Monday, 28 January 2008

Regular Panic and Medication

This is my family -Mum, Brother Derek, Dad, Brother Joseph and Me celebrating my dads 50th.

The day after my first panic attack i woke up with my mum popping her head into my bedroom and telling me she was going out to visit one of her friends. I felt ok for about 5 minutes then suddenly the feelings i had the night before came back just as strongly and just as terrifying. I had quickly forgotten just how awful it was and realisation that it was happening again was too much for me to cope with.
I threw on my clothes and ran to my mums friends as quickly as i could. This time i knew it was a panic attack but it didnt make it any easier for me to deal with.

Over the next few weeks the panic attacks came thick and fast. My life changed. When i was suffering with anxiety i wouldn't go out. I was completely dependant on my family to look after me. I didn't want to be left alone and i phoned my doctor regularly. I still remember this period so vividly. My panic would build and at it's peak it would be so intense i would fear i was going to lose control. My boyfriend or my mum would be with me at these times and i was tell them to talk to me, to distract me as that was the only way i found i could get myself back down.

My doctor decided it was time for me to try some medication to deal with things. I had always been sceptical about the use of anti depressants. Like most people i had heard horror stories and how you could become addicted but when my doctor offered me Seroxat (paroxetine) i was more than happy to try anything if it would make me feel better.

The doctor told me that the first week on the drug would be the hardest. My body wouldnt be used to it so there was a chance i could feel unwell and even the chance that my panic attacks could get worse....and wow was he right.

It was a living nightmare. I couldn't eat, i couldn't sleep. I felt like i was having a 24 hour panic attack. I was vomiting, sweating it was horrendous. I called my doctor constantly! It was probably verging on harrassment! I needed to know if what i was going through was normal. I was always needing the reasurrance that i was ok, that this would pass. The panic attacks i had at this time were the worst i ever had and the memory of those nights are the ones that will stay with me forever. Maybe i was wrong to keep taking the tablets? As far as i was concerned this medication would help me and after that initial week i never had anymore problems.

I have since heard a lot of horror stories about Seroxat. People being extremely addicted, people whose symptoms have gotten worse because of the drug, or people who experience suicidal thoughts because of them but i can honestly say that Seroxat hasn't given me any of these problems in 8 years (touch wood). All i can say is, i have no idea how i would have coped with my anxiety without medication as i was basically put on it as soon as my problems started.

However, Seroxat leaves me with new worries. Have i been on the drug so long that they no longer work? Worse still.. How bad is it going to be when i need to stop taking them?