So, what's yer trigger then?

So, I’ve wondered from time to time over the past 10 or so years why I get a panic attack every time I go to the grocery store. Doesn’t make sense, you know? I’m the cook. I like to cook, I’m good at it, and I like knowing exactly what’s in my pantry. All of that is comforting to me, and you’d think the grocery store would be my playground. But no. Dread in the parking lot, nervous & tense to the point of tears (I’m not a big cryer, so that’s even more disorienting!) stalking the aisles trying wayyy to hard to keep it together, teeth clenched in the checkout, dangerously distracted driver on the way home, and barf most times when I’m safely home. And barfing is no joke with a Nissen fundoplication, lemme tell ya. What the hell, right? Well I finally sussed it tonight. It’s the goddamned 80s soundtrack they play in the grocery store. Doesn’t matter where you go, there’s the same format so it’s not like changing stores will be of much use. If it was on MTV, it’s playing hockey with my hypertrophic amygdala. So, OK I know the trigger now. I even know why it’s a trigger. But here’s the weird part. The antidote: Nicki Minaj. Christ on crutches I hate her music. Can’t find anything redeeming about it. But it chases away the 80s dementors, so what’re ya gonna do?

So sing along everybody! If you got the PTSD or random-assed anxiety attacks, what flips your switch? And how do you like to unflip that sucker?


OP, I hear you. Same issue, I want to run like the wind when I go in a big box store of any kind. There is a small Market close-ish to me that I don’t mind so much. No muzak playing. Lately, though they have one florescent bulb flickering. Drives me batty. I complained about it. The manager (a guy I know a bit) and just laughed. So I avoid that aisle, now. I don’t need no stinkin’ can goods anyway.

As a kid, I could never stand the sight of Roy Rogers’ horse.

Mine, right now, is making dinner. My son will only eat certain foods and argues about every meal. Then that turns into a fight about something else. My husband and daughter join in, and it turns into the worst part of any day. Just being in the kitchen is very stressful, and I love cooking.

People who think the word “then” is a punctuation mark.

This whole thread is frightening.

I don’t know how old your son is, but my stepson was an extremely picky eater. I came into his life when he was three and I decided that the dinner table would be a fight-free zone. My rule was no one could say “yuck” or anything like that. They could say “no thank you” and excuse themselves to get a yogurt and fruit, or a pbj. I just didn’t care if he ate what made, but I wasn’t cooking a bunch of meals. It removed all stress from dinner time and we just enjoyed each other. He ate well enough and started becoming more open to new foods.

Followed this rule when my kids came along. I also did things like deconstruct many meals- pasta with sauce on the side, or salad bar and make your own salad. That way kids chose what they liked, without it being a thing.

Maybe this can help de-stress meal time?

No real anxiety/PTSD type stuff, but I do get utterly depressed for hours on end after visiting my old hometown (the small St. Louis metro-east community I grew up in), to the point that even contemplating going there (for various personal reasons) can lead to a kind of mild anxiety and sadness even before I leave the house.

I go out to eat somewhere nice afterwards, a “treat” kind of place, like a sushi restaurant; generally picks me back up.

Can’t think of a trigger but I’m with you on the grocery store soundtracks, although in my area they are playing more 90s-2000s stuff. I don’t mind them so much pandering to Gen X and Millennials, after all I am Gen X, but they lack variety. For a long time every time I was in the store I heard Clarity by John Mayer, which is a good song but I don’t need to hear it out of context more than a couple times.

Then they changed the soundtrack a bit. So this month I’ve heard How Bizarre by OMC twice. One time it was followed by … Daughters by John Mayer :smack:

People in stores that are loud. People who don’t understand personal space. I don’t know you or your intentions when you’re in my space and it makes me feel stabby.

What makes me nervous in stores and restaurants are young kids who can’t stay still. They’re nearly always well behaved but, being children of a certain age, they have to move, move, move. I’m always afraid that one is going to be walking in one direction, suddenly change course and run right into me.

One time, I was at McDonald’s where there was a family with several kids. The kids kept getting up to get more condiments, napkins and drink refills. I had just gotten all these things for myself and was heading for a table when a girl passed me from behind and then turned right in front of me. She came very close to knocking my tray out of my hands.

GET OFF MY LAWN! No really your’re trespassing. The road is 100 yards that way. Didn’t you read the signs on the way in? And no I won’t call off the dog. Unexpected visitors or even invited people in my house. Can’t handle the personal space invasion.

Yes! The sign reading “PRIVATE ROAD. NO TRSPASSING” does not include an exception for those curious about “what’s back there”.

We only get one or two “visitors” a year, but I get pretty pissed off on those rare occasions.

Getting out into super wide-open spaces, like the prairies in eastern Colorado. There’s something about the flat flat featureless land that just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

It’s probably because I grew up in southern California and a mountain range was always in view. It gave a comforting closed-in, contained feeling. Being on a prairie in the midwest almost feels like being in space, and I don’t like it.

I’ve had that happen too, on the drive from Houston to Galveston. I also grew up between the ocean and the mountains and to be out there in the middle of … nothing … made me feel like I had lost all sense of direction. I felt like a compass spinning in all directions. Luckily it passed pretty quickly.

For panic attacks, I find that the worst trigger is going someplace where I’ve previously had a panic attack. I had one once at the LA Zoo and now, everytime I go there, I find it’s almost inevitably that I’ll have another one, mostly because I’m panicing about the inevitability of having another one. Stupid brain.

I’ve had several panic attacks at work or preparing to go to work. It really sucks not being able to get away to depressurize.

Until a couple years ago, Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” was a ubiquitous presence in overhead music. GGGRRRRRRRRRR

Last week, I heard this at the grocery store. When that came out, it didn’t get much airplay; who’da thunk it would 35 years later?

We have several drive-ups a year. Usually parkers looking for a hidden road. No one comes down my road unless I know it. So a strange car gets the gun out. I wouldn’t shoot unless they presented as criminals, but a tall woman on a porch with shot gun usually gets the vehicle in reverse quickly. My private road is clearly marked, they just cannot fathom someone living this far out. Deer season brings a few looky-loos searching for an place to poach deer. They scare me, cause I know they have guns and I am generally alone. A sheriff’s deputy would never get here in time to help me, if they could find it. Mr.Wrekker tells me to call a gamewarden if I hear shooting. They know the place. So there’s that.

I don’t have panic attacks, well, ever, but I do get anxious while driving faster than sixty miles per hour. Too much stimulus that I’m supposed to be paying attention to. Solution? Stay off the freeways.