Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Best Way To Manage A Panic Attack, Or Not ;-)

Today my social worker Jenn (the lady who takes me out shopping or too appointments and stuff) suggested I do my own shopping because she didn’t want to keep enabling me :-O! We had been talking about my latest panic attack at Farm Boy yesterday.  Although I agreed that yes I ‘could’ do my own shopping I warned her and sometimes I put it off and let the produce I am interested in eating daily run out for days before I ‘might’ force myself to go.

 I asked Jenn “Do you know the best way to stop a panic attack while in a store?” Jenn was like “What?” I guess it was just a trick question ie: just leave the store, right? But Jenn was trying to tell me alternative breathing techniques during a panic attack! Unfortunately other then ‘trying’ to deep breath, distract, or leave the situation during a panic attack, nothing seems to help for me.

 My last therapist was able to guide me through a few helpful, self soothing exercises to help prevent a panic attack however she warned me that I am supposed to practice techniques to relax in a relatively calm state. For example each day I could make an effort to practice something self soothing so that if I get into a situation of high anxiety I can have a positive and calming focus. Once you have the techniques down pat they come more easily during an actual panic attack. So, I’ve kind of been slacking in that field but I find it hard to have a daily focus when I am mostly depressed and anxious and just want to distract with TV and social media ;-).
Here is a cool video by Michele Rosenthal (founder of  with another perspective on events. The fact that ALL events are neutral. That is why we all respond to stress in different ways:
I’m still fighting this idea in my head that Jenn will NEVER take me food shopping again. She didn’t say never so I’m hoping to suggest food shopping when I see her again in 2 weeks ;-). Okay, I try right? My folks say they can help out as well but I do want to try to be independent. My big fear with the panic is that I will feel uncomfortable, that I will pass out and 911 will have to be called because I am in a public place, that I will have to be hospitalized and away from my cats. Yes those are huge! But I haven’t passed out from a panic attack but have had to sit down at “The Wheat Berry” because I was hyperventilating and dizzy. I was with a fill in worker at the time but I knew her so it was ok. I pretty much pretend no one else exists when I am with my worker(s) and it comforts me to have them to help me.
Although, it would be nice to go out to a coffee shop or fun things around Ottawa with my worker instead of food shopping.  She suggests stuff but I say I want to go food shopping, lol…but it helps me to eat right that is for sure, but still. I have to get out of this agoraphobic rut. There are no agoraphobic therapists in Ottawa unless you go to them 5 days a week or are in patient in a special program. I figure once I can go to appointments on my own with out staying up in the night having panic attacks or being unable to sleep then I may as well go to a once a week anxiety program and volunteer or get a part time job and try to meet people in the real world. Its been awhile!