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Panic disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something really bad is going to happen. The maximum degree of symptoms occurs within minutes. There may be ongoing worries about having further attacks and avoidance of places where attacks have occurred in the past.

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People are so quick to tell others with disorders that they’re “too this” and “too that” - they tell someone with panic disorder that they’re too dramatic and someone with depression that they’re too emotional, like these people don’t know this already. Like they don’t know that they live only in short bursts between attacks and pits, a brief moment where they actually feel like they’re okay and have any kind of control over themselves. You tell the person with panic disorder just relax. You tell the person with chronic depression just be happy. There’s nothing worth all of that stress and fatigue. Panic and depression are just as strong as addictions, you say that we feed off of it, that it seems like we crave it. And we do. Because our minds are so fixated that it gives up all control. You tell the one with panic disorder that they’re being irrational. The one with depression is just being downright ridiculous, pessimistic and stubborn. And you’re right. But don’t be so ignorant as to think we want to be this way. It’s not a quick fix. It is an illness. We know that we are sick. We recognize it just as clearly as you do. But until we learn how to dictate our own minds we feel as if we have no control. We do, but we don’t. When faced with a panic attack all rational slips from our mind, thinking logically or positively does not seem like a viable option, and all we can center ourselves around is that impending fear. It takes patience and strength to get through a disorder. It takes coupling of behavioral therapy and sometimes even the intervening of medication to learn to control and manage dealing with your anxiety on a day to day basis. You aren’t telling us anything we don’t know. We know much more than you think. Now it’s your turn to gain some knowledge.

Contributed by Shannon McGloin

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