mental health and travel
This is a question that struggles to find a satisfactory answer, but I think the answer is yes. I had anxiety attacks from 2004 – 2014, they were very serious from 2004 – 2006. Five hours a day, six days a week for those two years. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t think, love, live, leave the house, cook dinner, learn anything or enjoy anything. It was two years before I tried a new medicine that made me feel better and enabled me to work at recovery.
My anxiety attacks in present day are gone, prevented – by the things I learned from 2006 onwards and my awesome medication that I am still on today and think of with actual affection.
Clozapine was touted to me very positively in 2006 after I had tried many others that had little or no effect (Haloperidol, Risperidone, Amisulpride, Olanzapine, Aripiprazole, Chlorpromazine…). I had been hospitalised in 2006 after a spectacular panic attack that began at 6pm on a Wednesday. I took nine of my chlorpromazine (I was on four a day) in desperation for something to end the panic. Never intended as a suicide thing at all, I just wanted the panic to stop and my meds did help a bit in that they sometimes sedated me slightly. So nine hours later (it was my worst anxiety attack. Nine unfathomably long and hellish hours of horrible panic, as if it was delivered with focussed vehemence by Satan himself) and after three hours in A and E I was sectioned and a resident for the fourth time on the local mental health ward.
Some people just don’t get panic attacks. Let me tell you that if you meet someone who has them, you need to be respectful. If I meet someone who has partly or fully recovered from them, then that’s it, I will respect them forever.
Meanwhile in 2006 I was locked up and on a mental health ward again. My Doctor told me about a medicine called Clozapine. “Pete, Clozapine is used as a last resort for people who haven’t responded to anything else. It’s new, it was introduced about five years ago. Some people have found it to be nothing less than a miracle cure.” So I started. A week later my panic attacks had nearly cleared up. They went from five hours a day to once a week for just one hour. It was a huge and as you can guess, welcome change. It clicked with me. Results vary. Different things work for different people, some are more attuned to benefitting from holistic treatments, I know several such people. Some get better from therapy, some from support from family and friends, some from exercise, some from meditation, some from medication. I think most people, including me, benefit from incorporating the whole range of options. Clozapine started me off down the road to beating my psychoses and anxiety and along the way I’ve included a bunch of stuff to compliment and solidify a very satisfactory recovery. In present day I have no desire to get any better, I probably have less anxiety problems than the normal confident person, I worked hard and was lucky. I do have an awareness however that I really wouldn’t like to slip back into any anxiety problems, but I’m doing very well.
Writing helps me a lot. For five years I’ve been writing about mental health and now I have a lot of smarts about mental health. I can always find the words. I’ve examined the subject. I can think, love, live, leave the house, cook dinner, learn anything and enjoy anything. If Clozapine was not an option, the journey to wellness (and indeed a very deep and meaningful happiness) might never have begun.
So for me the answer to the question “Can you prevent anxiety attacks?” is yes, but it might take time. So hang in there. Persevere, have therapy, talk about it, learn stuff, pick up wisdom and tips, ask your doctor about Clozapine, realise that anxiety is often only temporary.
But I have met people that have had very quick recovery from anxiety attacks too. When I worked on the local mental health ward (the same one where I was a patient five times) as a peer support worker recently, a patient was very unhappy with panic and anxiety, to the point where he was cutting himself and quite seriously too. He spent a month on the ward, then went back home. I saw him in a local pub a week later and it was like talking to a different person, he was friendly, confident and chatty. I am sure that some people are able to spend time on a ward and then go straight back into their regular lives and do really rather well with immediate effect.
I think there must be cases where a person sees a psychiatrist for anxiety and gets a medication that clicks with them and it clears up very well for long into the future, but then I’m an optimist and a humble blogger, even if I have worked on a mental health ward, written a book about recovering from panic attacks/anxiety and serious psychosis, paid attention and searched for tips/wisdom for about 12 years, have a great support network including two trained mental health nurses for parents…thanks for reading and I wish good mental health to all.