I don't even know what to do anymore

Not much to say, I’ve been having mini panic attacks all week, and it finally culminated in me realizing that I can’t even get into a movie because I’m too afraid to talk to the box office cashier worker person which triggered a giant hyperventilating mind racing, crying, near-vomiting panic attack. There’s more behind this of course, which I don’t feel like typing out because I only just got out of the “cannot think coherent thoughts” part of the attack. I actually started crying when I saw two people talking when I was walking home.

I don’t even know why I’m posting this, especially if I’m not going to give any useful information. I guess I just need to vent onto the intertubes. Sorry, good day. I’ll probably post more later. I need to watch a movie or shoot some zombies and bandits or something and calm down, preferably something without a friendship or romance subplot (which leaves me with… playing Space Invaders I guess).

Sorry, I know you don’t have to read it, but I really feel bad about posting something this stupid and self-pitying. I also feel compelled to post it for some reason. Sorry.

I’ve been there. It sucks. Feel better. Learn relaxation techniques. Get psychological help. Although they’ll relieve your problems for a while, stay as far away as you can from Benzodiazepines*. You think panic attacks are bad, just experience benzo withdrawals.

*A good doctor who knows you can’t stay on them might be okay, but DO NOT go on them for an extended amount of time. If you can, I’d stay away from them at all. Absolutely stay away from Xanax unless you want to be a druggie for the rest of your life: my doc says he’s never successfully gotten anyone off.

There are other drugs that will work. Just be informed, because too many doctors aren’t. Here’s a guide to benzodiazepines by one of the most reputable people in the field.

You can talk to us. We’re just zombies of a different sort, that’s all.

Now - breathe. Slower. Now slower still.

It’s going to be alright, really.

Lord of The Seals…I regret to inform you that your panic attack has been superseded by mine. I’ve been looking forward to it all week, and I shall not let you deprive me of it…

Plus I don’t want to have to fill out that damned form again.

If you could posssibly re-schedule yours for some time much later this evening, that would be peachy. Thank you so much.

Well that’s a barrel of… psychological fish (my ability to create amusing metaphors apparently wanes after a panic attack). I’ve not had good luck with psychologists. The first one was when I was little and addressed the immediate issue of fear of my dad, but I didn’t have any real issues beyond that then (or at least not ones that were immediately apparent). After that… not so good, the second one didn’t do much other than berate me for not doing things that were an effect of the issues. The third one told long, prattling stories without a point. The last one was okay, but kicked me out because he decided he couldn’t help me. Maybe CBT could help, I don’t know, but psychology and me do not seem to mix well, even the good ones said I was notoriously difficult to get to talk (though they said people with Social Anxiety tend to have that problem in general).

Xanax has no effect on me, literally. I took it 5-some-odd years ago and the doctor actually put me on 1.5 the recommended dosage for a little bit because nothing was happening. She said it was incredibly odd, but apparently I’m more or less immune to the stuff (we only tried it in the first place because the other stuff that I don’t know the name of made it worse, or rather it fixed the anxiety but amplified the depression).

I said I was going to shoot zombies, talking to zombies is generally counter-productive. I’ve stabilized now, which basically means I feel incredibly lethargic and have lost my [del]rapier[/del] wit.

Well, I’m just wrapping mine up so you can feel free to start yours any time. I don’t recommend it though.

I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that I can trace every single minute detail of this little bout of mini-attacks I’ve been having for about a week. It usually baffles me, it just annoys me that this time I can think of all the triggers and still not do a damn thing about them.

I have anxiety and depression, so I can empathize with you to a point. A quick fix for the movie thing is to use online tickets or a self-serve kiosk. That way, your only interaction with a person has to be the guy that takes your ticket, and you don’t have to say anything to him. Of course, I’m fortunate to live in a city that has a theater with such ticketing implements.

A large part of my anxiety in social situations stems from my being alone most of the time. I go to the movies alone and frequently eat alone. I always think people are staring at me and secretly pitying me, saying to themselves, “Aw, poor guy. He has to go to the movies by himself.”

