Panic Attacks: It Never Ends

First ever panic attack:    Grocery Store.
I fought back against the panic monster.  Conquered.

Second major panic attack:  Football Game Bleachers.
Again, I fought back.  Mostly conquered.

Most recent panic attack:  Driving
Now I’m fighting back against this one.  I’m getting there.

I. AM. TIRED.

It never ends.   As soon as I get one under control, I have another panic attack –  In a completely new type of situation.  Why?  What are we doing Lord?  Just mixing it up?  Keeping it fresh?  I don’t wanna play this game anymore!

My first ever panic attack was in line at the little grocery store in our little town.  I didn’t know what it was at the time but thanks to the internet I figured it out pretty quickly.  I freaked out a lot first and then came up with a plan to regain control of my life.  It’s called exposure therapy and it works. I went back to that store every day that my son had pre-school and made myself deal with it.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it into the store.  Some days I just cried in my car.  Other days I went in and just came back right out.  Some days I went it, got a peanut butter cup, stood in the blasted line and made it out alive.  The candy bar was my reward. :)  Eventually I was even able to go to Walmart and stand in those LONG lines.  I got better at it and stores aren’t really a problem for me anymore.  Most of the time.

Then I had a huge panic attack in the bleachers at a football game.  That one was much worse than the first.  It was harder to fight back against but I did it.  I had to.  My kids play sports so I needed to deal with it so I could be there to support them without looking like the lunatic that refused to sit in the bleachers.  (At the football games that works, but not so much at basketball & volleyball games.)  This one took a long time.  I can do most bleachers OK now.  But going to away games and new places with new bleachers always freaks me out at first.  And there are some concerts and college basketball games that I haven’t yet gone to because of the bleachers (and the crowds too I guess.)  But, I’m getting there and this one is kinda under control now too.

And Now… My big driving panic attack.  Actually this isn’t the first one I had while driving.  The one on the way home from the beach was pretty terrible.  It was a high traffic area, lots of stress, too much caffeine from my pepsi max….and on a road that I hope to never be on again.  That isn’t a situation I will have to face again anytime soon so I can let it go and move on.  But this last one was different.  It hit me harder I think because it’s something I have to deal with on an on-going basis.  It’s part of my daily life now.  We were just headed to the orthodontist.  And guess what?  We’re going back there tomorrow.  yippee.  My daughter was in the car with me and I scared her.  She thinks I was sick.  I told her I thought I was going to throw up and that’s why I pulled over.  She doesn’t even know I was having a panic attack and she was still scared!  And guess what?  Now she is a trigger for me!

I’ve been doing better fighting back against this one finally.  It was pretty rough at first.  But I have to do it.  I’m a mom, which means I’m a chauffeur.  I’m getting pretty OK with my other kids in the car, but if I know I’ll be driving Kid2 somewhere I take an ativan about an hour before hand.  Crazy that my daughter is my trigger!  That’s sad!  Of course I’ll never tell her that.  Never.

I can see how the panic monster could quickly take over a persons life – to the extent that it is debilitating.  If it weren’t for my kids and having to do this for them, I’d probably just crawl under my covers and stay there.

Guess What I’m Doing Tonight

No Panic Attacks Please! School Assembly

Today is Kid3’s awards assembly in the hot hot hot cafeteria.  It is 86 right now.  And humid.

I wonder how much it would cost to install air conditioners in the cafeteria.  Thousands I’m sure.  That’s how much I hate to go there and sit and sweat.  I was actually thinking about how I might work to make that donation to the school!

Not gonna happen.  Heck , we don’t even have central air in our house.  Hubby lugs those big things up the basement steps and puts them in the windows every summer. He put the downstairs window air conditioners in yesterday.  But he had to stop since it hurt his back.  Probably wait another week or so and then get the ones put in the bedrooms upstairs.  (I try to help him lift them but he says that makes it harder. )

I’m sure somebody somewhere is working on making smaller, lighter but still powerful window air conditioners.  Maybe even ones you somehow install permanently in your wall?  If this is already happening and you know about it, please tell me!  That would be fabulous.

Anyway, I’m trying to prep myself for the day.  Not off to a very good start.  I didn’t get enough sleep last night.  I drank 2 cups of coffee today – not a smart decision.  Deep breaths.

