When I was 9, I had a "accident" in front of my entire school in an assembly, of which, I still remember like it was last week. Even though I'm 18 now.
I ran out of lessons having panic attacks
I was always a pretty "worry wort" kind of person, but it's that particular event that made my school years a living nightmare in constant fear that I, despite how old I got, may do it again. I dragged my parents to the doctors convinced something was wrong with my bladder, I ran out of lessons having panic attacks when I knew the teacher wouldn't let me go to the toilet, I dehydrated myself, because to me is was more important to not need the toilet than to be hydrated.
My fear made my anxiety snowball into Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Of course, this fear sounds completely unethical and ridiculous. But it was also this fear that made my anxiety snowball into GAD (generalised anxiety disorder). I've lost count of how many panic attacks I've had out of the blue. And it was these panic attacks that prompted attention from my friends. That's the massive problem with mental illness; unless you're lying on the floor unable to breath no one bats an eyelid, and no one can see "something is wrong".
I believe that not talking about my problems, I have made things worse for myself
I never told my friends what was wrong, because what could they do anyway? If I couldn't help myself how could I expect them to? So I told them nothing about the panic attacks or why I was having them, or what it stemmed from (some of my friends and the people at my college was in that primary school assembly, and don't remember, thank god).
I believe that, in not talking about my problems and keeping things from my friends, I have made things 10 times worse for myself. And maybe I would feel differently now if I had talked to my friends the second my anxiety sky rocketed.
I now realise I must take care of myself, I must talk before things go downhill
I am in no way "normal" again still, I still go to the loo twice before I leave the house, I still worry obsessively, I still go through depression as a result of my anxiety. But, I am now old enough to realise I MUST take care of myself. I MUST talk to someone before things go downhill. So I plucked up the confidence to go see my GP, who put me on beta blockers and set me up an appointment with the councillor.
That was around Christmas time, and in May I'm now being passed on to a high intensity therapist. So obviously things aren't perfect just yet. But without talking about my problems I can't imagine where I'd be now! I'm having fewer and less sever panic attacks now, I now stress more about an exam than I do wondering if I'll need the toilet during it.
Remember it isn't your fault
I think the most important thing with having anxiety disorders is to remember it isn't your fault, you're not a freak. Anything that is causing anxiety and is making life unbearable IS worth talking about.
And most of all I cannot stress enough how much of a difference talking to your friends makes. A non judgemental, caring, loving chat is sometimes what turns everything around.