Part of the time that I was in college, I ate by myself in restaurants rather than go to the Student Center Cafeteria. And I’ve always liked to go to movies by myself – although I don’t now that the theaters have become so large.

Eventually, I began to socialize normally and became a teacher.

But eventually I became more and more uneasy about driving to school. Then I didn’t want to go to school at all. Then I really didn’t want to leave the house. That’s when I retired.

Even now, I have to make myself get out because I know that it is better for myself mentally.

Panic attacks can vary from feeling just a little nervous and confused to feeling like a heart attack.

I hear that Cognitive Behavior Therapy is good stuff.

Hey Jragon. Do you know you can get Internet-based CBT? Maybe that would work better for you. If it’s difficult for you to talk about it, perhaps writing about it would work better. Internet-based CBT basically the same as session-based CBT, you get homework and exercises to do at home, but you write reports instead of talking to the therapist in person. There’s usually an initial meeting with the therapist that you have to do in person, but the rest you can do from home. I’m starting a course of Internet-based CBT in a couple of weeks, precisely because I don’t work well with meeting therapists in person. For me, it’s because I’m anxious to please the therapist and end up giving answers to score points and not to help myself.

Check if there’s something like it where you live. In the meantime, hang in there. :slight_smile:

Walpurgis - how would one go about finding such a thing?

I’m afraid I can’t tell you exactly what to do, since I’m in Europe (Sweden) and the process to get there is probably different. I went to my family doctor, who referred me to a psychiatrist, who in turn referred me to the clinic’s online CBT team. Here, there are both private and government-funded (in-hospital) CBT teams working with online treatment.

I googled “online CBT” and got some sites advertising online CBT treatment - but I wouldn’t contact any of those without consulting my doc or checking their credibility first.

Ack! I’m sorry if it turns out they don’t do this in the U.S. and I’ve gotten someone’s hopes up. :frowning: It’s just gotten so widespread in Europe over the last few years that I took for granted that it would be available in the U.S. as well.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Your not alone - happens to alot of people.

We’re going through this with my eleven year old daughter, right now. She’s recently been diagnosed with Aspergers (whatever that really means), and is now displaying extremely agoraphobic/social anxiety at the very thought of even going to the store. School is right out. She seems to have developed this condition overnight. Now, it’s gotten so bad, that she’s afraid she’ll become afraid of anything that’s not within these walls. So, we’re working with her therapist to try various things, but it looks like it’s gonna be a long, uphill battle.

I know that you know your fears are irrational, so perhaps try meditating on that? Try using your intellect to overcome your short-circuting involuntary instincts?

Also, is there anything recently that just happened to you to have exasperated the condition?

(Best of luck, Jragon.)

It’s okay, while I think that would be great for me (I also have a tendency to “please” the psychologist, I’m very forthcoming even to the people that I couldn’t say the same things to irl), I’m not sure it would be as functional. The reason is simply that a lot of somebody’s persona is body language, and I’m not sure the help could be as accurate without being able to see how I shell up or do whatever it is I do.

Normally I would, but this was a showing at my University’s theatre in the student union of Nightmare Before Christmas. They’re not a “movie theatre” like Century or Gateway in that they show a bunch of films that you can buy tickets for, it’s just a single room that they show stuff for, usually older stuff. You have to buy tickets at the door (not even really tickets, it’s a hand stamp). The anxiety didn’t come solely from talking to the person (though that was part of it), but rather the fear of asking for something that’s so dynamic. What if it wasn’t the movie I wanted? I mean, yeah, it’s posted outside on the board, and I even grabbed a flier for it, but what if I’m wrong?

Ugh, I’ve gotten far past the “thinking about it stage.” It’s gone past irrational fear to rationalizing the fear by proxy of having an irrational fear (yes, this logic is more or less begging the question, doesn’t help). It’s literally become (truncated version) “nobody will want to hang out with me because I’m so anxious/depressed. I’m a downer because I have social anxiety and I don’t want to subject people to that.”

