Panic Attacks

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Feeling down but I have things to make me happy

I'm expecting 3 packages today. Bones coffee, Grandma's peanut butter cookies, and a jar of roasted garlic onion jam. I'm trying to make myself happy. I took a shower last night and it made me feel cranky and uncomfortable. I almost had a panic attack last night but the shower helped stop it from happening.

I feel kinda sad but I don't know why. I am celebrating my birthday on Saturday this weekend. Me and 3 of my friends are going to a Polish restaurant. I'm gonna get pierogi's and kraut. I'm very excited. I don't see my friends very often so this will be a treat. I'm gonna also go out for donuts with my caseworker on Thursday. I've been craving donuts for months. I'm trying to focus on the good stuff.

Less than 3 weeks till I turn 40.

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I’m new here!

Hi, I’m here looking for some support, a community to lean on when times get too hard and too heavy. I survived a severely abusive relationship, narcsssistic psychological abuse , with a bit of physical and sexual involved as well. I deal with flashbacks and triggers and though I manage them about 80 percent of the time now, flashbacks will creep in and I end up with the most horrific panic attack that leaves me depleted and scared. I have a 7 year old child who is absolutely amazing, was the happiest , silliest most empathetic little one , but was recently diagnosed with OCD (germ fear) and anxiety, it’s been really hard to adjust to new needs, new personality and in a way I feel like I’ve been “ grieving “ how things used to be for her and for us. I was a single mom for the first 3 years of my child’s life (fully single , no other parent involved in any way, no dating on purpose) it was just us two and life was gentle and beautiful (among the regular hardships of parenthood) then the abuser came in , and covid came in, and we were stuck in a bad dream/nightmare for two years straight . After escaping , we met my current partner . he is gentle and kind , but for the first year he was very depressed and wasn’t treating me well, we have come a long way from that time but it still haunts me and just sort of piled on to the abuse of the past. I’m healing from so many things and I can’t see the light. I was this vibrant person with an amazing community of friends , music , fun, and now I feel lonely (my abuser drove a lot of people away). my current partner is a lovely person who definitely feels remorse for the things he did during that time , and I see him working on it every day so I want to be able to a) forgive him and move forward (because we truly do have a fulfilling and beautiful relationship / bond and b) I want to be able to find happiness and confidence within my self again. thank you for reading my long introduction! I appreciate it ❤️

#MightyTogether #PTSD #Anxiety

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The thing I still can't talk about

I’ve been pretty open about my mental illness for years, but there’s still one thing I can’t talk about: my intrusive thoughts. Earlier this week, I had a nightmare. My intrusive thoughts were scribbled all over my clothes and people came up to me to read them. I felt exposed. It sent me into a spiral. For whatever reason, I can manage my bipolar disorder with meds, but managing my intrusive thoughts is a different story. They never fully go away. They’re sticky like honey in my brain and despite how hard I try to let them float on by in my mind, I still judge them anyway.

When the thoughts invade my dreams, I feel on edge because I worry about sleep talking. I often wake up from the sound of my own voice. What if I start sharing the thoughts in a dream state? What if someone hears? This paranoia extends into many areas of my life. And I guess, you could say I have “safety measures’ in place to counteract my fears. I sleep with the air conditioner or a fan on. In case, I confess the thoughts in my sleep. Will the fan drown them out, keeping my secrets at bay? To further complicate things,  I thought I was going to have a panic attack leading up to anesthesia. Will I share my thoughts in an unconscious state? The anesthesia turned out fine despite all of my worry. I basically tortured myself for nothing.This routine and pattern of thinking becomes exhausting. I feel like I’m always waiting for something to go wrong.

It’s hard to explain. Medication has brought me some relief, but I almost don’’t know what to do with myself now. I try to stay in the moment and observe my surroundings… But, there’s still a great fear of losing control.There’s still so much remaining anxiety even when the thoughts occur less often. I’m still dwelling. I still anticipate the thoughts or associate them with things. Why do these thoughts cross my mind at all? What does it mean? Have I hurt or harmed someone without realizing? It’s not an easy road to navigate when I’m still filled with so much doubt.

I wonder what it’s like to be normal. To not carry this burden all day long. What do people with quieter minds think about? It would be nice to no longer be at war with myself, I’ve spent so much energy fighting the thoughts, which of course makes them worse. Doubt seeps in. I want to wrap myself in some sort of cocoon and let the thoughts float by freely, instead of responding to them. I’m slowly trying to retrain my brain. I’m not sure how much better I can get. It’s hard to imagine this going away completely. I still work myself up into a panicked state due to anticipation or expectation that the thoughts will come even if they don’t. Even if they’re occurring  less. Any of the thoughts at all creates a form of self loathing that I can’t shake. I don’t know how to fill the blank space and new emptiness in my mind. It’s not an easy transition. The merry go round continues as I dwell in anxiety and swim in. I think the worst of myself. I worry others would think the worst of me if they knew my intrusive thoughts. I’m working on practicing kindness to myself.

