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How it all began. Well Im not quite sure where to start really. Sometime shortly after I was 18 I began having panic attacks and extreme social anxiety disorder. It all started on a normal day, I was at wal-mart for a walk through on fire safety training. I was going to start work there that same week. Well as I was standing with the group looking at escape exits in case of emergencies I started to black out. I grabbed my boyfriend’s neck before I went all the way down and he helped me to my feet. I went home and had my mother take me to the hospital to get me checked out. The nurse gave me a once over (blood pressure check, lung capacity, etc.) and told me I had anxiety. She prescribed me medication called paxil. I started to take it and didn’t have anxiety for a couple months so I decided I would get off of it. Things went well for a while until I moved back to VA from ID. I drove for 5 days across the country going through withdraws, it was not a good experience.

When I arrived to VA me and my boyfriend broke up and I started seeing someone else. I got pregnant and continued to party not caring and getting drunk all the time. I had a miscarriage. For one reason or another I just started to withdraw from socialized society. I stopped going anywhere, wouldn’t check the mail, wouldn’t leave my apartment. My mom had me checked out by a doctor who prescribed me Effexor. That was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. Each time I would go back I would tell her that I didn’t think it was working and it was only getting worse. So she upped the dose. She upped the dose so much that I couldn’t get any higher unless I had a psychiatric evaluation. They wanted to put me away. I think I was already put away. All I did all day was sit in the same room looking at the walls. Afraid to open the door. If the phone rang I would panic because I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

When things started to get better (before they got worse): Well the apartment lease was up and they were raising the rates so I moved in with my step dad and his new wife. My current boyfriend moved in too but that was not for very long because he met someone at his job and left me quickly. He couldn’t put up with my antics anymore. Antics would be panicking in the car, running out of the store in fear of being trapped. Just sick of my sickness, he made sure I was safe and then went on with his life. I withdrew from Effexor cold turkey. My brain was on a water bed or so it felt, my head felt like it had been through shock therapy. This was the worst I have ever felt. Finally when I was fully clear of the toxic medication I started to work with my dad in his masonry business. I was able to go for truck rides and work myself until I was too tired to stand but I still could not be social until one day when I found out what alcohol was. I had a couple beers one night and had a friend pick me up. I was able to go out to the store without feeling extremely anxious. Now it started to become a habit, every time I wanted to go out I would have a beer first to calm my nerves. Each month it would turn into me having to drink just a little bit more. I was surprised one day to get an email from a guy He wanted to meet me and hang out. Well I did and went about it the same way as normal, drinking a couple beers before he picked me up. Things got worse when things got serious. We dated for 3 months before I moved in. Well before I moved in I could think of ways to drink without him knowing and so I was able to hide it pretty well. When I moved in with him I kind of tamped down my anxiety just enough to wait until we went out at night for me to drink. His parents drank too so I would sneak some of their wine or beer and take it into the shower with me to get drunk. I did this for nearly 5 years. 2 beers a day turned to 6 beers a day, then 12, then 18.

We went for a vacation to Las Vegas for the world series of poker in July of 2009. For the entire trip I was drunk mostly from sitting at a poker table asking for beers every 10 min. or so. On the second day of the trip I began getting manic. Although I was drunk I felt sober. All night long there were only 2 words that went through my head “Just jump”. I was on the brink of suicide. I felt completely hopeless and scared. I ended up leaving the vacation early because a relative died but I had never experienced something so scary as that. My mind was telling me to smash the window of our 23rd floor hotel room with the TV and jump out. Luckily I got through it without acting on it but it still gives me chills to this day. For the final year of our relationship I was drinking upwards of 20 beers a day. Finally in Oct. of 2009 I was hospitalized with alcoholic gastritis and told to stop drinking or Id die. I weighed 89 lbs because I stopped eating and drank my dinners. Slept until 3 pm and stayed up drinking until I blacked out at 5 am.

How it ended: All I ever needed was for someone to tell me I was worth a damn and listen to me.

I had met a friend on the internet. We spent a lot of time together playing computer games online, he is my best friend. I got really drunk one night and told him that I thought I loved him. He reciprocated. It was because of him that I quit drinking. It was because of him that I left the 5 year relationship 3 days later. It is because of him that I am alive today. I have not had a single panic attack or alcohol for almost 2 years. Im able to be social and actually look forward to events now. I love the life that I was given a second chance at. One thing that helped me accept things was truth. Just tell the truth to the ones you love, feeling the need to hide only exacerbates anxiety.

Hope is a very powerful thing, true love is able to conquer even the darkest moments of your life.

We are now married and I am 3 weeks away from delivering our son.

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