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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Hope, Help, Moral of the Story

Photo by Saskia Fairfull on Unsplash

It is 7:00 o’clock in the evening. I am sitting comfortably on my favorite couch, a bowl of popcorn in my lap watching my favorite TV program. Suddenly BOOM! I can’t breathe, my heart is pounding, my chest hurts, I am uncontrollably shaking, and sweat pouring down my brow, my extremities are numb. I feel unreal, going crazy. I am going to die; I am having a heart attack.

I think to myself “Oh no, not again.” I was just in the ER the other day. My doctor checked my heart, my thyroid, and did all available tests. She tells me, “Go home. There is nothing physically wrong. You are in perfect health.”

Dear friends, if anyone can relate to this picture, you, a loved one, a family member, a friend, a minister, your neighbor, or even your doctor, chances are they are having a panic attack. When a person has repeated panic attacks and feels severe anxiety, they could have a panic disorder.

But there is no reason for anyone to go through this living hell. There is help, there is hope, and it is treatable.

When we lived in Pittsburgh, I founded a Panic Anxiety Attack Support Group. I wanted to share, to help others cope by using me as an example because I myself suffer from the disorder.  For 12 years I facilitated and coordinated the Group. I have seen numerous success stories. I would like to share one with you, a source of inspiration and motivation for anyone.

When I first met this 17-year-old young lady I will call Sandy, she presented the exact picture of our friend watching the Simpsons on TV.

She was a high-school dropout, a single parent, and an agoraphobic who never left her room for 6 months. During this time she hardly got out of bed, contemplated killing herself several times and completely rejected her infant son.

One day her mother commented,” I saw this ad in the paper about a support group. These groups of people have a lot of symptoms you are exhibiting. Why don’t we try to go to one of their meetings? They may be able to help.” “NO mother, I don’t need a support group. I do not need help. Go away and leave me alone. I am just fine the way I am.”

One day, at some stage in one of her darkest moments, the TV was on and it just happened that it was on a talk show station where the guest was talking about her horrifying experience with a panic attack. In her comatose state, Sandy heard the words, Hope and Help. It was a ray of sunshine or God’s way of working his wonders. Sandy got up, and called her mother, “Mother can you take me to this support group?” Sandy made her first big step toward recovery. She found a safe place full of support, compassion, sharing, and understanding.

“Mother,” she said, “I am not alone!”

Sandy came faithfully and regularly to the support group, eventually getting enough courage to seek professional help. She completed her high school diploma and enrolled in the College of Engineering at Pitt.

During her recovery, she learned to be patient with herself, take one baby step at a time, practice what she has learned, and persevere.

As an engineering undergraduate, she was an exemplary student, excelling academically as well as socially. In her senior year, she was elected president of her class and graduated summa cum laude.

She is now a practicing engineer, a model citizen of her community, and an inspiration to all; a far cry from the person that she was a few years back.

She still experiences occasional panic and anxiety, but she has learned to cope with the disorder and think positively.

Therefore the message and the moral of the story is: If you or someone you know has panic disorder do not let life pass you by. It is not the end of the world. There is Hope. Hope is such a marvelous thing. It sustains us when nothing else can. It gives us reason to continue and the courage to move ahead when we tell ourselves we’d rather give in.

There is Hope there is Help and is Treatable.

When life throws you a lemon, make lemonade out of it.

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