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One year.

It’s been exactly one year to the date since my last panic attack.  I usually log out of tumblr during the semester, but I figured I’d make an exception to post about this.  I’m still not really sure why I’m writing it, I just needed somewhere to vent.

March 24, 2013.  The day it all came crashing down.  In the days/months leading up to it, i was internally imploding.  I was depressed, my social anxiety was out of control, I even became suicidal.  I hid it from everyone—it’s amazing what you can do when you’re a sweet, nice girl who nobody would suspect is dying on the inside.  I became an expert at crying silently at night, so my roommates wouldn’t hear me and be concerned.  I hid it more from my friends.  I wasn’t communicating with anyone—I thought my problems made me weak.  I threw myself into my school work, trying to push the situation away.

I felt so alone all the time.  Looking back on it, I had a couple of people I could have, and should have, turned to, but at the time, I felt so utterly hopeless.  My social anxiety made me mistrust almost everyone.  I had fears that my friends were talking about me behind my back, that they weren’t being real to my face.  I’ve always been very awkward socially, so this just made the problem even worse. I had never experienced depression to this extent, either.  Every day seemed like a struggle.  I didn’t even want to get up in the mornings.  I tried everything to escape the terrible thoughts that went through my head.  I was terrified of the very thing that had always previously been my solace—my brain.

My thoughts reached new and new lows.  It got to the point that I really didn’t care if I lived or not.  I thought that death would be so peaceful, that it was the only solution to my problems—the only way to escape my mind.  Looking back, I was scary.  I was suicidal.

Then came March 24.  I’d really rather not post specifics of that day or talk about it, since I don’t post about people on the internet, as I’ll get to later.  But, a combination of factors lead up to the worst panic attack of my life.  My social anxiety was confirmed in an instance, my “trigger” of people talking about me on the internet (that dates back to a few cyber bullying incidents in high school) was confirmed, and I couldn’t see an out of the situation.  

I felt my throat start to close, I felt myself start to hyperventilate.  I couldn’t breath, I thought I was having a heart attack.  I’m no stranger to panic attacks, but I had never experienced one so bad.  I legitimately thought I was dying—and I found out that I was relieved.

The one saving grace of the situation was that my best friend was there to help me through it.  He calmed me down, convinced me it would be ok, and helped me through the situation.  After an hour or two, I could breathe again.  I was returning to normal, whatever that was.

I’m pretty sure that night was rock bottom.  But, there was a bright side—the only way to go from rock bottom is up. From that point on, I changed.  I started by taking baby steps, changing the way I approached life in general.  I reached out to old friends.  I talked to my new friends and learned they were there for me and loved/cared for me.  I cut people out of my life that weren’t helping the process, and truly made progress.  I was still depressed, but the instances happened less and less.  I was starting to recover.

Now, one year later, the progress I’ve made is astounding.  I’m not “cured” and I doubt I’ll ever be, but my situation today is exponentially better than it was one year ago.  I still get depressed occasionally, but I’ve taken steps to prevent the build up that happened last year.  I don’t think about killing myself as an option anymore, and I know I can reach out to my friends for help.  I still have social anxiety, but have come to know the signs of an incoming attack and can focus on preventing one. I’ve gotten to a more spiritual point in my life, reconnecting with my Unitarian Universalist roots. I no longer isolate myself, and the progress is astounding.

I don’t think anyone will read this, the purpose of it is mainly for me to reflect on my personal journey and look back on how far I’ve come.  But, if you happen to be reading this, thank you.  You can always PM me.  You are special, and don’t ever forget it <3

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