Let me explain

Since I briefly told you about some of my struggles in my last post, I thought I’d take the time to explain them & include definitions of each one for those out there that

1. Just simply do not get it. 

2. Don’t. Believe mental illness is real or that it doesn’t affect people’s daily lives. 

3. For the lucky ones who don’t have a mental illness (it’s hard to understand when you personally don’t have it or are not affected by it.)

4. Just to clear some things up!
Panic disorder-is different from the normal fear and anxiety reactions to stressful events. Panic disorder is a serious condition that strikes without reason or warning. Symptoms of panic disorder include sudden attacks of fear and nervousness, as well as physical symptoms such as sweating and a racing heart. Panic attacks often mimic heart attacks and many people hyperventilate when they experience them. Over time, a person with panic disorder develops a constant fear of having another panic attack, which can affect daily functioning and general quality of life.

Panic Attack – SYMPTOMS

~Difficulty breathing
~Pounding heart or chest pain
~Intense feeling of dread
~Shortness of breath
~Sensation of choking or smothering
~Dizziness or feeling faint
~Trembling or shaking
~Nausea or stomachache
~Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
~Chills or hot flashes
~A fear that you are losing control or are about to die

Beyond the panic attacks themselves, a key symptom of panic disorder is the persistent fear of having future panic attacks. The fear of these attacks can cause the person to avoid places and situations where an attack has occurred or where they believe an attack may occur which can often turn into Agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia – is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

With agoraphobia, you fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line or being in a crowd. The anxiety is caused by fear that there’s no easy way to escape or seek help if intense anxiety develops. Most people who have agoraphobia develop it after having one or more panic attacks, causing them to fear another attack and avoid the place where it occurred.

People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place, especially where crowds gather. You may feel that you need a companion, such as a relative or friend, to go with you to public places. The fears can be so overwhelming that you may feel unable to leave your home.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder– (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life.[1] Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels. These symptoms last for more than a month after the event. Constant thoughts and replays of the traumatic event tend to occur.

Side note*– I will always have Panic Disorder, I struggle till this very day with it, it comes in waves in my life. I can have good months and do whatever I want without having any panic attacks at all.

I was Agoraphobic for about 11 months when I was 16-17 years old. During this time I did not leave my home. At all. I have not had any issues with agoraphobia since then.

I suffered PTSD for about 4 years, which turned into delayed onset PTSD. I will explain what caused my PTSD in another blog. I still have some symptoms of PTSD (replays in my head, fear that I will see things I saw again, dreams, etc)

So, as for right now I only have panic disorder, which is definitely manageable, difficult at times, but no longer have agoraphobia or PTSD.

I hope this has helped anyone who has been confused at to what these specific illnesses are, or helped others who suffer from these specific things feel not so alone. Because you are not, 30%of the United States population has a mental illness.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or just want to talk to someone. I know how it feels to feel alone & scared.


You can reach me by email at any time at


Still I Rise,

Kirsten Fouquet


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