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Tips on avoiding panic attacks

Discussion in 'I Need Some Practical Advice' started by Lulabelle, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Forum Pro SF Supporter

    I'm really struggling with leaving the house. It's hard enough if I'm with a trusted friend or my husband but almost impossible on my own. The only time I've gone out on my own in since New Year has been to see my CPN and I had a major panic attack and had to go home.

    I have an appointment to see him next Friday. He wants me to meet him in Costa in town. And he wants me to go alone. I know I'll be fine driving there but the nearest car park is a five minute walk away. I'm already getting myself into a right state just thinking about it. Just the thought of having to walk from the car park to the shop and walking in there alone is making me feel sick with worry.

    I've been given some lorazepam by my psychiatrist to help with panic attacks but I'm really hoping to get through it without taking one.

    Any tips or advice on how to manage this? I'm soooooo tempted to phone and cancel but I don't want to let him down and I know it will be good for me to get out again and out of my comfort zone.

    Urgh!!!! Help!
     
  2. Winter Blues

    Winter Blues SF Supporter

    Hi Lulabelle, I’m afraid I’m of no help other than to say I’m right there with you. My anxiety of going outside on my own has just started and getting worse. My thoughts are with you and I hope you get the support you need and deserve. Huge Hugs xx
     
    Lulabelle likes this.
  3. JulieDegraw

    JulieDegraw Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who used to have anxiety of the outdoor. I remember him telling me that wearing sunglasses helped him a lot. Something about hiding his eyes behind them.
     
    Lulabelle likes this.
  4. Ash600

    Ash600 SF Creative SF Supporter

  5. Gonz

    Gonz Well-Known Member

    No promises any of this will work for you, but this sounds a lot like me so this is what I would do (assuming I managed to show up at all).

    I use breathing exercises when my anxiety gets near panic levels. It’s far from perfect, but it’s helpful enough to be worth trying.

    When you get to the car park, just sit in your car for a few minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing; you want to breathe in a slow steady rhythm. Not fast and shallow, but not too long and deep either. Try to shut out any sensation other than the air entering and leaving your lungs. If you can maintain that rhythm for a couple of minutes without thinking about anything else you should feel your heart rate start to slow. When that happens, slowly let yourself become aware of the world around you again. You want to do that in stages, continuing to control your breathing the whole time. Just listen at first, then open your eyes and slowly look around you, then step out of the car. While you’re walking try to time your steps to the rhythm of your breath.

    The idea is to be so focused on the things you normally do automatically, breathing and walking, that there’s no room in your mind for all the little thoughts and worries that provoke the anxiety.

    Other than that, try to get to the shop just a minute or two late. Not late enough to be rude, but just enough that you’re sure he’ll be there before you. That way, even if you have to walk in alone, you won’t have to wait around.

    Good luck!
     
    Lulabelle likes this.
  6. nobodyknows71

    nobodyknows71 Forum Pro SF Supporter

    I found it very hard to stop the world spinning when I was having panic attacks about a year ago. The palpitations, sweating, nausea but you can control it. What I found helpful was to go with a game plan. Know your route from car park to costa. Plan checkpoints along the way to map your progress. IE I’m going to go from car to car park exit. From car park exit to.... you get the idea. Instead of thinking of the walk as a whole break it down into smaller chunks.

    It work for me. I still get anxious but have not had a full blown panic attack in about eight months.
    Check out the link below I found it very helpful

    https://www.opentohope.com/grounding-techniques-to-deal-with-panic-attacks/


    Good luck Lula. Let us know how you get on.
     
    Lulabelle likes this.
  7. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Forum Pro SF Supporter

    Thanks :)

    I'm trying to build up to Friday by going out in public every day this week. Yesterday I managed to go into our local post office to buy stamps. I put on a hat and sunglasses (thanks for that idea @JulieDegraw ) and wore my headphones so I could concentrate on my music in the queue. Luckily there was only one person in front of me so I was back in my car in a couple of minutes. But it went better than I thought it would.

    I have a GP appointment this afternoon. My GP is only a couple of hundred metres away but I do have to go along the main road. I normally drive there but today I'm going to walk. Nick's at home today and said he'll come and get me if needed so I have a backup plan.

    Tomorrow is going to be a big one. My mother has found a lump and is being sent for a mammogram and has asked me to take her. I really can't say no however much I want to.
     
  8. JulieDegraw

    JulieDegraw Well-Known Member

    Cool. Glad the idea about the sunglasses was useful :)
     
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  9. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Forum Pro SF Supporter

    Yesterday was bigger than expected. My mother didn't actually read her appointment letter... We turned up expecting just a mammogram but it was the full works - mammograms, ultrasound, biopsies, and we had to be there for five hours! I did have a bit of a meltdown and had to resort to a lorazepam but made it through.

    Today I've felt totally exhausted so haven't left the house.

    Feeling sick with worry about tomorrow already. Urgh! This is SO stupid! This time last year I wouldn't have thought twice about it :(