I am not freaking out.  I’m nervous about it but I’m not freaking out.  That right there is progress.

There is a stomach bug going around the family… I was very tempted to fake sick and just not go!  But I won’t.  I promise I won’t.

Of course because I want to be there for Kid3.  But probably even more than that… Thursday is Kid2’s assembly and it is a bigger deal.  6th grade graduation from the grade school.  Kids are giving speeches, there is a photo slideshow, there will be cake.  (My kid isn’t giving a speech.  Hmm – wonder where she got her shyness from :/)

I need to go today for the exposure therapy.  A success there today will make it easier on Thursday.  And that is one that I can not fake sick to get out of.  As a mom of course I would want to go – I wouldn’t miss it!  As a panic attack sufferer – I don’t want anywhere near the place.  That is ongoing dilemma in my head :(

I am going today.  I will go Thursday.  I will just do it.

Thank God today for ativan!

Fighting Panic Attacks This Time of Year

The Christmas hustle & bustle gets me every year.  Busy, Busy, Busy.

Friday – We put the Christmas tree and decorations up.  We made 16 dozen cookies.  We cleaned the house etc for company.

Saturday – Kid3 to doctor in AM with pink eye.  Yuk!

“Cookie Baking Day” at my house.  Family started showing up around 10am and the last few left around 10pm.  This is an annual tradition that I love.  We host it every year.  (Hubby hides all day – only stopping in occasionally for food. ) Fun, but tiring!

Sunday – I had no motivation and did the minimal amount required.  This put me behind for the week :(

Monday – Monday is always ‘catch up’ day.  Catch up on work stuff that happened over the weekend.  Catch up on house stuff that was neglected over the weekend.   I rarely plan appointments etc for Mondays just because it is catch up day.

Today is also a basketball scrimmage for Kid3.  I did not go.  Hubby took him.

TuesdayBack to the eye doctor.  Kid3 gets his first ever pair of glasses.  Kid2 gets new lenses put in hers.  I get to pick up my contacts.  Feeling ok about going back.  This visit will be shorter and we will not be back in those little rooms :)  Plus we were just there and I survived so that was a confidence booster.  Thank you exposure therapy.

Wednesday – Christmas Concert at school.  I survived it last year.  I had a good time actually.  Of course I will fret about this the most this week though.  I really hate hot crowded auditoriums!  Hopefully hubby will go too.  Not for me, for Kid1.

Thursday – Hubby & I are supposed to go Christmas shopping.  This will be fun if I can find time to plan in advance.  I have to make lists and see what I already bought for everyone – especially the kids – so I’m sure it’s going to balance out OK.  I don’t worry about the exact number of gifts, or the exact dollar amount, but of course you want it to be fair.  And I have other family gifts to buy too.  We have a Christmas party on Saturday. We exchange names so I will HAVE to have those present done.  Yay for deadlines I guess.

Thursday night Kid3 has practice so that is just a little bit of running around.

Friday – Nothing is on the calendar!  Yippee!  Ha.  But really I will be going to the grocery store if I don’t on Thursday, prepping food and wrapping gifts etc for Christmas party on Saturday.

Saturday – Kid3 has a basketball game at 4pm.  Christmas party at my brother’s house is at 5:30pm.  Not sure if hubby and I will just go opposite ways, and they will meet us there after the game… or if we will all go to the game and then all be late for the party.  That would work if I was not taking hot food.  Don’t want it sitting in the car for 2 hours…  We’ll figure this out later I guess.

The kids go to school until next Thursday and then are off until Jan 3rd.  Hubby is off work the last week of December also.  Hopefully that will be relaxing, not stressful :)

I had all of this swirling around in my head today and needed to type it out.  I was getting quite anxious, feeling like this week was going to be dreadful.  It doesn’t look so bad now.  Really I think the Christmas concert Wednesday night is the only thing I really need to freak out about.  LOL  Obviously I don’t really need to freak out about that.  But I have been.  I think I will be calmer now and not feel so overwhelmed by all the activities this week.

My plan for the concert: ENJOY the music.

I used to love this kind of thing.  I want to love it again.  I am determined to love it!

I find it interesting that right around this time last year, I wrote a post called.  “Busy Week – Lord, Help me to not Panic!”  This is definitely the hardest time of year for me.

