At last I was correctly diagnosed for the illness that I have had for so many years. I started having panic attacks in 1982, but I did not know exactly what was happening to me. At first I had short breath, I couldn’t breathe. I was feeling like my heart would stop and at times it beat fast. I would go outside the house needing air, I was feeling as if I was about to die. Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game's over. I'm outta here. I had these attacks and I went to Baragwanath and they diagnosed me as someone who have a heart problem, I continued with the treatment. But it couldn’t help because I still had the attacks occasionally. I went to different doctors, they told me that I had a low blood level. I have to eat proper food. I tried everything but it didn’t help me get the correct diagnosis.
Years went by and I feared that I could drop dead at any time. I became anti-social. I couldn’t go to parties, weddings and picnics, because I was scared that I would die at those places. Even when I was invited I could not attend any of them. I wanted to die at home.
I was living in the horror of death and life. I wanted to live happy and healthy, but because of these attacks, life was unbearable.
When driving my car I had to speed because I wished to reach home so that when anything happened I must be at home. At times when I was driving I had the attacks I would open the windows or stop on the road side, praying hard, thinking of my children.
These attacks came as if there is no air on earth – feeling as if I am floating and I would lose consciousness, and my heart beats fast or as if it will stop.
People couldn’t understand what kind of illness I had. I tried to explain, but nobody understood it. It was only my mother who supported me. She would boil water and add sugar or salt and I would drink that. Then a friend bought a YOU magazine and showed me the stories of people who suffer from the same illness I have.
We read the magazine and I phoned the Panic Disorder Group and spoke to Therry. She referred me to a doctor that specialises in the Anxiety Disorders. I expalined to him what I was feeling and he prescribed medication which has helped a lot.
I am now a member of the support group, and make a point of attending all their meetings. I am now coping very well with my daily routines, thanks to their help, the help of my occupational therapist and the physcotherapist. My thanks to YOU magazine for publishing the article on 2nd October 1997.