On top of judging myself, the stigma around intrusive thoughts even extends into our own community. I’ve seen people attack and demonize others with the same condition simply because their intrusive thoughts were different. They jump to conclusion without any pause or consideration. It makes it harder to open up and share. It also adds another level of shame. How do we get passed the stigma or judgement when it exists within our own community? Avoidance makes things worse. So, this is my first step in taking power away from the intrusive thoughts by actually admitting I have them, even if I’m not ready to share them yet. Today, I let go of some of the shame.

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My Experience with Group Therapy

Almost a decade back, I went through a long period of chronic low-intensity depression. The trigger was a job loss.

I had been working as a TV journalist covering health and one day what I had been fearing, came to pass.

I had not been doing well at work- I knew that I could be fired anytime. But, I was just paralyzed and could do no better than wait for the proverbial axe to fall.

But when it did, I became mentally dysfunctional. I lost confidence in myself, i had nil energy and was full of an extreme sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

Perhaps, the most bizarre thing is that I couldn’t identify these symptoms as depression, even though I reported on health.

But, why am I talking about this today? Because, I feel that even though I did recover eventually, I never reclaimed my whole self as a professional and a woman.

Taking stock of my life I realized that un-resourceful behaviours and thinking patterns have held me back in forming healthy relationships as well as setting goals and following through.

I saw the harm these were doing to me and wanted to cut back on the crap.

Better Late than Never

I reached out to a mental health organization where I was told that I could seek a face-to-face session with a psychiatrist or participate in their group therapy session.

I opted for the second. Guess, I was only willing to take small steps and meeting a psychiatrist was still too extreme a step for me.

What is Group Therapy

Group therapy is usually prescribed to people who may be suffering from a gamut of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, social phobia etc.

It involves at least one mental health professional and two or more people in therapy. The group dynamic steers people to feeling better as they feel supported and this helps them achieve their goals.

Mental Wellbeing is a Valid Self-Help Goal

Mental wellbeing has been on my bucket list for a long time. My other goals are improving my physical health . What I feel is that if you are not 100% right in your mental and emotional bodies, you will not experience complete health. The body will rebel as it’s already under a lot of trauma.

Self-help for women, I feel, should and must include checking in on whether they are feeling happy and joyful. And if they are not, they should do something about it. A sense of feeling empty is a definite red flag.

My First Day in Group Therapy

On the day of my first group therapy session, I met two psychologists and three people.

The psychologists were present during the entire session and they were trying slot the issues each one of us was facing.

One of the participants was dealing with depression and had been prescribed group therapy by her psychiatrist. The other two were trying to make sense of their anhedonia and sense of disconnect from normal life. I was seeking support for my social anxiety and self-limiting thoughts and behaviour.

Prodded by the psychologists, we started talking about our issues. I was surprised that I was able to share the traumas that I have never spoken about to even the people closest to me, so easily. Perhaps what helped me was that no one was judging me here and that I felt safe and supported.

I have a major problem of being judged in social situations. A participant helped me deal with this by sharing how she deals with her anxiety. She said she dialogues with her anxiety, instead of ignoring it. She actually says this to her anxiety- “I can hear you. But, please give me 10 minutes as I am doing this important task and then I shall be ready to give you my full attention after that.”

I also tend to tune out while listening. I either get judgemental or lose interest. But I was so invested here. I was looking bang into the eyes of the speakers and feeling so connected.

Sharing my experience of being in group therapy, I remember saying that never had I met such self-aware individuals in my life and that I had opened up about some of my worst wounds and was feeling healed.

This was my first session and there is literally a long way to go… But, I do feel proud that I have been able to break out of my shell, face my demons and am willing to slay them finally.

Therapy, I feel, is an investment in myself and deciding to begin therapy is a big step forward.

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Here is my day/how is yours going?

I went to my boyfriend’s house last night to try to feel safe. My sensory swing is here and he helps so much with my panic attacks and flashbacks and dissociation (as much as anyone could).

Now I’m sitting on his couch while he is working. His dog is here and always sits with me, touching me, grounding me. I’m watching Z: The Beginning of Everything on Amazon. I’m checking in on here to try to remember I’m not alone. I’m checking my emails and setting up appointments for next week.

Things are moving and I’m trying to lean into the support I am getting, despite it feeling uncertain and scary.

What’s everyone else up to? How is your day going?

