Hello, I'm hoping that sharing some things on here will help me to feel a bit better. In the last few weeks I've been experiencing some really intense and frightening anxiety symptoms, which in turn has made me feel very depressed. There's so much to say I don't really know where to start.
I've been taking medication for depression for the last five years but have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. When I was in school I had very bad anxiety which often prevented me from leaving the house, I was terrified of all social situations and found it very difficult to talk to people. To cut a long story short, I very slowly started to overcome my problems with anxiety after leaving school. When I went away to uni I made friends with a group of girls and moved into a house with them. This was a massively BIG DEAL for me to have asserted myself enough to be included into a group of friends and I felt as if I'd come so far since my school days.
I've just finished my last year at uni during which everything seems to have gone wrong. My boyfriend moved into the house this year and the dynamics totally changed. The other girls started leaving me out of everything, arguing with me and being really nasty. It completely broke my heart to find out how little they actually cared about being friends with me. I spent most of the time either trying to stay out of their way to avoid confrontations or desperately trying to please them. I was always overhearing them bitching about me. I started to have panic attacks and felt constantly on edge. I absolutely dreaded going back to the house after uni because just being there made me so anxious. My boyfriend didn't really settle in very well because of the girls and because his new job doing night shifts was so demanding. He got stressed out and angry very easily and I found myself doing everything I could to avoid this happening because it upset me so much. This usually took the form of cleaning the house obsessively every day to keep him happy. I slowly lost all of my confidence and became more and more depressed.
On top of all of this I was in my final year of uni and found it really hard to cope with the work. The first lecture of the year was about how important the final year and dissertation are. I started having a panic attack in the lecture and had to leave and I've felt really stressed out for the whole year. Even now I've finally finished everything I'm wondering if it was worth it and whether I would have been better off dropping out because of the effect the whole experience has had on me.
I finished about three weeks ago now and I've felt awful ever since. I've had lots of panic attacks, I constantly feel really out of it and detached, I'm having really vivid dreams and often can't remember if I've dreamed something happening or not. I often feel freezing cold and can't stop shivering. My mind seems to be always racing and I'm convincing myself that I'm going crazy. I feel exhausted all the time but I'm sleeping a lot more than I should. I keep feeling faint and dizzy and have a constant ringing in my ears. The thing that's upsetting me the most though is vision problems. I've been to the doctor about it before and she said its just anxiety. I have been having these problems for months and months and it is constant everyday. I can't deal with bright lights and constantly have the effect of looking at a bright light and then seeing it everywhere, except that it happens with everything I look at. It really scares me. I can't concentrate on anything. Its especially bad with computer screens. Right now I have the brightness on my laptop turned all the way down and it still looks really weird. I've also become obsessed with measuring my pulse and now just do it instinctively I'd say at least every 15 mins. I'm also experiencing the worst depression I think I've ever had, at times I feel completely suicidal, often when I wake up and it seems impossible to find the strength to face another day of trying to tell myself I'm not losing my mind. I can't picture the future as being anything other than bleak. I should be happy that I've managed to finish uni and I'm now moving into a new house with my boyfriend but I don't feel any sense of achievement and I can't remember the last time I felt genuinely happy about anything.
I should also mention that for the past month I've stopped smoking cigarettes and weed. I didn't really want to give up either but both were giving me panic attacks. When I was working on my final essays for uni I was smoking a lot of cigs because I was stressed out and I think the fact that was was able to go from that to smoking nothing over night shows how frightening the panic attacks were for me rather than any will power. As I said I didn't particularly want to give up. I've avoided talking about the weed until now because to be honest I'm scared that I've done permanent damage with it. That probably sounds silly. I smoked it everyday for several years and until this year it was never anything but fun and enjoyable for me. The best times of my life have been when I've been smoking with my friends. I didn't want to give it up but felt I had to after a massive panic attack that lasted for over an hour. I think if I tried to smoke it now I'd be too on edge and would make myself panic. I'm worried that the weed has caused my vision problems which show no sign of going, and the foggy head I seem to always have. Its actually five weeks today since I smoked. I think about how I might have messed myself up constantly.
The other thing that plays on my mind all the time is my anti depressants. I've been on mirtazapine for about a year now. I want to come off of it because I feel lower than I ever have before but I'm terrified about stopping it. I'm on a high dose (45mg) and I'm scared that I won't be able to cope with the withdrawal and will end up hopelessly suicidal. I already have a constant sadness as if someone has died. I just worry a lot about what the meds are doing to me and I want to know how it feels to not be on anything. Maybe I'll feel normal. Last year I came off of sertraline and it was a horrible experience. I had 'brain zaps' and just felt really weird for months. Now that my anxiety is so much more intense I don't know if I'd be able to cope with changes like that. Maybe the mirtazapine has contributed to my anxiety... I don't know. Whenever I go the doctors they never seem to take these things seriously. They will either up my dose or say 'try this one' like they're offering different flavor sweets and don't seem to realise how powerful the effects can be.
So if you've read this far thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I didn't intend to write this much. I feel pretty hopeless at the moment and would appreciate knowing I'm not alone.