Exactly a year ago I had to take the entire month of May off for a sudden, unexplained Anxiety disorder. I'd not taken a day off sick in 10 years before this. It came out of the blue.
One day I was driving into work and I had to pull over in the car. I felt completely out of control. My arms and legs went numb. I couldn't see properly, my head hurt, I couldn't breathe and I felt REALLY scared but I had no idea why.
I got gradually worse over the month. I couldn't leave the house, I couldn't relate to my husband or my son. I couldn't even walk the short distance to pick him up from school because the outside world spun around my head. I felt very odd, scared and out of control . I slept for most of the day, shut myself away and couldn't face anyone. I would wake in the night in blind panic and I was constantly scared. This was the worse I had ever felt in my life. I was convinced I was dying. I used to beg my husband to call the doctor in the early hours. It was horrible and I'd never experienced anything like this before.
I went to see my doctor and she suggested thinking about citalopram. I wasn't sure at first but tbh I was willing to try anything to feel normal again. I started on 20mg and had every side effect on the list - terrible nausea, upset stomach, headaches, shakes, tremors, increase in the anxiety, weird dreams. It took six weeks for the side effects to wear off but I was starting to feel much better and went back to work. In October I started feeling like I needed a bit more so I upped my dose to 30mg. I had the side effects back whilst i adjusted to the dose but afterwards, I felt great. I had my best Christmas ever ( I've never liked Christmas much!!) I continued to feel great. More chilled, pleasantly at ease with life and able to enjoy things that I now realise I'd been struggling with for a long time. I've realised where my anxiety came from. My mum died, we moved house, my husband had a mid life crisis, my family life fell apart and for the first time in my career, I faced redundancy. I realised I'd brushed most of this under the carpet.
I did some group CBT which was ok but I'm told one to one is better and I've read loads of stuff about Anxiety. I know how to deal with impeding anxiety attacks. I've learned to will the feelings away. I literally tell it to get lost when it pops into my head!
In the past month I've reduced back to 20mg - again I've had the side effects but I feel 100% better than I did a year ago. In fact I feel better than I have done in years. I hadn't realised just how bad I had go and how quietly it had consumed my life.
I guess I just wanted to let you know that things can and will get better. Don't be scared of the meds. It might take a while to adjust to them and this adjustment can really make you question their benefit but you WILL get there. My doc (who is great and I think finding a doc who understands is vital - if yours doesn't, ask to see another) said to me - You don't have to put up with anxiety - and she was right. It's made a world of difference to me. I've not posted to this site for 11 months but I've kept reading it.
You might be feeling lost now, but you will get better.
Sorry for typos - writing this on my iPhone and left my glasses at work!