UPDATE- May 22, 2013:
It seems that some people misinterpreted this entire thread and what I was trying to accomplish here. This is what I did to go from severe panic, anxiety and agoraphobia to panic and anxiety free. I live a life were no anxiety holds me back at all anymore. I tell you what worked and what didn't work. My goal here is not to brag to you, but to inspire you to create your own journey from where you are now to where you want to be. Your journey will look very similar to mine, but you will need to individualize it. Of course you can't do everything I did because your situation is different and you are not me. But the healing path is generally very similar. Many people do not even know there is a way past anxiety and just learn to cope with it, rather than overcoming it. Stop organizing your life around anxiety and start pushing through it to restructure your life to be anxiety free. Use this as an inspiration and even as a template for you to do the same. Your own healing path will have it's own aspects and will not be exactly like mine, but you can use it as a general guide. I also expect you to do your own research on the different products and approaches I mention. But what you will need to understand is:
1) You can overcome an anxiety disorder no matter what anybody tells you.
2) You must get on the healing path not the coping path and keep moving forward on it.
3) It is not exactly linear and there will be bumps in the road.
4) You must use your WILL to overcome FEAR
5) No human is perfect, so it is normal to have some fear, anxiety or worry once in a while. The problem is when it is at a disorder level were it debilitates your life or you have to plan your life around it.
Good luck and enjoy!
If you are suffering with anxiety and panic, this may be the most important post you ever read. Although it is long, I guarantee you will find at least something valuable here. It isn't the be all end all, but I just want to help as best as I know how:
This time last year I was a mess. I was having severe panic attacks multiple times a day, was scared out of mind, and I could barely leave my home. I remember how hard it was to just walk outside of my apartment building to buy water. I couldn't get into an elevator I was so scared. I had to have someone in my living room waiting for me, just so I could take a shower. I remember thinking walking from my bedroom to the toilet, was a huge deal and I was scared to do it. I was in more hospitals and ambulances I can count. Now, I lead a totally normal happy life, with no panic attacks. I am completely med free. I work out at the gym regularly and go out often. I even drink alcohol again. I hope that if I share some of what I did, I can help others in need. Also, I hope that I can relay hope to those that feel they have none.
If you haven't been checked by a doctor, go do it. Just find out how your health is so you can rule anything out. Get the full on work up. I don't mean "OH MY GOD GO TO A DOCTOR!", I mean go get a full on check up just so you know where your health is at.
I am assuming what you have is anxiety...
There is not just one thing I did that fixed this problem, and it didn't just happen one day. I don't know exactly why or how I got better. I did so many things. But there are a few things I did that I think were indispensable.
Your nervous system is set on high. It's all set at such a high level that very little things can trigger your symptoms. I suggest you do what you can to little by little, slowly calm and nourish your nervous system, and cultivate peace of mind. What you want to do, is get your nervous system calmed down, so your body doesn't go right to adrenaline rush super fear mode so easily.
Drink chamomile tea. The only side effect I know of, is if it is taken in too large of doses, it can cause skin irritation and itching. I have yet to reach that dose.
1) I ALWAYS knew I would get better. I NEVER get panic attacks now and I KNOW I never will again. My body just does not go there anymore. Imagine if you could say that? Well, you can. But you first and foremost have to never ever ever accept that this is something you MUST learn to manage or deal with. We all feel fear at times. This is natural. All beings feel fear at times. But there is a difference between rational fear and anxiety disorder. I am better and many others are too. There is no reason you can't be also. ALWAYS know there is a way, and it is a healing process. It took me a year of healing to get better. It might take you a lot shorter, maybe longer. Regardless, if you treat this as something you can overcome completely and keep on trying, you will find that light. If ANYONE tells you that you can only mange anxiety and not cure it, ignore them and don't follow their advice. They have given up to the ununderstanding medical community that is far from understanding what we go through.