Yes, very yes. I know exactly what caused this one for a change. It was a mix of different stressful situations, but when I thought about it, it wasn’t the individual situations, but their links. There were two discrete networks of anxiety that came into play here.

One was that last Thursday I met a girl that I managed to get a huge crush on. She managed to hit that rare “fits not only my initial criteria, physical and personality-wise, but hits all those little ‘minor frills’ as well.” I probably would have gotten into the movie fine if I hadn’t found out about it while walking with her in a group to study for Japanese midterms (she found a flier for the slew of Burton movies playing this week which I also picked up because I love Burton movies). It really wasn’t a fear of bumping into her or anything, but rather the fact that the events were anxiety from getting the crush and the anxiety of talking to the cashier were linked in my mind. I also, as I said above, had Japanese midterms which are sort of baseline stressful, and linked by the fact that she was in the impromptu study group that formed for it.

I always get a mini panic attack when I get a crush on someone. But this is the first time I got a crush on someone who actually had a boyfriend (didn’t see them together, but she mentioned her boyfriend once) and I feel guilty about even having a crush on her. Once again, logically, I know that’s not something I can really control, but I still feel bad about it.

The other “network” is that Spring Break is coming up. It was the last time I really had a friend I could just do stuff with, and did stuff with all the time. In 7th grade (Sophomore in College now) the Thursday of that Spring Break was the last time he came and hung out with me. I always get a little extra anxious and stressed around Spring Break because of that. This little thread actually manages to tie with the other one for my major panic attack.

My partner for the Japanese Oral Midterm (there’s a small section with a partner conversation) and I got along well while we were practicing, but I always sort of get discarded after these things. I get along with the people, but never really make friends. Even if I’m not “forced” to be with someone, and just naturally talk with someone in/after a class a lot, I’m always on the “outer group” of circles. Like, I can be friends with every member of a given circle, and if they bump into me we may talk or something for an hour, but I never get invited to do anything or get anybody’s contact information. I’m not sure if I’m offputting somehow, or if my social anxiety generates the vibe that I’m trying to “get away” from them (which I don’t want to, but I’m not sure what signals I’m seemingly emitting), but I never really get anywhere with people, even if I talk with them a lot incidentally. (The panic attack happened the day after the written midterm, so no more contact).

When I started having some serious panic attacks, I begam looking into physical reasons why. I knew that my brain was really scared of all the things happening, but it pissed me off that my body was fighting me in a time of stress - even though that’s natural. I found that it seemed to be caused by a deficiency in B-vitamins, and more specifically (IIRC) niacin. I started taking a supplement containing that, and the anxiety subsided greatly. I’d still get anxious, but it was manageable enough that I could say “this is an anxiety attack” and not “HOLYFUCKIAMHAVINGASTROKEONTHEHIGHWAYINEEDTOPULLOVERNOWNOWNOW”. Just a thought.

Are you exercising and eating right? Every little thing helps.

I’ve had panic attacks and there are definate steps to take.

  1. Get an appointment to see your regular doctor.

This is the most important step. You need to see if anything is wrong with you. Usually there isn’t, but once you rule everything out, like low/high blood sugar you will be more confident.

  1. Realize you’re not afraid of the situation you’re afraid of having another attack. This makes is a cycle. Keep telling yourself, “This is distressing but not dangerous.” You will not die, you don’t have a heart attack and you definately don’t go crazy

  2. Meds do help this alot. First get some tranquillizers to calm you immediately. Just because you took Xanax years ago doesn’t mean it’ll effect you the same now. You need to take these short term meds at scheduled times not just when you’re nervous.

  3. Long term antidepressants work wonders. Remember an antidepressants isn’t a “upper.” They are mood stablizers. The meds of choice include Paxil which worked wonders for me. I was TERRIFIED of airplanes, I was 100 times worse than you, but Paxil I got on the plane. I don’t need it anymore, but without Paxil, I doubt I could ever have gotten on that plane. I still don’t LIKE flying but now I can do it.

