I've never posted here before.
((((Alice)))) I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time with anxiety and panic right now. You are not losing it. Those times when you feel like you're someone else, or that you're not exactly in your body have a name. It's called dissociation. It's a defense mechanism that your body employs when you become over stimulated, causing that out of body feeling. There are varying degrees of dissociation, but all can be helped with "grounding" techniques, which a therapist would be able to help you with.
Your fear of having another attack is a common one among anxiety and panic sufferers. They're scary, so we come to dread them. The physical symptoms you are describing sound a lot like classic anxiety. The best treatment for anxiety is a combination of medication and therapy. I would suggest that you find a therapist to help work through the anxiety and help you learn how to cope with it. Cognitive behavioral therapy is especially helpful to anxiety sufferers, so I would suggest finding a therapist who is experienced in it.
In the mean time, we're here to answer questions and offer whatever support we can. Just know that you are not alone in this and it is possible to get to the other side of this.
So I finally went to my psychiatrist yesterday.
I'm curious as to why you want to try this without medication? I'm not scoffing, I don't use medication, but wonder why you're not willing to try it?
Well, now, the color of your hair is life long. You can change it, color it, style it, but it's still your hair. Some days it will be fantastic & other times you will not be able to get your hair to cooperate. But you accept it is your hair, right?
Yes, anxiety is part of you, it will be with you for the rest of your life, but how it treats you is how you treat it. Right now you're having a 'bad anxiety (hair) day.' It's not cooperating with you. Yes stress levels can change this, but it's not just the stress. I bet with all the stress you've been going through you've started to live with a poor diet & exercise. Not to mention your age & hormones, yes, hormones can play a good role in anxiety. My anxiety came with my menses & though I don't want to rush my life away, I'm secretly excited for the day those things are gone.
I believe a therapist is going to be able to teach you a lot of techniques to help you put your anxiety back where it was a few years ago. There are so many options of things to help get you in a more relaxed state as well. There is yoga, meditation, a day at the spa, running, bicycling, playing in the park with some friends, sunshine (well, maybe not during a heat wave), etc.
I think what it comes down to are the following:
1. Learn to accept your past & stop living there.I don't remember where I got this quote, but it has really helped me, "The definition of forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past."
2. Learn to understand you cannot control your future, you can plan for what you want, but realize life throws curve balls. Be willing to work with the changes in your life & make these changes work for you.
3. Treat yourself right with diet, exercise & free time. I tell my kids all the time.' There is only one person who is going to be there to see all of your successes & be there every single time you fall. So treat this person with the utmost respect. Love this person because it will be the only person you can count on every single day of your life. This person should be your best friend. This person is you.' (It also helps to believe you're not dying if you're treating yourself right.)
4. Accept anxiety is part of your genetic make up. It doesn't have to control your life, you can live with it in harmony. Sounds unbelievable, I know, but as you learn the techniques you'll see. Sometimes, as you've said, when you're low it is hard to keep it in its place, but you'll get back up again, dust off those knees & put anxiety back where it belongs.
5. Learn to relax & enjoy the moment, here in the present.
I wish you peace & I hope you mesh with your therapist well. Hopefully by summer's end you'll be full of life & vigor once again.