2) You must understand that doctors most likely can't cure you. I suppose there are exceptions to this rule, that's why I said most likely. But generally speaking, if you take medication for life, you are not cured. You are maintaining. Benzos are incredibly addicting. I know. I became hooked on Klonopins. You may need medication for the time being. If you are on them, it's ok. But what you MUST understand, is that the true healing will most likely not come from Zanax, Klonopns, Zoloft, Prozac, Welbutrin, etc. If you are on these drugs or not, the truth remans the same. That truth is anxiety needs to be healed at its source, not just managed. Use drugs as a temporary way to give you the strength to do the real healing. But they come with a price. Addicting and side effects. ALWAYS taper off meds even if the doctor tells you they are non addicting. Taper off very slowly.
In my personal experience, keep going from one doctor to the next caused some OCD and anxiety symptoms in me. There needs to be a fine balance of doing what you need to do to get better, and not getting too caught up in the constant searching for the next miracle cure. There are things you need to do as you can't just forget anxiety, but there needs to be this balance of getting healthy and still staying in the present moment.
3) Understand completely in its entirety what the mechanism of panic attacks are. They are a natural fight, flight or freeze system inherent in your body to help you in dangerous situations. The problem is, the disorder is when this mechanism is alerted when it shouldn't be. Then you add the 2nd fear. Ok, your scared. You start freaking out. Then what do you do? You add the 2nd fear. That 2nd fear keeps the whole thing repeating and going on. Work on having the courage to not add the 2nd fear. Understand this is all just one big glorified adrenaline rush. You have become a slave to your biochemistry.
4) Understand that your nervous system has crashed. Your nervous system has become ultra-sensitized and this is why you feel like a walking adrenaline-time bomb! This is not a permanent state of being! This is something that can be fixed! You need to nourish your nervous system and calm down. This is the healing I am talking about. Actually rebuilding and regenerating your nervous system. Once you are not so sensitized, you won't be so quick to panic. The body is always trying to heal itself. As you calm down, you will allow this to happen naturally.
5) You are NOT going crazy! I pushed my brain and my thoughts as far as they can possibly go. I twisted my mind in knots and watched the walls cave in, the world melt, and felt like I had 7 brains doing summersaults on top of each other. I was convinced at any moment my head will actually explode. It ALWAYS faded! These feelings always faded. Don't add 2nd fear to it. Just watch it and it will pass. Noone stays permanently like this. It WILL fade. Ride it out. Let it go. Let it pass. ALL THINGS MUST PASS!
6) Retrain your breathing! This I attribute to the most important technique of my healing. Learning the Buteyko breathing method. I do not endorse this, or get paid or affiliated in any way. This is all from the goodness of my heart because I can't stand to watch people blindly battle their anxiety without the proper tools. Do you feel you cant get enough air in? Do you yawn and sniffle a lot? Do you want more and more air? Assuming you do not have a heart or lung problem, this is your CO2/O2 mechanism offset. This is too complicated to tell you all about this here, but there is free info on the internet about Buteyko breathing for anxiety. It is mainly used for asthma but it works for anxiety. Patrick McKeown's book Anxiety Free, Stop Worrying and Quieten the Mind, was my main source for this. I promise you, I do not make money off this or am trying to sell you anything. He was certified by Buteyko himself so its a good read and it came with a meditation mp3 I used to practice 2 or more times a day. Basically, you breathe less and create a tolerable air hunger. It is contrary to what we've been taught of course. That is why it works! Breathing too much makes this whole fight or flight mechanism much worse! In some way or another, look into Buteyko breathing for anxiety. I basically used to use the MP3 that came with the book or I would just do as a meditation relaxing my mind little by little, trying to get my breathing less and less. Until I felt a slight but tolerable air hunger. I would keep that for as long as I could. Usually about 30 minutes. After some time, the CO2 would get rebalanced in my blood, and Oxygen would get delivered to all my cells I would get warm and feel incredible. I would feel my body nourished by oxygen like never before. It is always important to breathe through your nose! I Would do walks with my mouth closed and breathing through your nose. That helps to rebalance the carbon dioxide as well. There's a bit more to it, so I hope you tale some time to research it yourself.