me up, there were so many people that I felt unsafe around and who I felt were judging me and a girl jumped out of a second storey window breaking her hip. Now I just can't face the thought of being in that situation again, I literally can't at least not for now. Thankyou so much for making me feel like there are people like me out there, and explaining it for others.

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  165. I suffer with anxiety and panic attacks as well. I know how frustrating it is to deal with.. many friendships have been lost due to people not understanding how bad it effects me. Because people think that I am just avoiding them or I do not care. I havent been to the movies in years because i dont like to be confined to watch it, I do not even like going to the hair dressers more than once a year because i do not like being confined in a chair incase i have to go due to a panic attack. Its embarrassing and most of all frustrating!!!
    I have been trying to get better with it and im the same as you with taking my own car or going with people that understand my situation.
    The few things that have helped me are ive been taking magnesium supplement. I read somewhere that magnesium is a natural calming supplement and It has been helping me to relax alot.
    And also thank you for this its good too know that we are all not alone in this and we can also support each other because like you said if you have never had a panic attack then you have no idea!

    Thanks!!

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  166. I can completely sympathise with you on this subject. I have suffered with panic attacks in the past but luckily haven't had one for a few years now. My 'trigger' as I like to call it was when I went to work or when I saw a certain person. I was threatened my a colleague at work and he made my life hell, he made me do things I didnt want to do and told me he would hurt me if I didnt. I was too scared to stand up to him so did the things he told me to and suffered with panic attacks straight after. Eventually it got so bad that I would have regular panic attacks on my way to work on the days that I knew he would be there and I would also have a panic attack as soon as I saw him. Eventually I decided enough was enough and told my manager what this person had been making me do and he was sacked. The panic attacks didnt stop though... Just a few weeks after this person was sacked a french customer kept giving me bother, following me around the shop and asking me to meet him after work saying he would be waiting for me in the car park. I had to lie about what time I was finishing to trick him in to getting there too late and at a time I would have already left. It got to the point where my till at work had to be 'guarded' by security while the customer was in the shop cos he just wouldnt leave me alone. The manager said he would ban the customer from the shop but senior management wouldnt let him as he was a very big customer and spent alot of money with the company. Eventually it got so bad (his car being there every time I left work and me having to be escorted to the bus stop or getting a lift home) that I left my job and thankfully the panic attacks stopped. One little bit of advice... brown paper bags! I carried them every where with me when I suffered from the attacks and as soon as I felt one coming on I would breathe into the bag and it would help regulate my breathing and calm me down. If you stuggle to find a shop that sell brown paper bags try your local supermarket, they usually have them in the fruit and veg section to put the mushrooms in! Thats where I got mine from because I couldnt find any anywhere else! I just want to say thank you to Zoella for writing this post and for explaining panic attacks in more detail for the people who perhaps didnt know how serious panic attacks actually are. My thoughts are with anybody who currently suffers from panic attacks. I would also just like to say that I absolutely love your blog Zoella! I find it so informative yet fun and you seem like a really lovely person! x

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  167. This was a really great post! I can really relate to a lot of it. I don't think I will ever forget my first panic attack, that was the worst fifteen minutes of my life, I thought I was having a heart attack or something. My heart was pounding so fast that my entire torso was shaking violently. I couldn't even comprehend what was going on, and my friend was just looking at me like I was losing my mind. I kind of thought that I was.
    What you were saying about similar situations having the same effect is definitely true for me. That was almost four years ago, I think, and now I can't do a lot of things I used to do with my friends simply because I'm scared to death I'll end up feeling that way again. It's happened so many times.

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  168. I commend you for writing this post, it was very brave and inspiring. Thank you for the information, I think I will look into hypnotherapy now since I also get anxiety when people get sick around me. Please do update if you do try CBT or hypnotherapy yourself. It is definitely nice to know there are others out there as well.

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  169. How wonderful for you to share and post about this! Hugs and much appreciation for bringing awareness to this issue. I have been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and have been medicated for it in the past. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I was able to go off of Lexapro and I haven't had a panic attack in about a year! I love that someone as glam as yourself would write about this to let us all know we're not alone and help remove the stigma. Thanks, Zoe!

