I will start out by saying my goal in life is to give comfort, information, support and treatment options to all of those suffering from anxiety and panic disorders. My journey began when I was 23 years old. I was in bed asleep when suddenly I awoke to my heart pounding, my ears ringing, I was shaking and sweating over my entire body. I thought I was having a stroke or possibly a heart attack. I was taken immediately to the ER where they ran multiple tests which all came back normal. I couldn't believe it. I knew something was wrong with me but the Doctors told me repeatedly that I was fine and they could find no cause for my symptoms. This was the start to a very long, lonely, tormented life for me. I make frequent visits to the ER and my Doctors office only to be told over and over that I was ok. Finally one night I was in the middle of an episode when I called my Doctor and he screamed to me to never call him again. That was a turning point in my life because at that point I was not only terrified when these episodes came but I was also terrified to go to the Doctor for fear of being rejected again. It wasn't until approximately three years later when I was standing in my kitchen doing dishes when I heard on the TV in the other room several people describing the same symptoms I had been experiencing for the past three years. I ran into the living room and watched every second of the show. They called the episodes I had "Panic Attacks". Now that I had a name I thought I could find more information about them. You have to remember this was 1985, long before the Internet. I went to the library and as I expected there was no information about panic attacks. I called the talk show the panel of people were on and again ran into a dead end. It wasn't until around 1995 that I began to find information about others having panic attacks. For the first three years I had no idea there were others out there. I thought I was alone with this panic monster. Once I obtained the Internet and learned that I could create a website of my own I decided at that time it was going to be my lifelong work to be there for anyone going through anxiety and panic disorder. I spent every waking hour adding to the website so I could give to people what I didn't have when I first started having them and that was information. Also knowing that they weren't alone out there and didn't have to deal with this by themselves. I know that is going to sound odd, but I am grateful that I had panic attacks. The reason; it made me such a strong, confident person and I've had the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people over the years. I would never wish this disorder on my worst enemy, but being there for those who do deal with it has made my life complete.
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Best in Show: Community or Forum Nominee
I’m a Patient Leader