I was very shy at school and because I was different and couldn’t stand up for myself I was bullied. I didn’t say anything because I was too frightened and I didn’t wish to make the situation worse. I kept myself to myself and somehow got through.
The thought of going places, especially where there would be a lot of people made me anxious and I would have panic attacks. Back then I didn’t know what they were and always thought I was having a heart attack. Things didn’t change as I got older. Eventually, I even became afraid of going to work. I never once went to an office Christmas party or even family weddings.
I always felt I wasn’t good enough and people were looking at me all the time and thinking I was strange. I used to blush and sweat a lot. The horrible symptoms made me feel that people were looking at me even more. It was around this time that I started to avoid going out at all.
One day, I read an article in a magazine about anxiety and it had No Panic’s Help Line telephone number. It took me weeks to ring. I would pick up the phone but just couldn’t face the thought of talking about what I was going through to someone else. Why wasn’t I normal like everyone else? When I finally did make the call it was such a relief. I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as social phobia. I felt relieved I could actually put a name to what I had been living with for so many years. They recommended reading material and I learned that although panic attacks were unpleasant they wouldn’t harm me. I thought that is true because I always survived my panic attacks. The charity told me I should see my doctor and have a check-up, he would understand so I was not to be afraid.
I picked up the courage to go to my Doctors and found I could have Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I also did One to one Mentoring with No Panic. Which is where I learned how to control my anxiety and how to set goals to make progress. I learned how to control my breathing to prevent the panic attacks.
I realised that people were too busy with their own lives to be interested in me. I also learned to look at people and smile. They actually smiled back. I began to gain my self-confidence. There is still a way to go but I can actually believe I can get better from this. I might not always find it easy, but I know my ‘worst scenario’ and ‘what if’ thoughts are not true.
How can No Panic help?
No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services aim to provide people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery. Find out more