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Feeling really off and convincing myself I’m losing my mind?

Hi, I am 18 years old, female, and have always struggled with really bad anxiety. Lately I’ve been experiencing panic attacks for the first time in years and unfortunately am no longer able to drive. About a week and a half ago, I had a panic attack while driving, and haven’t felt like myself since basically, and I’m terrified. I don’t feel like I’m me, my name sounds strange, and I just overall feel like a stranger to myself. My memories don’t feel like my own. I remember things but they feel fake or far away from me... even worse, I feel like the people around me are strangers. I feel like my family isn’t my family, my friends aren’t my friends and my boyfriend isn’t my boyfriend. It’s really hard to explain. It’s hard to be around people but it’s also hard to be alone. I feel horrible constantly and I just feel doomed this sinking feeling in my chest with the fear that I’m losing my mind and forgetting everything. I’m trying so hard every day to get my mind off it and get myself back but it’s so hard. I haven’t been this scared in so long and I feel like no one can help because everything feels so different and off if that makes sense.. I’m going to a walk-in counsellor tomorrow hoping to get some reassurance, but I feel like I can’t Wait that long and keep thinking the worst. If anyone knows what this is, could reassure me, or even if you just take your time out of your day to read this I would really appreciate it. I feel really lonely right now even though I have so many people in my life supporting me. Thank you for reading :)
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973741 tn?1342346373
Ah, sweetie, so very sorry to hear that you are going through this tough time!  Panic attacks legitimately feel horrible.  I feel for you.  They most often do require treatment.  Have you ever worked with a psychiatrist? If panic attacks and anxiety cause you to not participate in things you need to or want to in life, it is definitely requiring next level care.  I would say that a psychiatrist is really important here.   Do you or have you taken any medication?  That is sometimes, depending on what you and your doctor decide, needed in order to manage panic attacks and anxiety.  Most doctors do want to rule out any other issues if someone has a panic attack health wise.  If that has been done, then it's time to move to the next phase.  Therapists and talk therapy really help with ongoing management of panic.  Or at least they can.  Cognitive Behavior therapy and exposure therapy can be very effective. But this is ongoing.  A walk in clinic is a good start but a therapist you see on a regular basis may be necessary. They can help you with coping mechanisms during a panic attack, identifying triggers, working through it and general anxiety.  Life style changes help as well such as eating right, getting exercise and plenty of rest, doing things like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/panic-attacks/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376027

What you may be experiencing is something called derealization and depersonalization.  Here is an excellent journal by a good medhelp friend of mine.  https://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/11569/Derealization-and-Depersonalization-VERY-common-anxiety-effectsplease-read  read though that and see what you think.  hugs
2 Comments
thank you so much for your response! I usually get yearly blood work and I have had an ultrasound for my heart, so physically as of the last time I’ve seen a doctor (about two months ago) I am healthy.  I haven’t worked with a psychiatrist because last year I looked into it and unfortunately couldn’t afford it. However, when I go to the walk-in counselling tomorrow, they will put me on a waiting list for therapy which hopefully won’t take too long. I plan on going through therapy + doing everything else I can to cope and if that doesn’t work then I will definitely consider medication. I have been prescribed but I didn’t take it because I was nervous to, but I’m realizing that may be what has to happen. Again, thank you for your response, it was very helpful and you explained everything great :)
When Mom mentioned CBT above, know that your average therapist won't specialize in treating anxiety.  That can be a problem, because sitting and talking can help but it can also take a very long time.  If CBT works for you it doesn't take as long.  The important thing is to get a therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment -- again, most don't, and special skills are needed to treat it.  If nothing else works, you do want to have a life, so medication might end up being the only thing that works.  It sounds like you've been through this for awhile.  When Mom says seeing a doctor to eliminate physiological problems, that doesn't mean getting a physical.  Most doctors won't truly test you for the things that cause symptoms that appear to be anxiety because they are hard to find, such as thyroid problems,. blood sugar problems that might be too on the edge for a busy general doc to look for, nutritional deficiencies, etc.  So if you do see a doctor, make it clear what's going on so he or she will know what to look for, and make sure you make them look for those things hard.  But for most people, it turns out to be that old anxiety disorder that nobody knows the cause of so far.  When therapy works, people usually stay better.  Meds just treat symptoms, so even if it comes to that, don't give up trying to find that right therapist.  And don't worry about reassurance, seek out treatment -- sometimes it's not that reassuring at first but what you want is to get better, not to feel better momentarily.  This is based on a lot of mistakes I wish I hadn't made so take it for what it's worth.  At your age, you are way more resilient and adaptable than you know now, you can get past this.  All the best.
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