All About Luci...
My journey on the road to agoraphobia began in 1972 when I experienced my first panic attack at the age of 17. I was at a party, at a friend's house, with a lot of other people. All of a sudden, I began to feel extremely warm and became very aware of my own heartbeat. "Much too fast," I thought, as I felt my heart racing. Since this was the early 70's, my first thought was that someone "spiked" the punch with a hallucinogen of some kind.
That started a chain of thoughts that terrified me and all I knew was that I had to get out of there fast. I got in my car and drove the 10 miles or so home, hyperventilating all the way. Once I got home, I woke my mother (who was a Registered Nurse) and insisted she take my pulse. I couldn't stop shaking and made her sit by my bed with me for the rest of the night.
So the journey began...
Initially, my panic attacks were isolated instances, few and far between. They accelerated in my early 20's after my marriage and subsequent pregnancy. I finally sought out medical help, making almost weekly trips to my doctor. He was stumped; this was not a common occurrence during this time and he had no professional experience with panic attacks. He ran test after test, only to reach the conclusion that I was the "healthiest sick person" he knew.
Throughout my 20's, as my panic attacks became more frequent and more severe, I sought psychiatric help. My thought was if it wasn't a physiological malady, I must be losing my mind. I began to take the my MD had prescribed whenever I had a panic attack; sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't. I usually managed to knock myself out for a few hours anyway.
During this time, my marriage collapsed and I became more and more limited territorially. I was able to hide this from my family (with the exception of my mother) by begging off family functions with excuse-after-excuse. I still managed to function at work for the most part, but my "comfort zone" was shrinking rapidly. I went from therapist to therapist, looking for answers. Opinions ranged from "stress" to "post-divorce trauma" to "hyper-sensitivity." I spent hundreds of hours talking about my childhood, my marriage, my traumatic pregnancy-everything but what was really bothering me. And the panic attacks continued...
Finally, in April of 1986, I was fired from my job due to my habit of racing out the door whenever a panic attack struck. I left work that day and became officially house-bound.
During the first months of this period, I was in full-blown panic 80% of the time. I became obsessed with the "why" of it all, thinking that if I could figure that out, I'd have it licked.
Finally, in September of 1986, I made contact with a TERRAP therapist, who not only knew what was wrong with me, but knew how to fix it. That was a banner day in my life, to finally have someone that understood and could help.
Since that time, I've made progress in my recovery. I have tried different methods and sought out different types of help. My territory has expanded somewhat, and I am no longer socially phobic. Through much reading and research, I've learned how to "control" my panic attacks with proper breathing techniques, positive self-talk and relaxation. And I'm constantly learning, even though I thought I knew everything there was to know about this condition.
I'll be embarking on a new recovery program in the coming months, one I have much hope for. I'll keep you informed... wish me luck!
next: Agoraphobia: What the Heck Is It???
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Staff, H. (2007, February 20). All About Luci..., HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/all-about-luci