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  170. You're amazing person Zoe. You have really big heart and I'm sure that many people who read this post will feel so much better. If you suffer from any kind of illness, it's very important to have somebody who understand you without any words. Who are near you all the time and take care of you. I don't have panic attacs but I suffer from migraine for more than 2 years. Tomorrow I have to visit neurologist because I have horrible headache for more than 3 weeks now. All the time, each day. Two weeks ago I woke up at 3 am and I have problem even with open my eyes. The pain was so hard. It was horrible because I'm living with my own. I had to go to the pharmacy and bought some pills. It was 3 am, I live in big city and I was scared. Seriously scared. I took a taxi and I went to the city centre. The guy who drive a taxi told me that his friend's daughter had migraine too and all doctors were sure that she has headache because of stress (the same as in my case) and then she went to neurologist. He disovered that she has a brain cancer. She started treatment and now she is healthy. But I'm very nervous right now.

    Don't think you are worst because of your pannic atacks! You should be proud of yourself that you try fight with it :) Many of my friends don't understand that sometimes I can't go with them to the pub or somewhere. They think that headache is nothing bad and one pill will help. One day I took 18 pills and what? Nothing. People should understand that many of us have very serious problems and sometimes we don't have enough power to fight with them. Take care of yourself Zoe :) You're the best :)

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  171. i rarely suffer from panick attacks. but i do have axiety. i know exactly how you feel about set times and rushing places. i usually leave to get somewhere that gives me a bit of extra time to relax, but if i get somewhere too early i'll get anxious waiting around. i get anxious walking to class, before work, before bed if i stay up too late, and in social situations. i hate going to crowded places alone. when people question my decisions that are affected by my anxiety, it makes me more anxious. like you said, the best thing a person can do if a friend or someone is having a panick attack or anxiety is to be there and be quiet. things don't have to make sense at that moment.

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  172. this is a great story..thanks for sharing!


    http://www.shellzdoll.com/

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  173. thanks zoe!! my friend suffers from panic attacks and i had never really understood them until i read this. thank you for sharing so much and putting this out there :)

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  174. This was so helpful thank you! x

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  175. Thanks so much for posting this. I did have panic attack before.

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  176. you explained it so well girl. I've also had panic attacks for about 10 years now. They used to be worse a couple of years ago though. I almost couldn't get out of the house. I thought I'd go crazy. And I was angry with myself for letting this anxiety take control over me.
    What helped me was doing sports (cardio) even if I hate it :) and I read a lot about it. And what, in my opinion, is the most effective thing is just to FACE the "scary" situations. I hated travelling by bus, train etc. I just went there nevertheless and even if I was sweating and shaking all the way, in the end I was glad I made it without fainting :) I'm facing anxiety everyday but I won't let it control me anymore. Ask yourself "what is the most horrible thing that could happen?" When you answer this, you'll see that the answer would be pretty unrealistic.
    Anyway, thanks for posting it. It's nice to see that I'm not the only one in the world who's suffering from it.

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  177. Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm sure this post can be helpful for a lot of people. A lot of people I heard talking about their anxiety disorder (I study psychology) said they still get panic attacks after psychotherapy for example. So for them it wasn't really about stopping the attacks but trying to identify signs that preluded the attack and being able to bear the attack. I really recommened seeing a professional (either psychologist or psychiatrist). I don't know much about the British medical system but in Germany your general doctor usually isn't trained for these things. CBT is known to have good effects when treating anxiety disorders like panic attacks. I wish you all the best!

    Lini X

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  178. At the moment I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety and I hate it because I feel like it's ruining my life, reading this has made me realize I'm not the only one out there. When you were talking about not going out places because of the dread you feel in case you panic, I feel the exact same way and I try to tell myself I will be okay but I do find it really hard to control myself. I don't think many people understand what it's like to suffer with anxiety or panic but this blog post has really covered everything to it. Thank you so much Zoe, you have gave me hope and I will definitely show this post to the people closest to me so they know how I feel, you couldn't of worded it better, thank you :)

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  179. Well done for raising awareness of this! I don't suffer from panic attacks personally, but know others that do and I know they get so embarrassed. But it's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, we can't always control our own bodies. xx

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  180. Hey Zoe, I have also suffered panic attacks for a long time (10 years) which started around a sick phobia when i was 11. I then associated eating with being sick with panic so stopped eating. Cue lots of people thinking i was anorexic etc etc. I missed a lot of school but was very proud of myself for managing to stay in the exam hall for all my exams. However, during sixth form i took a turn for the worse and was literally having panic attack after panic attack throughout the day and wouldn't leave the house. It was especially terrible as home had been my haven, safe from anxiety for so long and now that was being infiltrated too. It all felt very unfair. I then as a result of all the other shit became depressed. 4 years on from that i am now at college and can do all the things i never could do previously (stay over at friend's houses, go to the cinema, go on holiday etc) and although i've still got a long way to go i look back at how ill i was and can't believe how far i've come. I wanted to tell you briefly about how i experienced anxiety as you bravely shared your story with us. I wish people would be more understanding but shit happens. Lots of love xxxx

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  181. I had my first panic attack a day before starting my final year of uni, as i'd never had one before I thought I was having a heart attack and literally forced my parents to call an ambulance!
    It sounds so silly now but I thought I was dying, and since that is one of my greatest fears it made the whole experience so much worse! Since then i've seen my GP who was VERY patronising and told me to breathe deeply next time.
    Your story is relevant to a lot of panic attack suffers and im sure a lot of them found it as comforting and helpful as I did!

