Brain Barf

May contain traces of nuts.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Going places that I've never been.

SOOoooo, we're back to full blown panic attacks.
I had gone a year or so without even one.
I've had a lot of anxiety lately, you know it's that wonderful time of the year.
I've also been working crazy hours. Plus other stuff and regular life crap.
I thought I was dealing OK.
Until I had to pull over to the side of the road recently.
I hadn't ever had one driving before, and wow...a wonderful new world of terror.

What if my kids had been in the car?
What if I hadn't been able to safely pull over?
What if Officer Friendly had pulled up behind me and thought I was a drunkard?
What if this happens again?
Fun FUN stuff to add to the list.

I had another one in that moment right before you really drift off to sleep and it sent me puking into the bathroom.

My panic attacks have always been spontaneous and weird.
I don't have them during a lot of anxiety or in stressful situations.
Mine sneak up on me in random moments and lay me fully out.
Mine are debilitating.
In the worst ones, I get tunnel vision and sometimes black out.
In the very worst of times I developed agoraphobia. Woo!
My former therapist told me this was due to an attempt at avoiding further panic attacks.
Whatever, I'm not back to that point nor will I allow myself to ever be there again.

The positive?
This last round helped me identify some triggers.
I wasn't patient (hee?) enough with my therapist to get to this point (plus he was a dick) so I'm pretty thrilled with figuring this out myself.
Which, is essentially, the key. I get to choose how I react. Easier said than done obviously.

The triggers: I am highly sensitive to judgement and micro-management.
Which could also be phrased as: I was raised Mormon.

My husband deals with his stress by trying to control little things. He's been under a tremendous amount of stress lately.
For example, our daughter who has her learning permit, crunched the car when trying to back it out of our driveway: No big deal.
I leave the kitchen drawer open: End of the world.

I'm OK with being Jeffrey Dahmer, but don't tell me how to brush my teeth or wash the dishes.

In the big picture (what a lame term) a lot of learning and progress has happened.
For me, identifying the main triggers was beyond powerful.
For my husband, learning what shuts me down and evaluating his own stress processes has led to a lot of understanding, and bonding.
And...I'm on the road again.

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  • At Friday, December 21, 2007 8:23:00 AM, Anonymous wry catcher said…

    OMG, me too. I suddenly had two major panic attacks in November, and I hadn't had any for months prior to that. The second one I was actually worried was a heart attack, so I had to have a full workup by the damn doctor. Embarrassing and SO SCARY. Ugh.

    But this, THIS THIS THIS:

    "The triggers: I am highly sensitive to judgement and micro-management."

    Amen, sister. Seriously.

  • At Friday, December 21, 2007 8:32:00 AM, Anonymous JoeInVegas said…

    And what's going through my mind after that last sentence? (YouTube seems to supply an answer for every question, that and IMDB)

    But basically, you have panic attacks as a way to avoid having panic attacks? (time for a different therapist)

  • At Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:12:00 AM, Anonymous Randy said…

    I had very mild panic attacks everytime I went to WalMart for a week after Christmas this year, and I was in charge of any and all shopping while DW was recovering from complications of lasik surgery, so I was at WM every day. My anxiety at WM stemmed from the fact that it and everything else was closed on Christmas Day, leading my older son to have a massive Christmas meltdown.

    I had anxiety attacks at WalMart on a regular basis after we placed our younger son in his residential school--especially in the dairy and snack food sections of the store, where he used to have his worst behaviors. I suppose I associate WM with my kids so much that it elicits the anxieties I have about them more than anything or anyplace else can do.

  • At Friday, January 25, 2008 5:28:00 PM, Blogger Miranda said…

    Hey, Ms-C. Drop me an email when you get a chance,'kay?

  • At Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:08:00 AM, Blogger Vern Buchanan said…

    Like panic disorder, agoraphobia is one of several anxiety disorders. Agoraphobia may occur with or without panic disorder, but it is most frequently seen with panic disorder. If treated quickly and properly, panic disorder may not progress to agoraphobia. Once the condition progresses, it is all the more difficult to treat.


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