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p5000's avatar

Suffering from severe panic disorder and derealization disorder. Can anybody relate?

Asked by p5000 (22points) March 6th, 2011

Hey people, heres a brief summary of my story. Im a 27 yr old male, who suffers from a severe panic disorder, derealization disorder for the past 11 years, ocd, and Im beginning to get agoraphobia. I know the main reasons why i have all these disorders for the most part, when i was younger ive been through alot of psychological and physical trauma. In my teenage years i smoked weed a little bit, (one of my biggest regrets) tried e pills a couple times (another one of my biggest regrets), and drank alcohol alot. The weed and pills are definitely the main reason for all this i believe, cause the reactions i used to get off of these were never like what my friends were feeling. Mine were always terrible and scary. It was hell and i dont really want to get into that but im pretty sure i am like this because all those things from when i was younger.

My main concern is that Im having a baby boy soon, he’s due in a couple of months and Im terrified that I wont be able to be the best father i can be because of all these disorders. Im a barber and have been in the same barbershop since I was 16, my clientele book is big, so Im crazy busy and stressed all the time. Ive never ever had panic attacks at the job but since the holidays Ive been getting the worst panic attacks ever throughout the day and certain clients are starting to become my triggers for the attacks, also attacks when its really busy. So lately I have been cutting hair out of my house cause Im afraid to go back to work. I cant go back to my psychologist anymore cause shes far from me and I have panic attacks as Im driving (keep thinking Im going to pass out for some reason). So I only drive within my comfort zone. Unless im with somebody im ok. She keeps telling me to get on medicine but Im really trying not too as Im afraid of any drug form. I had a bad attack the other night and went to the ER, the doctor prescribed me zoloft but i never took it. Yesterday i just found out what derealization and dp was, and Ive had it for years, so it just became normal to me, I never really researched it. I know the dr and dp sometimes make me have panic attacks because things look funny and hazy all the times, people who have it know what Im talking about. No one understands me even the doctors. All i can do is keep praying that i get better.

But Im sorry for talking your ears off, I really just dont know what to do anymore. Will this DR DP stuff ever go away? and If anybody has children and are sufferers any advice would be appreciated. I was going buy a house and a barbershop this summer, but thats not gonna happen and Im having a child. Should be happy but instead Im the saddest ive ever been, always stressed out and feel so lost and alone.

Also I quit drinking months ago, no drugs in years, quit smoking cigarettes last year. And two weeks ago I cut out all caffeine and sugar and began eating really healthy, exercise daily and I have been getting pretty good sleep and I feel all my disorders are getting worse in the past month???

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9 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Looks like you need some professional help.

crisw's avatar

Stop being afraid of prescribed drugs and give them a try. If you had diabetes, would you be afraid of insulin? If you had high blood pressure, would you be afraid of amlodipine? No? This is no different.

nebule's avatar

Welcome to Fluther!

I just wanna say to start with please don’t be hard on yourself! It sounds like you’re processing a lot of stuff and taking a lot of responsibility for stuff, which is good but can make you feel bad too… don’t let that get to you. Don’t blame yourself. Piling on the guilt isn’t going to help.

Furthermore, having a child is a massive thing! I was left on my own and in a very dodgy state when I got pregnant… as a father I don’t think it should be any different, you recognise the gravity of the situation, and it’s a scary business… but you don’t need to be scared, you will deal with it just fine…even if you feel terrified all the time. The fact that you are scared means you are alive! and you will be fine xxx

Being on medication isn’t that bad and really you might need it… And don’t beat yourself up for the other drugs in the past! It sounds like you’ve put your body through a lot of giving up recently…was it all really necessary? We do need some pleasures in life xxx I’m not condoning drug dependency..I’m just not sure that that was what it was

BarnacleBill's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. This is where I’m coming from on what about to say. I’m an ardent opponent to recreational drugs. I’ve never taken any, never smoked pot or cigarettes, am a social drinker but have only been drunk twice in my life, and I’m in my early 50’s. I am also the parent of two daughters with anxiety disorders – several months ago, my daughter was in another city, and couldn’t come out of a closet for 5 hours because of a panic attack. I had to talk her out. My sister and brother are both on serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and perhaps I should be, too.

What you are going though is most likely not a result of what you did several years ago. It is however a function of your body chemistry. There is a huge difference between self-medicating and taking medication prescribed by a doctor, in the manner it is prescribed.

Call your insurance company, ask for a referral to a psychiatrist, and get a prescription for anti-anxiety medication. It will take about four weeks for it to work. You will know it’s working because you feel normal as heck. Not up, not down, just level. Your chemistry needs an adjustment. Take prescribed medication as directed, go back for follow-ups as directed. This is like being a diabetic; it’s not going to go away on its own.

