- 5 years ago
- Wedding: June 2013
I am a regular poster, but this subject is just so painful for me, that I went anonymous. I realize that I need the help of a mental health professional, but just sharing what has been going on and asking for advice will really help.
Ever since I can remember, I have had anxiety. (I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression at a young age.) I thought- or maybe rather convinced myself- that even though for awhile I have been having panic attacks and horrific anxiety, that I was doing okay- because that was normal for me. Partially, I guess I convinced myself because I have a non related chronic health condition and crappy insurance, so I feel kinda overwhelmed just with that.
Recently I have realized that I am not okay. For awhile, I have been having so so many panic attacks. Specifically, I get panic attacks if I am alone in an open area, such as crossing a street, walking up stairs, escalators, being in the middle of a grassy area with no buildings, etc.
For a little background, when I was between the ages of 18 and 23 I went through intensely traumatic experiences in my family life. The short synopsis is that my mother became sick and disabled due to a rare brain condition. During this time, she and my father split up. Basically, he just left, even though she couldn’t work and was having increasingly troubling symptoms. I don’t have a great relationship with him (and I was just out of high school). I felt alone in trying to help her, even when I was away at college. It took a huge toll on me. She had to move out of our home, which was sold, and move in with relatives. She went about applying for disability, but it takes so long. She was broke, had to go on food stamps, my parents had a huge fight about paying my tuition during their divorce and I had to leave school… It was a horrible, horrible time. Eventually, my mom had brain surgery (which saved her life), but she has struggled with emotional instability as a result of brain trauma. They officially got divorced 2 years ago, after years of being seperated.
In the meantime, after taking time off school (during which I met my FI), I transferred to a different university last spring. I am set to graduate in May. I have been having a rough time due to the chronic health condition I have. (I have posted about it before on my real username, so I hope you don’t mind if I am vague.) That alone has affected my schoolwork, but I have tried so hard to persevere. This week, I don’t know what happened. I had massive panic attacks getting to and from class on the quad of my university and had to call my fiance to pick me up. I was so paralyzed I couldn’t even move. Suddenly, I keep thinking about all the hard stuff I internalized for so long. I know I have had panic attacks in these situations because from those events ongoing for so long, I felt a huge loss of control, and it is continuing to manifest itself in the form of agoraphobia.
In researching today, I came across an article on agoraphobia. I am positive I have it- and have had it for awhile. I never considered it- I guess because I always thought of an agoraphobic as someone who is terrified of being outside the house, or being with other people, but as I read it, it is about having a phobia about a situation outside your home which has triggered panic attacks- which has been going on for me for years. There are certain things I flat out refuse to do, even if my fiance is with me. Other things I am okay with if he is there. But obviously, it has really affected me on a daily basis.
Right now I am so shaken and freaked out, and worried that I won’t be able to graduate because I am constantly missing classes. At the moment, I can’t say I will be able to handle going to classes soon, or giving presentations, or whatever. But I don’t want to fail my classes when I have less than two months remaining in my semester. My only thought is to go to my advisor, frankly tell him what is going on, and see what he suggests. The idea of going to someone I don’t know well (although I did great in the 3 classes I had with him) terrifies me. I don’t feel strong enough to do it… but what choice do I have? It would honestly be my absolute worst nightmare if I didn’t graduate.
If you have any thoughts, advice, or kind words, I really need them. If you read this far, you are a saint.