#MentalHealth #CheckInWithMe #Anxiety #PostTraumaticStressDisorder #PTSD #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #ADHD #ChronicVestibularMigraine #Migraine #Agoraphobia #PanicAttacks

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Hoping these RSO capsules kick in before my panic attack does vent 🫠

I’m feeling low today. I had a hard time leaving the bed, which is completely uncharacteristic of me.
I had another family member delete me from social media. My support feels like it’s constantly dwindling the more I come forward about the stuff I have experienced. The more I set up boundaries and appropriate expectations, the more trauma I endure. I am systematically removing people, but I am also in a very vulnerable place with the amount of battles I am fighting. I need support but I am losing the natural supports I had. Which obviously weren’t as supportive as they let on.
A lot of my de-realization has been impacted by the fact that the people who were “supports” were people who loudly, boldly, professionally declare themselves helpers. And the world believes it. They are people who work with disabled or needy populations. They tout their volunteer efforts as “personal experience” when they haven’t ever had to beg for anything like I have had to. They don’t get that their volunteer experience does not reflect my lived experience. They also keep forgetting that I too have that professional experience and volunteer experience. I am very rational and logical and yet they write me off as defensive
It’s also really hard to get new support when I don’t work and am constantly in crisis so meeting new people is… not in the cards in this moment. I have tried many ways to make new friends and when my symptoms are more manageable, I work in this. I do have support from my boyfriend. It’s just relatively new and I feel really scared because of past relationships/unreliability of people. He has been really understanding and accommodating. He helps a lot with the shame I feel on a constant basis. He always reminds me it’s not my fault- not the trauma, not the way people are treating me, and not my symptoms (especially my embarrassing, child-like panic attacks 😳)

I *know* all of the things about having to accept that people aren’t going to always be respectful and setting up boundaries etc. it just feels like it’s never going to get better. I know it will. I just need to vent about it because i am feeling really alone today.

#Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #PostTraumaticStressDisorder #PTSD #Agoraphobia #PanicAttacks #ADHD #ChronicVestibularMigraine #Migraine #Disability #MentalHealth #CheckInWithMe

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Agency meeting

I had a meeting today to discuss “medication” which quickly transitioned to everything else that has been happening with the agency that violated my rights so egregiously.

I finally feel somewhat heard and there still aren’t any answers about immediate housing and safety

My advocate was there and helped me get back on track and stay grounded. I had a really bad panic attack yesterday and she quickly responded to my email even though it was late. That was reassuring.

There was a lot of talk about the “tone” of the meeting, about me being “angry” and how it may be misplaced. I think I did a really good job describing how unbelievably patient I have been with all of this despite not having appropriate support or my basic needs met. I also pointed out how long I waited before even bringing it up and getting angry. I’m not going to have my anger pathologized. Of course I am angry. I am unsafe and haven’t been heard or respected. My advocate also did a good job reminding everyone that my anger is justified.

They tried to dodge a few things and gloss over things but I had answers for it all. They used terms like “won’t” instead of “can’t” and made things sound like choices I was making rather than symptoms I am experiencing. The agency even stated I chose to move out of the county. I was like “I had no other choice. I never wanted to be displaced and every place has become more and more dangerous.”

I definitely saw how strong of an advocate I can be and I had answers each time they tried to blame me.

It was very clear that I wasn’t making any of it up and that they did irreparable harm. I pointed out how many times they misrepresented information and how many people in that agency failed me.

After the meeting, it was affirmed that there are conversations happening behind the scenes (people are talking about the things that are happening- I am getting through on some level). I do believe that because I have heard that more than once. Me using my voice to share my experience isn’t getting as lost as I thought it was. 🤞🏼

The overseeing agency made sure to get dates about when things will be followed up on. I know they will be held accountable now. I have far too many people who were at that meeting and who saw that when I asked direct questions they glossed over it. And that was basically confirmed at the end.

Thank you to everyone who is following this ridiculously long saga

#Anxiety #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #PostTraumaticStressDisorder #PTSD #Trauma #Agoraphobia #PanicAttacks #ChronicVestibularMigraine #Migraine #MentalHealth #Disability #ADHD

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When or where do you feel the most at ease?

When you live with anxiety, your symptoms — including the intensity and the frequency of them — can be different from day to day. Some days can be especially challenging and difficult to get through, while others render more manageable. And, depending on your circumstances, navigating which type of day you’ll fall into makes it feel like even more of a roller coaster.

For me, connecting with my body and knowing the coping strategies or spaces that help me feel at ease has made all the difference in getting through those tougher days.

I feel the most at ease when I’m taking a warm shower in the middle of the night, relaxing in my dim-lit room, rewatching my favorite YouTube videos or shows, cleaning/organizing, spending time with my family, or setting up a game plan for the week ahead.

I’m curious to know what are other people’s experiences. What places or things help you to feel at ease?

#Anxiety #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #Agoraphobia #SocialAnxiety #PanicDisorder #PanicAttacks #PTSD #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #Depression #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #CheckInWithMe

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