Eventually I was no longer able to hide the panic attacks from anyone. I suppose that running into your room sobbing three to four times a day can begin to look a bit suspicious. Although I had hoped for some answers and a bit of understanding, that wasn’t exactly the response that I ended up getting.
A majority of the time I was being met with voices of criticism and judgement of why I wasn’t strong enough to just get over it. I wished that I had the will to “just get over it,” but I never seemed strong enough. A majority of the time I was left sitting there wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Why couldn’t I stop crying, and why was it so damn hard to just walk out of the house.
The time came for my first real doctors appointment.
As I was walking out of the house into the garage, it was as if I hit a barrier and I wasn’t able to control my extreme fear and flooding emotions anymore. I broke down, crying, and pleading to not have to leave. But, I had no choice, I had to go. Of course this sort of reaction was met with anger, probably resulting from a lack of understanding on my grandparents parts, and it resulted in a very quiet and awkward drive across town.
By the time we arrived at the doctor’s office I had calmed down a little bit, but that didn’t last long. I rushed into the doctor’s office and quickly found a seat in the furthest corner. I could feel the panic starting to rise and another panic attack reared it’s ugly head.
Somehow I was able to convince the woman at the front desk that I needed to be taken back into an examination room. There was a lot of resistance at first but I think the tears and hyperventilating helped prove my case. My physician came out and told me to come back and sit in a quiet room. He sat there and watched me work through my panic attack, trying to keep me from hyperventilating. Once I finally started to calm down again he smiled and said “well, it looks like you had yourself a panic attack.” At the time I had no idea what that was. But once he explained the symptoms and the typical progression of a panic attack I realized that it was what has been happening for the last few months.
After I was prescribed my first anti-anxiety medications it was recommended that I begin talk therapy. There was an air of resistance by people involved, but we found out that there was a therapist downtown that would be open to working with me.
What a horror show that ended up being.
When I got there for my very first appointment, my medication hadn’t quite started kicking in and the anxiety was still sitting just below the surface, waiting to show it’s ugly face again. The sight that I walked in was a girl that appeared to very ill, I believe she may have been severely anorexic, and another gentleman sitting over in the corner of the waiting room slowly rocking back and forth and tapping his head against the wall.
I am the last person that would judge another based on their exterior, but the combination of the anxiety and the people sitting around me didn’t sit very well. I just found myself thinking “this isn’t me, I’m not like these people, I need to get out of here, I can’t be here, I want to go.” After only one visit I made it very clear that I wasn’t going back to that office, I just didn’t have the capability to handle it at the time.
Thankfully we were made aware of a therapist that would come to my high school and speak with several students during the week. I was able to get myself an appointment with him, and we began our twice weekly talk therapy sessions. At our first appointment we talked about our family situation and the things that were getting me down and what might be causing me to feel anxious. I explained to the therapist about the first panic attack I could remember having. Sitting in my English class, a cramped, brick-built, windowless box. Suddenly his eyes lit up and he suggested that we go for a little walk. My eyes got huge and I was very resistant. While classes were in session we walked slowly and made our way to the hallway that had those horrible classrooms. As we came close to that one specific room, I could feel my heart start racing, my palms getting sweaty, and my vision getting blurry. He had me stand there for a little while. I could feel the panic attack growing quickly, and I had to move to get myself out of that hallway.
Afraid of a hallway? I mean come on.