Imipramine is another great antidepressant but it has side effect, these are annoying not dangerous. Usually stuff like dry mouth (which can be counteracted by chewing gum) and constipation (eat some extra prunes).

The problem with anxiety is the only way to beat it is to live through the experience. Just concentrate on getting THROUGH it. For instance, your movie example. Sufferers will go buy a ticket and be upset they aren’t enjoying the movie and have a worse attack and be setback. The point of going to the movie isn’t to enjoy the movie, it’s to get through the alloted time. Even if you have the anxiety attack for the 90 minutes the movie is playing, the important thing is to remain in the theatre not to enjoy the movie or even to have peace.

There is a great and I mean great book, now out of print, but you can get it online called “Stop Running Scared.” Anyone who has ever had anxiety worries should get this book.

I’ve been through panic attacks several times, and mine were MUCH worse that what you describe. The first time I didn’t use any drugs and it took me about 3 months with a counsellor to get through them and five months to be 100% normal. They came back about 10 years later in a time of extreme stress, this time I uses Imiprimine 'cause I didn’t have time and had to work two jobs to live.

With Imipramine, I stopped having the attacks within 2 days. Now that’s really unusual and may be a plecebo effect as it usually takes uip to six weeks.

A lot of people are loathe to use meds, but look at it like this:

If I have a headache I can go into a dark room, lie down, with an ice bag quietly for 2 or 3 hours and my headache will go away. Or I can take an aspirin and in 15 minutes the headache will be gone. Both ways work it’s just a matter of time and preference

Lastly I also recommend exercise and books on tape. One if you’re body is worn out it is that much less able to produce nerves. It doesn’t have to be exercise, try cleaning your flat, washing your walls (that’s very tiring work) and stuff like that. Get a book on tape and a walkman and listen to it while you go out. This distracts the nervousness cycle and you get to read books. Check out your local library for free books on tape

Overnight at age eleven? She hasn’t had a lot of strep infections lately, has she?

When I was a teen I had attacks so bad I would leave school, but I never told anyone because I thought I was just stupid. In the early eighties we didn’t know about all these disorders. At least teens in my area in the eighties didn’t.

As I got older they got worse. I remember many times walking out of the grocery store because I just couldn’t handle facing the cashier. I rarely went out and dropped out of college at the first assignment where I had to stand in front of class. I tried to go back but then they required immunizations be updated, and my needle phobia was so bad there was no way I could even go into a doctor’s office, much less get shots.

The worst battle I’ve had though, was the panic I started feeling after some really bad plane crash dreams. I was on the ground; the plane was always crashing nearby or coming toward me. The dreams didn’t come that often, just enough to make me start developing a phobia of planes. Particularly low flying planes.

I live in Memphis, right in line of dozens of daily Fed-Ex flights. My life eventually became hellish. I fended off maybe 20 panics every day but at least one or two would bloom into full-on attacks. Every single day.

I also developed a fear of falling asleep. I had to take two benadryl and couldn’t get into bed until I was practically stumbling. I couldn’t sleep in the dark or quiet. My Mig has a hard time sleeping with light and sound so it really messed with him too. I’m really glad I didn’t look into anything stronger than Benadryl because it’s been hard enough to break that habit!

I’m getting better now, but only because of the Zoloft. I tried to wean myself off the stuff but the attacks came back and hit me hard. With zoloft I have an occasional attack. Planes don’t bother me anymore, and I can take my little girl to the doctor without fearing needles. I think maybe I’ve grown out of my social anxiety though. I love talking to strangers now, as long as I don’t have to make phone calls or go to job interviews. I don’t know how I’ll ever get to that point and it scares me.

I know I’ve rambled on but I just wanted you to know you’re not alone. My oldest daughter also has the phone/cashier/asking for help issue. I wish I had advice other than the standard “get professional help”, but I don’t know your insurance situation. I have none so I order my meds online. All my loved ones know about my problem so that helps. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. EVERYONE has problems, some are just more obvious.

Don’t Panic

There. I helped. :smiley: