Every Breath I Take

Every Breath I Take

by Richard Winepol

Hello all, my name is Rick and I'm 47 years old. I have severe anxiety disorder with agoraphobia and panic disorder. I've had this condition since I was 20 years old.

These disorders caused me to change my life in many ways: from several hospitalizations to several psychologists, it's been a challenge every step of the way.

My dream was becoming a medic. After volunteering one day I totally collapsed on the ground with several hospital visits... visiting a hospital 3 times in one week. And I was finally an impatient at a mental hospital. Back then they tried to treat me with anti psychotic meds along with Benzodiazepines like Ativan, Xanax etc. To this day I'm still on Ativan on a high dose.

It's a struggle every day sometimes and I feel over whelmed. Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? The answer: you did nothing. You have to figure out what your fears are.

What type of anxiety do I have? Well it took me many years to figure that out. I am scared to go outside which gave me a agoraphobia disorder. I am afraid to be in large crowds which gave me a social anxiety. And my biggest issue, I get scared but don't know why I'm scared, which I consider is a severe anxiety order which I have. Now when I seclude myself, because my anxiety is bad, it tends to bring back my agoraphobia disorder.

So how do I help myself? Well it's a struggle every day. With 5 great children and a wonderful wife who not only is my best friend but my nurse in a way that i can depend on, explaining my condition and that daddy is not always well is very hard.

For me to beat this on an every day basis we gotta fight this evil disease with brain power. I learned breathing techniques, breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. When having my anxiety attacks I try to focus on one thing that could be relaxing, such as a song, a love story movie or simply a spot on the wall to relax. I depend on my emotional support dog, his name is Bash, he's a chocolate lab and I taught him a lot and I think he has social anxiety also which makes us a great team.

Why would a dog be so helpful in your recovery? I learned when having anxiety attacks its great to have someone by your side that won't stress you which my Bash does for me.

I'm not gonna sit here and say that I'm OK everyday because most days I'm not. If I'm afraid to drive to a certain place we'll go drive with someone to that place until you aren't afraid as much. I think people with anxiety disorders like myself have a hard time trusting people, I know I do.

I think people that have anxiety disorders who talk to other who have the same kind of disorder can relate to one another and helps to trust each other.

I would love to advocate for people who have the same condition as me so we can help one another out.

My advise to anyone who has similar disorders as me:

  • Take one day at a time.
  • Take slow deep breaths.
  • Relax, don't be in stressful environments.
  • Be around people you can trust.
  • An emotional support animal that you love can be so helpful.
  • Don't hold your feelings in.
  • And most importantly, at some point try to face some of your fears. I know it will be hard but after several months I know you will conquer your fears.

Thanks for reading my story and I wish everyone a speedy recovery.

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