My whole life I have been dealing with anxiety. I remember it as early as elementary school. I would go to the nurse every other day with stress hives on my body. We didn’t know what was causing the hives at the time so the nurse would put some medicine on the rash and send me back to class. Middle school was when it got worse. I would call my mom everyday from the nurse at school with an upset stomach and would beg her to come get me. At this point we thought maybe I had some type of food allergy that was causing me to get sick. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I got my diagnosis. I was taking my Algebra 1 midterm, I went to an alternative testing area because my teacher had offered me the option. I was sitting with only one other person at a table in a small quiet room. My stomach started to growl and the guy across from me looked up and smiled. This is when I had my first full-on panic attack. I was so scared at the fact that he heard my stomach. I thought he was judging me and thought I was crazy. I ran out of the library and went straight to the nurses office. She was unsure as to what was happening to me. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, I was throwing up, I felt like I was going to faint. You know that very scary fight-or-flight response your body gets? That’s exactly how I felt. We thought maybe I just had a bad stomach bug. I went home that day and was a complete mess. I made it through Christmas break okay but when it came time to go back to school my symptoms came back in full force. Every morning I would wake up and run to the bathroom and throw up all morning until I thought I would almost faint, I had horrible side pain and cramping. The part I didn’t understand was why I almost immediately felt better when I was told that I didn’t have to go to school. It was like a weight was lifted off my entire body. One morning my mom took me to the doctor and after a couple of tests they told me I had E. Coli in my kidneys. They told me that was why I had the side pain and vomiting. I went home and started my antibiotics but after a week I felt no different, I actually felt worse. I was so frustrated, confused, and terrified. After another week or so my parents decided to take me to the hospital. I woke up one morning feeling like I was dying. They told me it was the only option we had left. They ran every test possible and found nothing wrong. That was when my dad asked if they had a psychiatrist onsite. She walked in and asked me a few pages of questions and then left. My parents came back into the hospital room and told me I have an anxiety disorder. I remember feeling nothing but fear and confusion but at the same time it made sense. I started therapy and medication days after that. I had my official diagnosis of separation anxiety, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, OCD, panic disorder, and depression. My therapist put me on home bound so I missed most of my second semester of freshman year, I had to ease my way back into school. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t want anyone to know what was really going on with me. In my mind no one would understand it, they would just judge me. I told all my friends and most of my family that I had a bad kidney infection that was keeping me out of school. It took me a solid two months to feel “normal” again. I took Prozac for 6 years, was able to live my life, finish high school and learned how to manage my mental illnesses. In April 2017 I decided that I didn’t want to take my medicine anymore. I had felt fine for so long; I thought that I grew out of it and had everything under control. I didn’t talk to my doctor about it I just stopped, this was a huge mistake. I was fine for over a year off of the medicine until this August(2018). I’m feeling everything like in high school but twice as bad. My OCD really bounces off of my Panic disorder. So all day I had/ have hundreds of obsessive thoughts and I was having up to 10 panic attacks a day. I had the added diagnosis of agoraphobic to my chart. I didn’t leave my house for two months and slowly made my way out to random places. I was put back on Prozac in September. I didn’t feel much better. After being on it for two months my doctor doubled my dose. Those were a very hard 4 days after she upped the medicine. I got very sick with serotonin syndrome. It took me a week and a half to balance back out. Another week of being trapped in the house and in my mind. Fast forward a month and half and you are at December 22, my birthday party. I had several panic attacks all throughout the day and it only got worse when I got to my birthday party. I could not calm down at all. It was as if my body had taken over my mind. I felt like I had absolute no control over how I felt. I pulled my mom aside and told her I need help, I am so exhausted of fighting this all day everyday. She left the party with me right away, we went to the doctor. The doctor told me it sounds like the Prozac has helped none, I’m just strong and have been fighting through the anxiety. She prescribed me Zoloft and Ativan for panic attacks. So this is where I am starting this blog, in between medicines, and very hopeful to get back to “normal” soon.