all stories

"The world was once my oyster; now, it was my prison."

Kara Baskin familyBack in 2006, I had it all: A loving fiancé, a coveted publishing job, a supportive network of friends and family. I was living in Washington, D.C., where I went out almost every night to press parties and trendy restaurants. In my spare time, I…

"It was a long process with many setbacks. But as I worked with a counselor and psychiatrist and slowly began to recoup my strength, I became very determined to get my life back."

L.A. Nicholson GAD Story of HopeMy descent into GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) began the morning I received the call bringing the news of my mother's accidental death. It was the same week that my husband was laid off. We had moved across the…

"Eventually, I began a tailspin that I am convinced led directly to losing my job, further intensifying these unidentified, uncontrollable, and fearful feelings."

I had my first experience with severe long-term depression at age 23 when a series of events converged simultaneously. I couldn't sleep, and my lack of appetite had me losing such a significant amount of weight that I feared I would end up in the hospital. I forced myself to eat and eventually gained back the weight, and later an appetite. Being on my own at this age in the late 1980s with…

" I was astounded to find no place with others who were going through the same thing, no tidbits on what I could do right now when I needed it most. That?s when I took out a notebook and decided it was time to create AnxietyInTeens.com. "

Solome Tibebu, personal storyI’m 21 years old, and besides my busy schedule as a full-time student the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, keeping a regular running and yoga schedule, work, and trying to balance a social life, I am…

"Feeling intense shame and a nagging fear that people would think my attacks were all in my head, I decided to hide my symptoms from even my closest friends and family. "

Holly Youmans Kammier GAD Personal StoryI've suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, coupled with panic attacks for more than two decades.

My first major attack struck during a bathroom break in the…

"The tyrant in your head will second-guess you no matter what you do. That voice of dread is terrified, terrifying, loud, and repetitively destructive. Demote it by making it your pesky backseat driver. You can steer without it."

Becky Wolsk Personal Story OCDEpisodic OCD burdened me for over a decade, from my college years until 2006. Self-punishment made matters worse, as it does for everyone. I compulsively checked the coffee maker to see if it was off…

"I advise anyone dealing with OCD to find a competent therapist who specializes in this illness."

Janet Singer-OCD-personal-storyMy son Dan was in college, and by the time I arrived at his dorm, he had not eaten in more than a week. He was spending hours at a time sitting in one particular chair, hunched over with his head in his hands, doing absolutely…

"Anxiety and shame seemed to come out of nowhere. She felt as if she were going to jump out of her skin. "

The anxiety and shame started when Diance was 25. She was sitting in a pew at her church, where she is active in the ministry. It seemed to come out of nowhere. She felt as if she were going to jump out of her skin.

Diance doesn’t know why she felt so anxious. But she knows what she saw when the feeling overwhelmed her: a nearby woman wearing a v-neck sweater.

For…

"I had a great aha moment: If I could change my thoughts, I could also change my feelings."

Melissa Binstock-websize"…

"A friend asked me to explain what things I couldn't do. I answered that it would take much less time if I simply listed those things I could do."

I have chosen to focus on my healing, and to say only a few words about my long period of suffering. Chances are, you already know – firsthand or secondhand – more than you'd care  to know about the suffering! My own suffering had its unique form, but essentially, it was no…

"On the outside I was a confident person with everything going for me, but I was a nervous wreck who just wanted to get away from it all. "

I have lived all my life waiting for the game to be over. Feeling anxious and sick to my stomach before high school games, I’d say to myself, “I just can’t wait until the game is over so I don’t have to feel this way.” I was so fearful that I’d make a mistake, disappoint my coaches and family, and let my teammates down. This feeling has stayed with me ever since. Rather than be honest with…

"I remember getting so nervous that I would have to leave class and go to the counselor?s office. "

Looking back, I recall first experiencing a panic attack in the sixth grade. I remember getting so nervous that I would have to leave class and go to the counselor’s office. Until I was 16, I was in and out of psychiatrists’ offices. It was a challenge to find a psychiatrist that I could connect with. Throughout junior high and high school, I still experienced anxiety and panic attacks. And …

"I had an overwhelming foreboding that something terrible was about to happen to me, and I wouldn?t be able to escape. "

My college life was enriched with family, friends, sorority sisters, successful academic achievement, and a loving boyfriend. But one night, a terrifying new element was suddenly added. Lying in bed, I began to sweat profusely. My heart was racing and I could not stay still. I had an overwhelming foreboding that something terrible was about to happen to me, and I wouldn’t be able to escape.…

"The only difference between Brian and most other children is that while he is at school, he is mute. "

My 5-year old boy has a cherub's face with a hint of mischief in his beautiful green eyes. Brian dances to silly music and entertains us with his antics. He tells his brother to leave him alone and he teases his sister while she does her homework. The only difference between Brian and most other children is that while he is at school, he is mute.

He will not raise his hand to…

"I felt extremely isolated from my friends and family because I couldn't explain to them what I was feeling. I had no idea what was wrong with me."

Many people know Ricky Williams as the Heisman Trophy-winning running back who had it all — fame, money, and talent. Selected as the fifth NFL draft pick out of college, he became a celebrity overnight. With a successful career underway, who would believe that this football sensation who played for crowds of 100,000 dreaded the thought of going to the grocery store or meeting a fan on the…

"I found it most ironic; I was someone who enjoyed groups and events, and here I was hamstrung with a phobia that made me detest groups, particularly functions involving a meal."

The summer before my senior year in college, my mother died of lung cancer at the age of 57. I dealt with my loss privately, as I had handled most of my problems throughout adolescence: I repressed my grief and kept moving. I avoided talking about my mother's death and I continued my college work and social schedule as if nothing had happened.

Some six months later, my repressed…

"Each day I tried a new goal. Sometimes it took three or four tries to move forward, but I never went backward."

My story is much like others’ who suffer with panic disorder. Look at a list of symptoms and you’ll see mine.

My first panic attack occurred when I was 14. Later I would have them while driving on the interstate – so I stopped driving on the interstate. I had them at movie theaters or concerts – so I stopped going to those places. I stopped going to the mall, to the grocery store, or…

"Was I going to spend the next 40 years making clever excuses about why I was unable to participate in living, laughing, and being whole? "

Rita ClarkAfter more than 20 years of not going to a grocery store, restaurant, or public place alone, not driving out of my safe area and not attending school functions for my children, I began my difficult recovery from panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety…

"One day Rita read a newspaper article describing the symptoms of panic disorder and agoraphobia. At that moment she discovered she wasn?t crazy or weak."

An evening spent playing bridge with other couples was always fun for Rita, but one time it became a nightmare. Dealing the cards, first her hands began to tremble, and then her body shook uncontrollably. Terrified, she ran to the bathroom where she fell to the floor crying. She didn’t understand what was happening to her, so she told her husband she was ill and needed to go home.

That…

"I felt a tingling sensation spread throughout my chest. A sudden fear of death seemed to come from nowhere."

My name is Jacob. I'm 20 years old and this is my story:

It all started on what seemed like a regular day in my sophomore year of college. I went to all my classes and got back to my dorm room at about 5 p.m. When I checked to see if my roommate was in yet, I found him lying on the floor by his bed. He had died of a heart attack at 20 years old.

I felt as if I had dealt with the…