The hardest thing about writing any article about mental illness is figuring out where to start. So, I'll just begin with the facts: about two years ago I was diagnosed with a severe panic disorder, which is essentially a problem with the autonomic nervous system the fight or flight response where I constantly feel that I'm in danger. This led to agoraphobia (which is loosely defined as the fear of being in a situation where I'll have a panic attack), then to depression, and ultimately to the scariest of them all: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). According to my doctors, they believe that I was genetically-predisposed toward having these problems, but that a stress event (in my case, being laid off from a job and facing significant financial problems) sparked them. While the prognosis is good in some cases panic disorder is expected to be completely curable it's not so good in others: OCD is something I'll likely have to live with for most or all of my life.
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