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Not Quite Self-Harm

Anxiety & Panic Disorders

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May 27 2016, 21:40
  • Hello everyone. This past year has been one hell of a rollercoaster from meeting my other half, moving out on my own, and landing a fantastic job to quitting school, living on minimal money, and (the kicker) finding out that I have clostrophobia, social anxiety, and all kinds of other things that make me cringe. This all started at the end of my last semester at school. I was going through rigorous Paramedic training that included class twice a week, clinicals twice a week, and weekend classes every other weekend. It wasn't the studying or being busy all the time that bothered me. It was the constant disbelief that I would never amount to anything in life if I didn't get through all the certifications I was required to have. Every other weekend we were put into groups and then put into scenarios pertaining to the subject we were going over (cardiac, trauma, pediatrics, etc) and each person in the group had to be a lead in the scenario in which everything was put on you; you were the boss and you were making the calls. I got so stressed out one weekend that I got snappy with some of my instructors and sat in the hallway and cried. It never occured to me that this is a form of anxiety. One of my instructors suggested that I go talk with my doctor about all of the thoughts and emotions going through my head, so I did. First he put me on Prozac and it helped me get through my practicals even when I had a broken finger. It stopped doing anything for me shortly after that, so he gave me Lexapro. Soon after that I met my other half and we were on our way to Florida for a vacation with his family. We were in an amusement park eating a bit of chocolate when I started having an allergic reaction (I'm still not allergic to anything?) and then had a panic attack in the midst of that. Long story short, I hyperventilated and passed out and he carried me to the emergency station where he held my hand the entire time because I couldn't calm down. Eventually I did. Then the same day I found out I had severe claustrophobia. The exit gates were crowded and all I could do was focus on all of the people around me and I felt like I was all by myself eventhough my boyfriend was squeezing my hand while walking in front of me. Fast-forward a few months and I'm a different medication: Zoloft. So far it has helped me deal with my attacks and the claustrophobia, but now when I get stressed out I dig my fingernails into my arms or other parts of my body. That's the only way I can calm down unless my boyfriend is standing right in front of me telling me to focus. I don't know if the Zoloft just isn't working, if I need a higher dose, or if I am absolutely crazy. Help??