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Author Topic: Getting on with life?  (Read 294 times)

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Offline mubski82

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Getting on with life?
« on: January 13, 2014, 08:34:30 PM »
G'day everyone.  :action-smiley-065:

I am from the land down under and have been suffering panic attacks for the last 9 years.  I have been unable to identify the specific cause of them and as a result of i have had to stop doing the things that i used to love doing.  It is a long story, as is everyone's and the main issue as the topic states is that i am wanting to be able to get on with my life and try to live it as i wanted to or as i was doing 9years ago.  I used to work the winter season both down under and in Canada until i had to stop doing overseas seasons and just working the aussie winters.  The main reason for this was my fear of flying that had arisen.  Sounds simple, however i had been flying my whole life as my dad was and still is a pilot.  I gave up working the aussie winters as it was not economically sustainable to just work the aussie winters and  then struggle to try to find work for the other 8months of the year.  I now work in a supermarket which is employment year round.

I now have a fiance who is a number of years younger than myself, but age doesn't, however i am starting to get very upset or anxious with  myself that i am holding her back from doing things, living her life and experiencing the many things that life has to offer. This is also bugging me and has been now for over nine years. 

Everytime that i think of doing anything for just me or for both of us whether it be going on a boat ride, train ride to catching a plane and travelling the world i get anxious and worrying about panicking.  There have been numerous instances where we have gone to catch a train into the city and i have began to panic just thinking about the idea.  When standing at the platform i get very anxious and the normal symptoms start to appear like getting sweaty, heavy breathing, racing heart and the feeling of a huge lump in my throat.  It seems to get worse as the train approaches and then stops and the doors open.  I then try to get up the courage to get on the train, that is if i havent already talked my self out of it before there is even a chance to board the train.  What i have been finding is that when i actually board the train, or monorail, or cable car, or bus or boat i start to panic and the vast majority of the time have gotten off before there is time for the doors to close or the 'ride' to close it doors and pull away.

It is so frustrating to myself knowing that for the first two thirds of my life (20+yrs) i was able to all of these things without worrying and panicking and worrying about panicking and what if i panic. I am not really sure what i am looking for on this site but i stumbled upon it and was reading numerous blogs and it gave me a great feeling knowing that there are many other people out there with issues just like myself. 

I guess that in a nut shell I would love to be able to travel the world again, and take my fiance with of course to experience life outside our suburban walls.  I have seen my GP who diagnosed me with Panic Disorder/GAD about 8years ago.  I have a script of Xanax which i still have tablets left from the original script.  I have used them but not on important things like catching a train (more so underground), or going on a boat cruise or catching a plane as i just start to worry too much about the what if i panic, have a panic attack, chicken out or worse so have a panic attack in the air heaven forbid.  My fiance is wanting to travel on a plane overseas as she keeps talking about it and i myself would love to as well but am just to worried about panicking before whilst waiting to board, hile waiting on board for the plane to depart (worst time for me is waiting) and panicking while on board in the air and what people around me including air crew will think. 

I do understand that there is a vast amount more of information that is bottled up inside my head and that i have not put in this post but want to start somewhere and get my thoughts out there without boring people.  Does anyone out there have something similar or have any input or suggestions in regards to this??
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Offline Lunatone

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Re: Getting on with life?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 02:33:05 AM »
Your problem is apparent in your second sentence. You're looking for a cause of panic attacks. But thats the thing about panic: if it was rational, it wouldn't be panic. There is no cause, that's why its so horrible. Its a positive feedback loop - you get scared or anxious or panicy. You respond to those sensations by avoiding them. This just increases the idea that there is some threat out there. Soemthing to be afraid of. This causes even more panic.