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  182. Zoe, i sat and read this post this morning (and made myself 5 minutes late for work - but i just couldnt stop reading) and felt so emotional about it all, yet really comforted that someone else out there suffers the EXACT same things as me. Everything you explained, i have. And i have had since i can remember. I just agree with every word you said.. And as for the sick phobia? I also have developed the fear of anyone being sick around me, therefore i try to avoid nights out (as sad as it sounds).

    Such a lovely and helpful post - i really do think more needs to be done to raise awareness of this issue as many girls suffer in silence with this. I hate how the term 'panic attack' is thrown around with little meaning (for example when people say theyve had a panic attack over something in a jokey way...i don't find it funny whatsoever).. if they knew what it was like.. truth is, nobody can really understand truely how it feels unless they've suffered with them personally.

    I've recently done a little "how to survive a panic attack post" - so seeing yours pop up on my reading list really cheered me up - there really does need to be more help out there!

    Theres also a really good book called "Essential help for your nerves" (helped me no end through my exams) and i know Peter Andre is on Peirs Morgan's life stories this coming Saturday and he talks openly about his panic attacks :) So ill definitely be watching that :)


    Honestly, thankyou for such a lovely post, it's really good to know i'm not the only one.. and it's made my day that you've spoken so openly about it.
    (and well done for your trip on the London Eye - i can imagine that took some willpower getting on there!)

    Beth
    xxx

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  183. Thanks for this, it was so brave of you to do this, inspired me to make a video! I have finally overcome my panic attacks about being sick at school...It was awful,one I was so upset i hit my parent when they tried to get me to go to the bus stop, htats when I had to sort myself out. what I found helped me was thinking to myself im only bringing more attention to myself by crying, hyperventilating ect. Im now going in year 10 without having attack in over a year :) xxx

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  184. What a well written post, Zoe. Emotional, thought-provoking and informative.

    I have suffered from panic attacks for a few years now, it came with a second bout of depression and took me by surprise. I was convinced people were watching me and judging me, which like you said, made things 100 times worse.

    It's so very hard to describe to people, that feeling where you actually think you are dying. You genuinely don't think it's going to stop and that you just won't be able to breathe normally again.

    Personally, I find when I am "down" I am more prone to them and I haven't had a "proper" one for quite some time now, although I certainly have a had a few mini ones.

    As for the Doctors and the NHS I have to agree with you. I actually wrote about my experiences with the NHS here - http://www.oh-panda.com/2011/07/antidepressants.html

    Don't go private straight away. Go back to the doctors and tell them you want CBT, don't be afraid to tell them what you want and why. You can always request to see a different doctor. In my case it wasn't until I found the right doctor that medication and therapy was really discussed properly. I was actually recommended that book too, but I was too afraid to read it. I know that sounds ridiculous but I was scared it would make things real and actually bring on a panic attack, y'know,kinda facing your fears. I may give it a go now though, I am in a better state of mind than I was before.

    I have posted personal posts numerous times on my blog and I am aware of how much courage this must have taken to post, but it is worth it, not only for therapy for yourself but because it will, has, helped others.

    Well done and thank you, Zoe :)

    Rebecca xx

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  185. thank you so much for this post zoe. i, personally, am not somebody who suffers from panic attacks but i do suffer from quite bad anxiety and paranoia and whilst that is not exactly the same, it can stress me out and make me turn down doing things i want to do because i don't think i can handle it. however hearing about how incredibly brave you are and what you go through is so inspirational and reminds me that i am not alone (something that i was very worried about before) and makes me feel so much better. thanks again :) XXX

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  186. You are amazing and truly an inspiration<3

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  187. Wow, I loved this! I suffer from panic attacks myself, for the last 4years or so and reading this post was seriously like hearing my own thoughts. You summed up exactly how I feel so superbly.It feels amazing to read this and all the other comments and know that I am not the only one because I often feel like my attacks make me 'different' or 'weird'! But we are not alone, and we are normal!

