I joined this forum back in 2010 and i had the chance to talk to some really supportive members here. My story is a cliche. Just like you guys, I was facing extremely severe anxiety, and I'm not even exaggerating that. I had paranoia that I might be anxious for the rest of my life and die from it. I had panic attacks every day and was depressed as hell. That was before I joined any support group.
Here I am, 4 1/2 years later. I can't say that I'm 100% anxiety free, just like most normal people anxiety is a healthy part of your life. It's our fight/flight responsive system to protect us from dangers and whatnot. I fully embraced my anxiety. Right now, I haven't had a panic attack in 4 years KNOCK ON WOOD. I kinda have this OCD of jinxing things, sometimes I hate being positive because I'm scared I'll jinx it for myself.
Anyways, the only thing I have now is mild depression, but I'm still managing that. I'm not really clinically depressed right now, I'm just feeling 'meh' about my life.. But doesn't everybody?! Haha
What had really helped me was:
1. Therapy. Definitely helps to have a professional to talk to you. I thought therapists were scammers since they don't even experience the symptoms that we do and that their knowledge is more academic than experience based. Regardless of their experience with anxiety, they really know what they're talking about. I was with my therapist for a year until my insurance didnt cover me anymore. I felt like he was a father figure to me.
2. Gym and sweating out. Seriously this helped me tremendously. It helps increase your serotonin level hence elevating your mood. And when you break a sweat, you feel good about yourself. Feeling good about yourself definitely eases some of your anxiety.
3. Knowing that there's medications that can help you. Now.. meds is a sensitive subject among us anxiety sufferers, I know, since I was against it myself. BUT, I was prescribed 0.25 mg xanax by my doc before and I'd take it whenever I'd have a terrible panic attack.. And it helps! Just knowing that I have something, an object that I can depend on and feel safe with SECURES me psychologically.
4. If you're an introvert because of your anxiety, you should definitely start going out. Seriously take a walk in the park with your iPod and listen to calm music, or simply buy an ice cream and just sit on bench on a sunny day.. Don't hide yourself in the shadows. That will really depress you out and worsen your anxiefy.
5. Last but not least, online support group. This is a great place to get support from. There are several anxiety chatrooms than you can join. One of them is from anxietyzone. It really helps talking to people and let them calm you down when you're panicking.
So there you go guys! I just thought I wanted to write this as a form of gratitude for the past old members that have helped me. I'm really thankful. Not just on this forum, but a couple of others too. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many people suffer from anxiety disorders but they just don't talk about it. Don't be ashamed of it! Learn how to cope and overcome it. It's NOT IMPOSSIBLE. Trust me, if I can do it, SO CAN YOU. I literaly felt hopeless and helpless, like I had no chance to survive at all. But look at me now!
Cheer up guys and feel better, if you need someone to talk to just PM me or reply here.