And then it repeats. Forever. Or until something happens. This is one of my favorite pictures to explain it on an overly simplified level: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Stampede_loop.png

The only way, and I cannot emphasize this strongly enough.. .The only way to stop your panic, is to refuse to give in to the fears, and refuse to act on the impulse those fears cause. Its not easy. Its horrible, and it takes a long time. But it is the only way. When a situation comes up that scares you... don't run. It makes it worse. This is true for 100% of panic situations. And there's no other way to make it better.
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Offline e77

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Re: Getting on with life?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 05:29:21 PM »
Anxiety disorders can be debilitating so I can fully understand your struggle.  The toughest people in the world would struggle with it as well if they have this medical condition.  Soldiers who suffer from post traumatic stress experience similar thoughts, feelings and sensations and is debilitates them so try not to be too hard on yourself.  Recent research points to genetic traits making some individuals more susceptible to this condition.  Developing a program to cope will help.  This includes counseling with a cognitive/behavioral emphasis and meeting with a psychiatrist to determine if medication will help.  Learn as much as you can about this condition to demystify it.  Dr Claire Weekes, doctor from Australia, wrote excellent books about what she called nervous suffering.  Great material about what you're struggling with.  Oh, by the way, I would update your script as eight year old medication has long ago expired.  This is a great site to learn more about how others cope.  Best wishes.
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Offline LuLu82

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Re: Getting on with life?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2014, 01:36:31 AM »
i don't have much help to offer as I am in the same boat but I just wanted to reply that I completely understand and am going through the same thing :action-smiley-065:

"it is so frustrating to myself knowing that for the first two thirds of my life (20+yrs) i was able to all of these things without worrying and panicking and worrying about panicking and what if i panic. "
This line stood out to me because I get angry sometimes thinking of everything I used to do for most of my life and suddenly the past four years have been a hermit. I went to a music festival all alone once and now the very thought makes me feel shaky.

LIke the poster above said exposure and such is really the only thing that will rewire our brains and help us.  The benzos helped me a bit overcome really low points and the more you try things the more confidence you gain.  Just a few months ago I was at rock bottom, I barely could take SHOWERS...I would take lightning fast showers with some residue from shampoo at times left over........then I thought my life is small enough I just have to stay in the damn shower and I did and that got better...so with practice and reexposure it WILL get better when the time is right to really commit to it maybe with the help of a psychiatrist.
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Offline e77

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Re: Getting on with life?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2014, 11:48:10 AM »
Doing the things that trigger anxiety/panic, especially the things you want to do is important,  I mean you got to live your life, but the key is how to cope with the anxious mind/body sensations while you're doing it.  If its medications to get you through, than go for it.  I play in a band and also happen to be diagnosed with panic disorder.  Honestly, as many times as I have played, the exposure hasn't cured me so I do what I can to participate, sometimes I resort to klonopin which helps a lot.   Nobody's going to put on my tombstone what medicines I take or have taken to get by.  Take care   
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Offline mubski82

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Re: Getting on with life?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2014, 07:19:48 PM »
Thanks e77.  I have been thinking about that lot lately.  That is taking the medications.  I went on a boat cruise a few months ago which was just a short journey lasting no more than an hour and a half and was within a kilometre or two from land at all times and probably had 50 or so people on it.  I was amazed that i did it however i had taken three xanax tablets to calm me down which seemed to do the trick.  I am always hestitant to take the tablets because i dont want it to be a crutch but at the same time it may just be a bandaid in which i can slowly pull it off (decrease the amount of tablets).  On the same note it is possible that the exposure treatment doesnt make things better and heaven forbid worse as you have mentioned that your exposure to playing in a band has not gotten any easier.

However i guess the only way is to keep trying the little or smaller things and try to do them as many times a possible and hopefully it does get easier or i become more desensitized to it.
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Offline e77

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Re: Getting on with life?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2014, 09:08:27 PM »
There are a lot of medicines to help with anxiety today and is worth talking it over with a psychiatrist.  It could help, but like you said, exposure could help too, so can CBT therapy and lifestyle management like diet and exercise.  Worth exploring with a counselor who works with anxiety disorders.  You can manage this thing. 
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