The band issued the following statement: “Our bass player Chris posted this today about his struggles with anxiety/panic attacks and we thought it was worth sharing here as well. Great honest words from a great friend.”
Photo by Olivuh.
“I don’t normally write posts like this and have no idea what compelled me to do so today but something did. I have struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for about 9-10 years now. Facebook is filled with people’s daily struggles of a bad cold, poor nights sleep, the flu or even a bad hangover but I have never seen ‘My panic attacks were terrible today’, it just isn’t as socially accepted.
“For me my panic attacks first presented themselves as an extreme dizziness/vertigo. It was especially worse in public places. I remember Christmas shopping for Ann one year and having to sit down in the middle of the store sweating and barely able to sit up straight. Many times Ann would plan things for us to do and I would have to turn them down knowing I wouldn’t be able to handle the situation. I instantly feared the worse (brain tumor etc…) but put off actually going to a doctor. When I finally did go he wrote it off as me being an alcoholic. His diagnosis of me being an alcoholic at the time may have been accurate but what he didn’t understand is that the alcohol wasn’t the cause it was a symptom. I was self medicating really without realizing it. After not drinking for a month and still not feeling any better I went to an ear nose and throat specialist thinking it could be an inner ear issue. It was not. I then went to a neurologist and had an MRI now convinced it was for sure a brain tumor. The MRI also came back clean. The neurologist then asked me if I would be willing to start taking an anti anxiety medication and see if that helped. I was hesitant because I didn’t feel like I was stressed out about anything but was willing to try it. After about 3 weeks of being on the medication my dizziness/vertigo had almost completely disappeared. Soon after that I lost my job and my health insurance. The medication was too expensive without insurance for me to afford so they switched me to a different medication that was cheaper. This medication did not work for me and I ended up stopping taking it. For years I just dealt with it. Eventually it really just becomes part of your daily life. I get them a lot while driving and will literally scream at myself out loud to calm down. It feels like my body and mind are betraying me and I don’t have control. Panic attacks are different for everyone but the one thing I think anyone can agree on is they are terrifying.
“In May of this year I got shingles, soon after that I started having severe stomach pain. I dealt with the stomach pain for about 2 months before I couldn’t take it anymore and finally went to a doctor (I don’t like doctors, if you can’t tell). He figured it was my gallbladder and sent me in for an ultrasound. Once again it came back clean and once again he brought up that it could be anxiety. I got back on my original medication I was taking years ago but he started me on too high of a dose. The side affects were too much for me to take. Normally I would have just given up and stopped taking it again but I decided to actually act like a responsible adult (which is rare for me) and get on a lower dosage. After being on the lower dosage for about 2 weeks now my stomach pains are completely gone. If you are struggling with something similar don’t do what I did and put off dealing with it. If they put you on a medication that isn’t working ask for a different one. Each person is different and each medication is different. It doesn’t make you weak to take a pill every morning, it shows you are strong enough to take care of yourself so you can be a better person for yourself and also for the people that love you. You aren’t alone and sometimes just knowing that can make a huge difference. Have a good day everyone, take care of yourself and each other!”