Today starts a new series for this month! My Mental Health sheds light on different Mental Health conditions and for those affected to express how it makes them feel and help people understand more about these conditions! Disclaimer: In all the posts, the questions are the same as I wanted to make sure everyone was asked the same questions.
Today’s post is all about Panic Disorder and talking about it is Lauren.
What is your mental health condition?
How did you come to find you had your condition?
I used to feel nauseous all the time, especially on the way to school. My mum took me to the doctors at 13 and they told me I was too young to be given any medication. I just thought I was nervous. I started to have full-blown panic attacks, usually triggered by exams; even in-class tests. I tried alternative therapies which did help until at 17 I had a tonsillectomy and I couldn’t stop my panic attack. I couldn’t eat and dropped to 5 and a half stone. My mum took me back to the doctors and the GP diagnosed me with Panic Disorder. I finally had an answer.
Does it affect you in your daily life? If so, how?
Now, at almost 29, it doesn’t affect my day to day life. It does affect my plans, as I do worry, “will this cause me to have a panic attack”. If I have one too many drinks on an evening out, it can cause me to have a panic attack. I’m also planning to come off my medication and I’m worried how my body will respond. And therein lies the vicious circle; worrying about worrying.
Was there a point when you got help for your condition? If so, how?
When the doctor refused to help at 13 I tried all different types of alternative therapies. Reiki really helped me, but the Reiki practitioner moved on and I didn’t feel the same results with another. I tried acupuncture, hypnosis, Bowen technique, homoeopathy, EFT. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. At 17 nothing helped and I was prescribed Citalopram. This really helped. After a couple of years, I tried to come off it and I think I didn’t do it gradually enough. At this point, I have CBT weekly for around 6 months and this showed me where my panic disorder had come from and pointed out that no one has ever died from having a panic attack.
Why do you think your condition isn’t really talked about?
Stigma. I truly believe there is still a large amount of stigma surrounding mental health. I regularly talk about mine and try to be open with friends and strangers. I find the biggest stigma lies with taking medication to help you and this really frustrates me. If I’d been prescribed medication sooner, my teen years would have been much more bearable.
Overall, why do you think there is not enough money in the NHS for people with Mental Health Conditions?
I think the priority is always the physical illness. When you can’t see an illness it’s always overlooked. I think we need to keep talking about mental health to raise its profile.
Do you have any advice for those with the same condition?
Don’t suffer in silence, find someone to talk to that you can trust. Ask for help. See your doctor. Take medication if you’re offered it. Have therapy. You don’t need to suffer and don’t take no for an answer if you can’t get help.
Any other comments?
I filmed a YouTube video about my experience, watching it may help and I also wrote about it on my blog.
If you want to follow Lauren and her journey you can follow all of her social media below: