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Will I ever feel normal again?
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Will I ever feel normal again?

My question is complex, but I think this is the right place for it.  Back in April of 2010 (so almost two years ago) I had what I think was a major panic attack.  It caused me to stop drinking, stop smoking weed, both of which were serious problems for me since about high school (I'm 29 now.)  I had been having anxiety and some really scary panic attacks for about two years preceding the one in April.  The weird thing is, all the anxiety and panic stopped after this one big one.  But what replaced it was a state of being I can't really describe.  First it was like I was disconnected from myself, like things weren't real.  My vision seemed off, in a way.  I didn't seem connected to my body.  My and neck were tight and tense.  I couldn't take deep breaths, my whole body felt constricted.  Were these symptoms of "returning to my body", so to speak, after so many years of disconnection?  There's so much more to say, but I will try to be concise.
Gradually, I THINK, the symptoms have lessened.  I know now that I am not nearly as out of it then as I am now.  However, I still feel like I am not quite connected to myself and my environment.  I have a general low energy level and have bad social anxiety.  Not the kind of anxiety where you feel trapped with no escape, or like your life is over, or like you are going crazy, like I used to have, more of a general nervousness around people now.  And I have a lot of trouble getting in touch with my emotions.  It's like they get "trapped" in me and I can't "feel" them, like I am still disconnected in some way.  
That's the reason I am writing on this board.  My question is definitely related to alcohol and marijuana, but I wonder if what I am experiencing is of a more general nature.  Something related to post-traumatic stress disorder?  Will I ever come out of this "haze"?  Will I feel happy again?  What's wrong with me?!  
I should mention that I have been doing a lot to work on a "cure".  I'm against taking meds, hell no, too scared.  I am super healthy now, have been running and exercising regularly for almost two years, which has put me in great physical shape.  I try to meditate, and to become aware of my body (a suggestion offered by author Eckhart Tolle), both which have had some success.  My next step I think is to become more social about my problem, which I feel might help.  Hence this post.  Sorry for the length and if I'm in the wrong place!  I just want help and to know someone might be going through something similar to me and if I'll ever regain awareness.  
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG. It's like I am reading my own story! I too suffer from anxiety. Not as nearly as long as you have. Back in August of 2011 I had a major panic attack and I just have not been right since. Like you, I also used to be into smoking pot and drinking beer but have since stopped it all because of the anxiety. I took a trip to the ER and after xrays, breathing treatments and blood work the doctor ruled out anything serious. The first couple of months after my panic attack I would get the feeling of derealization and malaise quite often, but that has subsided for the most part. The thing that I am most suffering with at the moment is the feeling of not being able to get a good breath. I am constantly yawning to get a satisfying breath. Some days are better than others and I don't deal with anxiety 24/7 but I, like you, would also just like to go back to feeling "normal". I tend to avoid social gatherings because I don't want anxiety to creep up on me. It's a vicious cycle but staying strong and positive is the only way to combat it. I also am against meds cause of fear. Like I said, it's like I am reading my own story. You'll get through this.
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG. It's like I am reading my own story! I too suffer from anxiety. Not as nearly as long as you have. Back in August of 2011 I had a major panic attack and I just have not been right since. Like you, I also used to be into smoking pot and drinking beer but have since stopped it all because of the anxiety. I took a trip to the ER and after xrays, breathing treatments and blood work the doctor ruled out anything serious. The first couple of months after my panic attack I would get the feeling of derealization and malaise quite often, but that has subsided for the most part. The thing that I am most suffering with at the moment is the feeling of not being able to get a good breath. I am constantly yawning to get a satisfying breath. Some days are better than others and I don't deal with anxiety 24/7 but I, like you, would also just like to go back to feeling "normal". I tend to avoid social gatherings because I don't want anxiety to creep up on me. It's a vicious cycle but staying strong and positive is the only way to combat it. I also am against meds cause of fear. Like I said, it's like I am reading my own story. You'll get through this.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yea, the breath thing (as you mentioned) is definitely a factor.  Check out the comment right below yours (UKJENP), I think there might be something to it.  Breathing from the stomach.  She also mentions adrenaline addiction (sounds like it could be important.) Also, a guy from the "Does Anyone Feel Weird All The Time" post (a pretty popular post, btw...maybe it should be dubbed DAFWATT) theorized that his strange, "disconnected" feelings could be coming from tensing his neck muscles, thus constricting blood flow to his brain.  That seems like it connects up with UKJENP's post.  Last thing I will add relating to all this: At a job interview recently I did some stomach breathing, and neck/shoulder relaxing beforehand.  I felt really good during the interview.  But at some point, something happened (did I get tired? something with adrenaline? nervous?) where I started feeling tense in my upper body, and I began to get that "disconnected" feeling.  The point is, I think there is a physical connection to these psychological feelings of disconnection, mainly relating to stress in the neck and shoulders, and a lack of involvement from the stomach in breathing.  It all sounds kind of weird, but it might be close to an explanation.  
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Avatar_m_tn
That's actually how I found this place. I googled "Why do I feel weird all the time" and it brought me here. At first, I was getting those feelings but like I mentioned before, not so much anymore. I can relate to you about your interview because I have been in situations where I must stay calm and get through it the best I can and I end up doing it. It's just that after the fact, something happens and anxiety hits. I do believe that breathing correctly is a factor. That, along with actually controlling the thoughts in your head should make for an anxiety free life.
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