A 29 years old woman, funny, lovely to look at, bright, lives with her boyfriend in London and has a job she loves. Appearances, though, can be deceptive, she had to take a month-long leave of absence from work. The panic attacks from which she has suffered since she was a teenager have now started to dominate her life. " I need to do something about this, because panic attacks are the worst they have ever been, I feel like you're going mad; worrying about everything, feeling out of control, wondering what you sound like and what you look like, it's constant. You can't stop it. It's exhausting."
Determined to get better, " and went to see her GP. What did he say?. he prescribed Sertraline, a drug I've taken before [a mild anti-depressant, Sertraline is also known to be effective in treating social, obsessive compulsive. It does calm you down a bit, but I didn't like the idea of having to rely on pills for the rest of my life, and that's when I realised: I'm going to have to get myself out of this. The pattern with my anxiety has always been that eventually it goes, only to come back later even harder." Somehow, she had to face it down, and send it packing.
Anxiety disorders are painfully debilitating, their symptoms and the rituals involved in managing them causing sufferers a good deal of shame and embarrassment. Those who fail to seek treatment – and many still do are at a higher risk of suicidal tendencies. Naturally, there are those who like to talk about the "medicalisation" of a perfectly ordinary human emotion, one that we need in order to survive. But once you begin talking to sufferers and to experts, it becomes pretty clear that these people have very little idea of what they're talking about. As one psychiatrist put it to me: "Those who endure anxiety aren't putting this on. They're not being dishonest. Discovering that what you thought was a heart attack was in fact a panic attack doesn't invalidate your suffering. I am absolutely certain my patients are in great pain."