    My best tips would be, like you mentioned...stay in the present! If you are feeling panicky about going on a bus days before the trip(like I always do) remind yourself that you are ok NOW! Do this all the way through the trip and you will be find!

    Get out of your head and into your body. When panicking concentrate on your breath or on different body parts.

    Be aware of what is happening and know that it will pass. Say 'my heart is racing, but its ok, im just feeling a bit panicked and it will pass, Im not going to die.'

    Feel the fear and do it anyway!

    Never be disappointed in yourself if you panic and it forces you not to be able to do something, be kind to yourself and it will help you feel better!!

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  188. Thank you for posting this, I can relate on so many levels, its so comforting to know someone else out there feels similar to how i feel at times. I know we will get over this "anxiety phase" and it will soon be just a bad memory which shaped us into much stronger women! xox

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  189. i get anxiety attacks (i have social anxiety disorder), which are less intense than panic attacks, but i still do experience some of the same symptoms. i take citalopram for it and it helps a lot. it's an antidepressant, but curbs anxiety/panic, because that often brings on depression. what brings it on for me are busy days at work when i'm the only one there (i'm afraid a customer will think i'm going too slow and yell at me), meeting new people, trying new, unfamiliar things and driving (i literally CANNOT drive, and i'm 21). driving is the one thiong that brings on a full blown panic attack. i get a feeling like something is going to happen and i will die or be the cuse of someone else dying; my brain feels like it's sliding down my head like soup. it's such a weird feeling. i hate it. and people think i choose it. they think i'd rather not be able to jump in a car and come and go as i please. i've even been accused of being lazy. i hate having to bike everywhere in december, and i get so angry when i think how if i could drive, an errand would take 20 minutes, but since i have to bike, one errand becomes a whole day event. i get nothing done unless i rely on my mum at 21 years old.
    i've gotten an anxiety attack at a party too. i was 19 and my friend was graduating, so his sister threw him a party (small kickback really). there was alcohol and hookah, which were fine to me, but then his sister (who is also a mother) came out of the room and busted out a bag of cocaine. i freaked out beyond belief, but it was an internal attack. no one knew i was panicking. i got up and just walked all the way home, i was so freaked out that i was around people who were into that.
    this post has got me thinking maybe i should see a therapist or a psychiatrist and really get my feelings out to a professional.
    you should look into that too, zoe :)

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  190. Zoe, thank you! This has really helped me. I had 2 panic attacks a few months back while I was on a trial for an apprenticeship. Unfortunately, because I had 2 panic attacks within the space on an hour, they refused to take me on and sent me home. I had one panic attack when it was my first day starting at my college, it lasted not for long but it was very scary. So, thank you for this, I have been waiting for someone to write about it, just so I could understand it a little more. Thanks, Zoe, you are truly a star!

    Natalie xx

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  191. Reading this is so weird, as mine started in pretty much exactly the same way...and I also know, as a person who has panic attacks and anxiety, that it must be really hard telling the world about them. I don't tell anyone, because I don't want it to define me, but this makes things a lot harder.

    I think it's brilliant that you managed to get on the London Eye!! :D It's most definitely one of the best ways to try to deal with it - try not to let it stop you in any way. I try to think that the worst that can happen is I'm going to pass out or throw up in front of a massive load of people...and try to remember that there are people who have to deal with a lot worse than that in life.

    There are times when I don't feel so bad and then others where it comes back with a vengance and I have absolutely zero tolerance or energy.

    Thank you for such an honest post - I really do think you're amazing and to see a really successful blogger such as yourself talking about your struggle is pretty inspirational...

    <3 xxx

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  192. Hey Buddy are looking for young people aged 16 -- 25 who suffer from Anxiety for a BBC3 documentary. Please contact : Fayola@heybuddytv.co.uk
    or call the office on 0207 502 5653. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider being involved we can really help to shed some light on this condition.

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  193. I have a close friend who suffers from panic attacks/anxiety and Have sent her a link to this post. Thank you. CJW x

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  194. oh my gosh this post is so useful!i have a huge phobia of being sick and others being sick. I was at a wedding a couple of weeks ago and a girl on my table kept complaining she felt sick and it was making me so nervous I suddenly became overwelmed by a feeling of panic and i had to go to the bathroom to calm down. i've never had panic attack but i think i'm close to having one, its horrible :(

    <3

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  195. Such a well written post. I dont suffer myself with panic attacks but I have friends that do. Reading this has given me more of an insight to what they go through and how I can help if I am there with them when an attack hits.

    xx

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