Anxiety & Doctor Appointments

Doctor Appointments are hard for me.  Being trapped in the little room is something I hate!  The annual gyne exam is the worst.

– I had my regular checkup.  Ativan helped.  I had a new physician’s assistant and she was nice but very inquisitive.  Made me uncomfortable.  And now since I’m 40 I’m supposed to go have a mammogram.  Ummm – we’ll see.  It’s scheduled for some time in January.  And they gave me a form to go have my bloodwork done – checking blood sugar, cholesterol etc.  Actually forgot all about that until right now.  No idea when I’ll get to that.

– I also had an eye doctor appointment, then the next week Kids2 & 3 had one.  Two weeks in a row.  Great exposure therapy, don’t ya think?  And we will probably be going back next week to pick up contacts, glasses etc.  I want to say “It was fine!” so very badly, but it wasn’t.   It wasn’t too bad though.

– Kids had an appointment to get flu shots.  We went there directly after their eye appointment.  Another little room to sit in and wait.  Thankfully it was a quick visit!

Concession Booth: Checked off my List.

Last night was the last Thursday night I’ll spend at the concession booth until next year.

This was one of the things on my “To Conquer” list.  That’s my list of things that I need to work on – my way of fighting back against panic attacks. Situations / places get put on that list as they come up usually.  If I am avoiding something because I fear having a panic attack, then it needs to go on my list!

Last year I completely avoided the booth with lies about not ever being available whenever it was that they asked me to work.   I guess a whole football season of guilt & lies bugged me enough to want to conquer it.  So this year I was determined to do it.  Step by step.  Exposure therapy :)

Well Thursday came, I went to the booth at 4:30 to open.  Pretty much as soon as I got there I realized I forgot to take an ativan.  I FORGOT.  That in itself is amazing.  That is always a sign that I have made progress!  When a situation is making me horribly anxious – I don’t forget to take my ativan.  Ever.  So yay that I forgot!

Then I had a quick “what if” kind of moment, pushed it out of my head and got to filling the crockpot with nacho cheese.

And the evening was just fine after that.

There is one more varsity home game.  I’m not scheduled to work it.  But if they call and ask, I will say yes :)  And then there is a Powder Puff game that they plan to have the booth open for.  I may or may not be done in there until next year.  When we start up again next year I hope it is easy for me to get back into.  I can always come back and read these posts can’t I?

I want to check this off my list for good.

Exposure Therapy.  Step by Step.  Little by Little.  Baby Steps.  Whatever you want to call it – It works!

1 – I found an opportunity that allowed me to be involved but avoid the crowds on Friday & avoid entire evenings in the booth – they needed someone to open the booth for all Thursday games.  Me!  Me!
2 – I asked a friend to share the “opening” responsibilities with me.  This made it less scary.  I just told her we could be each other’s back-up in case one of us couldn’t make it.  (Most of the time we both made it.)
3 – The first time or 2, I left as soon as possible.  As soon as any other help showed up, I was out of there!  (My friend often stayed the whole time just cuz she was having fun.)
4 – I started hanging around a bit longer and helping to serve some too.
5 – I agreed to (got guilted into) work the Friday night Homecoming game.  I pushed through and I didn’t hate it at all :)
6 – I FORGOT to take ativan yesterday before opening for the Jr High game.  And I lived.
7 – I’m writing this post about it.  I will read this again next year when the football schedule comes out :)  And I will know that I already checked the concession booth off the list.  No need for it to be put back on!  Done :)

THANK YOU LORD for not giving up on me!

The Concession Booth was so much FUN!

Follow up to Working the Concession Booth .

It was so much fun.  Want to say I told you so?  Go ahead – I won’t even mind cuz you were right!

I’m glad my sis-in-law helped too.   She is a people person and loved working the front with the customers.  I served up approximately 175 hot dogs.  lol  That was my station.  There were 9 of us working the booth and we got BUSY.  It was fun though!  We laughed a lot.

Kid2 came home from school puking on Friday so hubby stayed home with her.  He had no intention of going anyway until I decided to work the booth.  Then he said he was going to go at least for a little while.  That changed when she got sick.  So then he just asked me a gazillion questions about how long I would be staying.  (There is just a bit of jealousy in that man! )  Ha.

I stayed the whole game and to clean up afterwards.