Kardamom's avatar

I think you need to talk to a therapist, most likely a psychiatrist, and I think you do need to be on some sort of medication. I get that you are afraid to take any “drugs,” but the meds that you need are not recreational drugs (that may or may not have caused your current troubles, but certainly added to them) and they will be monitored by your doctor. You probably also need some talk therapy and some behavioral/cognitive therapy to teach you new ways of reacting and handling the episodes when they start (could be biofeedback, could be meditation or a combination of techniques).

I’m not sure if you have insurance, but if you have a regular primary care physician, they should be able to refer you to a psychiatrist. Even if you don’t have a PCP, the insurance company should be able to refer you to a psychiatrist within your plan.

I had several horrifying panic attacks in my youth, but luckily for me, they pretty much stopped after I removed myself from the triggers, which in my case are heights and flying in airplanes. So I can sympathize with you as to the pain and fear and horror that these attacks cause and I can’t imagine what it is like to have these happen on a regular basis. That’s why I’m highly urging you to see a doctor. I don’t think you can manage this on your own, and at least in my case the attacks didn’t go away on their own. In my case, I was able to simply keep myself out of those trigger situations. I have no need to fly or go up in tall buildings, so for me it’s a little easier to avoid the triggers. You can’t do that on your own, especially now, since you’ve started to develop agoraphobia.

When you talk to the doctor, you need to explain to them that you do have agoraphobia on top of some of the other panic attack trigger problems. So they need to find a way in which the doctor can come to you in the first place, or that they can give you some type of calming medication first, and then a friend or relative can take you to the appointment.

You didn’t say whether you were married to your on the way child’s mother, but hopefully she understands all of what you are going through. She is going to have to bear the bulk of the child-raising stuff until you are able to get to a point where you can deal with all of your anxiety troubles succesfully, otherwise I don’t think you will be in a position to be a responsible parent. That’s not to say that you won’t ever, but you need to get this anxiety under control first and you need the support of your family and the baby’s mother (to take on all of the childrearing for the time being). You can still be a part of the baby’s life, during this time of transition and healing, but it is probably best that you are not the actual care-taker or guardian until such time as you get the anxiety under control.

There have been a lot of advances in medicine over the last few years and I think you owe it to yourself and your child to try to do the best thing for yourself and your health so that you can participate in the raising of your child to the best of your ability. And like what @crisw said, if this problem were diabetes or cancer, you’d get yourself to a doctor lickety split (or at least your family would).

It sounds like you have a good skill and a plan for your business, so I hope that you are able to get some help for the anxiety and that keep moving forward with your work and your child and your family.

There’s a number of folks here on Fluther that have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks and hopefully they will chime in here with some more specific advice for you, but know that there’s always someone over here listening and Welcome to Fluther. Good luck to you : )

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Can you find a psychologist that practices within your comfort area, or can you have someone drive you to the one that’s further away?
If you can find a psychologist that practices EMDR or brainspotting? Those are really good for helping overcome trauma. Speaking of which, do you know what trauma led to all this, or is it still a mystery (you don’t have to share with us what the trauma was or anything if you don’t feel comfortable).

Would you mind telling me what it is about medication that you object to, and if it’s just psychotropic drugs, or all drugs (including Tylenol)? For the record, I hate the “diabetes” argument. It’s more of a soundbite than a logical argument.

I spent my first 20 years being depressed about 80% of the time, ⅓ of it suicidal. I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD, and suffered from panic attacks, hypervigillance, agoraphobia, and flashbacks for quite some time. I’m not “all better” now, but after lots and lots of work, I’m not only functioning but flourishing.

ette_'s avatar

I agree with what everyone has posted on here, and just wanted to add that if you do decide to start on a prescription, make sure that you have someone close to you who knows you are taking it. Sometimes our bodies will react positively or negatively to certain drugs. All SSRIs are not created equal, so it could take a couple tries with a couple different anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications to figure out which works best for you. So it’s important to have someone around you who knows that you are starting on them in the unlikely event that your behavior is adversely affected.

I am personally on Zoloft and have been since suffering from post-partum despression 4 years ago, but I think that if I had started taking it way earlier in my life when I was having severe depressive episodes, I may have been better off. I can definitely say that it helps me balance out.

tan235's avatar

hey – so welcome to my world as well!
How debilitating is it – the most annoying thing is knowing how debilitating it is but doing it anyway right?!
I have had anxiety for about 10 years, on and off – sometimes it gets really bad and I wont leave the house, I feel dizzy for days on end and just want to cry, it’s an insane thing to suffer and mainly because

tan235's avatar

I get that sometimes it’s really just an imbalance in the brain chemistry – I get that, but repetition of a certain behavior also changes the balance in our brain, so we are responsible.

So… my darling if you can figure out a way to not have this anymore – please tell me and likewise.
I think I’ve found cures only to freak out again, I just recently posted a question about anxiety.

One of the good things is though is that most people who suffer from anxiety are very caring and giving people because we understand it – so that is a positive and you’ll be an amazing father, just get yourself under control…. control yourself!

you can do it.
you can do it.
you can do it!

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