I was supposed to be there at 5:15.  I took an ativan at 3pm cuz I was starting to overthink it and I could see it getting out of control in my mind very quickly.  I wanted to put a stop to that and really do it!  Then I took another ativan at 5pm, just as we were getting ready to leave the house.  My nerves were getting to me. I haven’t taken 2 ativans the same day in a really long time.  I’m not proud of that.  Next time I will do better!

Oh, and I was a bit nervous about seeing old schoolmates that I haven’t seen in years.  The booth was perfect for that.  I could see out into the crowd pretty well and I could clearly see the customers.  I smiled and waved at a lot of people I probably would have avoided all together if I had just been attending the game.  For a few people I left my post and gabbed with at the counter.  And if I really did want to avoid someone?  Just look way too busy to even notice them. :)  It worked out perfectly.

I did it.  It was so much fun.  I will not hesitate to say yes next time I am asked.

Take that Panic Attacks!

THANK YOU LORD

Working the Concession Booth

OK guys.  Be proud of me.  Be very very proud.

Well maybe hold your applause until I report back….

Tomorrow night I am scheduled to work in the concession booth at the football game.  I have been successfully avoiding this for 2 years.  I even signed up to “open” the booth for all Thursday junior high home games – just so I could avoid the Friday night Varsity games.  Obviously Friday night games draw a much bigger crowd.  And I’m all for avoiding that.

Oh.  And did I mention that tomorrow was HOMECOMING?  Yes, the biggest crowd of the whole season will be there.

In addition to the regular homecoming events, our town has gone crazy and has scheduled a huge alumni reunion type thing too.  We are a small school.  And every year we hear threats that we may need to consolidate with nearby towns.  I guess people are starting to think it may actually happen so everyone is being all nostalgic and wanted to make this a really big event.  In case this is the last year our school exists.

I am an alumni band member :)  I played the clarinet and the trumpet.  I am not participating in the big festivites cuz, well cuz I don’t really want to be out there marching around on the football field now do I?!?  Sitting in the bleachers is hard enough.  Put me out there on the field in front of everyone?  NOT gonna happen.  (Amazing how I did things like that repeatedly for several years with no trouble and now it sounds horrifying.  Be damned panic attacks!)

Like I said, I have been helping at the concession booth during the Thursday night games.  The first time I did that was very hard!  I was so very nervous!  Happily, I got to work in the back part cooking hamburgers and serving up nachos & cheese.  I’ve never had to work the front counter and frankly I refuse to do so!  I want to be involved and I want to be helpful.  I’m a band parent now and I will be for many years, so I chose to work those Thursday nights as a kind of exposure therapy :) Call it a personal challenge. The deal is that one other lady and I get there before the game starts and get everything set up and cooking.  Then when other helps arrives for the evening we get to leave.  That sounded do-able to me.  Much better than working all night at a Friday night game.  And it is required that all parents cover at least one shift during the season.  So this was my way to do it but not have to do it big :)

So much for that.  The parent in charge of the concession booth called and practically begged me to help.  Most of the people that were scheduled for that night will be busy marching around on the field.  Hmm.  She is very sweet and was so very desperate.  I gave her a lame excuse, said I’d talk to my hubby cuz we potentially had some other plans (lie!) and get back to her.  It bugged me all day as I was working!  Finally I text my sis-in-law, and asked her if she wanted to help.  She loves stuff like that!  I figured she could help in my place.  She said “You’re helping too right?!?!  It’ll be fun.”  So after that text nagging me for a while longer, I called that sweet band parent lady back and told her we’d help.  This all happened yesterday. (Wed.)  So far, I’m not freaking out.  That’s awesome.  Hopefully I will be able to hold onto this attitude and it will be fun.  I will definitely take an ativan before I go.  Definitely.  I’m not feeling confident enough to handle this without that.  It gets pretty cramped in that booth, I would really hate to have a melt down there.  You know what though?  I think it’s gonna be ok.  I really do.  Maybe even fun :)

I think I am actually more nervous about seeing old friends that I am about working the booth.  It is always awkward seeing people from high school that you haven’t seen in ages.  I always feel like they are judging me :(  Guess I’ll be faking it until I make it tomorrow night too!  My “I am awesome, who the hell are you?” attitude always seems to help get me though these things.  Ha.

Wish we luck.

This is getting long so I’ll tell you all about my horrible panic attack in the bleachers in my next post.

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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.