I have anxiety attacks frequently. I’m used to them on some level. However, anytime someone knocks on my door or rings the doorbell, my heart automatically jumps, as if it’s trying to jump out of my chest. I don’t know why, but I panic every time there’s a noise outside of my house. When it happens, my mind flashes back to when I was 17 and living with an abusive boyfriend.
It used to paralyze me, but now I slowly walk to the door with my dog and check to see who is there. I hate the fear I feel when there’s a knock on the door. They’re panic attacks and I feel like I have no control over them. I’ve been able to reduce how long they last, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get rid of them completely. Most of my anxiety and panic attacks are related to sound. I don’t know why that is.
Being on disability is not easy. I’m on it because of my bipolar disorder, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder. As most of you know, dealing with the effects of these mental health disorders is difficult and exhausting. I have so many doctor appointments to manage. Going anywhere new is extremely difficult for me. In fact, my husband has to come with me whenever I go somewhere for the first time because I’ll have a panic attack. I don’t do well dealing with new people, specifically physical contact, I think that is from the PTSD. My social life is small because it’s difficult for me to meet and connect with people. I also struggle to keep in contact with the friends I already have because of the depression.
I wish I could contribute more to our financial status, instead I contribute in other ways. I keep myself busy managing my life and my husband’s life. I don’t know if my bipolar disorder will ever be stable again. It hasn’t been stable since 2009. I don’t know what my future holds, but it doesn’t appear to be a mentally stable state.
I went to the Arizona State Fair early this afternoon for a couple of hours. It did cause a lot of anxiety because there were so many people there, but taking Valium and being with my husband helped me a lot. We walked through some of the shopping areas, we had some fry bread, we went on a couple of rides, and we even got our faces painted (for the game tonight). It was difficult because people were walking all over the place. No one was paying attention to where they were walking or what they were doing. But my husband held my hand through it all.
I did my best to have a good time at the State Fair despite my fears and anxiety. It probably helped that we only stayed there for about 2 hours. When it felt like I had enough, I listened to myself, and we called it a day at the fair. Now, I have a couple of hours to rest before we go to the Arizona Coyotes home opener.
I have a busy and nerve-wracking day planned for today. In the early afternoon, I’m going with my husband to the Arizona State Fair. I’ve lived here for over a decade and have never been to the state fair. I’m from a small town with only 3,500 people. I’ve never seen a fair as big as I’m about to see. I’m nervous, so of course I’m going to need some Valium to help me get through this. My husband knows not to leave my side and to either walk behind me or keep his arm around me so I don’t feel like someone can creep up behind me. My husband makes me feel safe. The fair will be difficult, but I can do it.
Later tonight, I’m extremely excited to go to the Arizona Coyotes home opener. We’re big hockey fans. My husband and I got good seats. Normally, we get cheap seats that are still pretty good, but for some reason, we decided to upgrade to great seats with an amazing view. I’m happy about the seats, but I’m also nervous because I’ve never been to that part of the arena. New things scare me. I hope it goes well. My husband will help me get through it and enjoy it.
Last night, I went to a new support group. My panic attack first hit at 4pm (the meeting was at 5:30pm). I took a Valium and that helped a bit. When it got to the time that I had to leave to go to the meeting, my nerves shot up again. I started texting with a friend who was supportive and encouraging. I entered the room where the meeting was to take place, and I started pacing back and forth. My friend helped keep me calm again.
I sat down at the table and I was happy to see that this was a small meeting of only 6 people. I prefer smaller meetings because each person has more time to share. Plus, large groups increase my anxiety. My leg was shaking the whole time under the table. There was nothing I could do to stop it; it’s something I do when I get anxious. I shared for a couple of minutes at one point during the meeting. I made it through the entire meeting despite my anxiety. I have no reason not to go back again next week. I can only assume that I will become more comfortable with the group over time.
Psychosis is the mental state where a person’s thoughts and/or emotions are so impaired that they lose track with reality. The first time I was told that I was in a state of psychosis, I was offended. This was over 15 years ago. I just didn’t understand at that time what a psychotic state really meant. I have been in a state of psychosis for a while now. It’s all because of my hallucinations. I have auditory hallucinations fairly frequently. I hear things that aren’t really there. Usually, the things I hear are doors opening and closing, a person’s footsteps, knocking, whispering, or gunshots.
I know that most of the things I hear really aren’t there. If the dog doesn’t react to what I think I hear, then I can be pretty sure it’s not real. If it was real, the dog would bark in response. Hallucinations are a lot to handle. The sad thing is that after dealing with them for a while, you get used to it in a way. I still freak out every time I think I hear something, but I calm down much quicker.
My hallucinations are generally related to experiences from my past. Most of them are from the time period when I got my first apartment a couple of towns away from where I grew up. I lived there with an abusive boyfriend for over a year. This is when I was using a lot of drugs. I got myself into a lot of problems, and now I continue to pay for it. With all of the memory loss that I’ve had, I don’t know why I can’t forget these memories.
I was having a conversation with someone I know and get along with yesterday. He was saying that he tends to get overwhelmed with all sorts of situations in life and often explodes. He says it takes him a couple of hours to cool down. I told him that I have those same feelings, but I hold them all in, which is difficult to manage. I don’t allow myself to properly express my emotions. This guy asked me why I hold everything in; he said it’s not healthy to do that (neither is the way he manages his emotions, but there’s a middle ground somewhere). I knew right away why I hold in my emotions and why my anxiety and fears are so extreme. It’s because of my ex-boyfriend, Jared, but I didn’t want to get into it then, so I just shrugged off the question.
However, the inquiry has been with me all night. Jared was physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. I was hooked in our relationship. He had me believing that everything that went wrong was my fault and I needed to be punished for the problems I caused. Over time, I stopped expressing myself. I don’t like standing up for myself anymore. It’s just a natural reaction for me now. I automatically stuff my emotions down; however, one day they will all come out, and it won’t be pretty. I already liked to drink by the time I met this guy, but being a black out drunk became normal for me because I didn’t want to remember anything. There are some situations that I remember, even though I wish I could forget them. I’m sad to say that Jared is one of the reasons I act the way I do. He has nothing to do with my bipolar disorder, but everything to do with my PTSD, which was diagnosed in 2009.
I’m getting better with time. There was a couple of year period where I couldn’t be touched by anybody, not even a handshake or hug. That is no longer an issue. I have come a long way. It’s still difficult being in crowds, having people around me that I can’t see (such as standing in a line or shopping), talking to or being around strangers, and not knowing what is happening. I like to have control over situations; it makes me feel a little safer. This may sound weird, but I tend to blame myself for what happened with Jared. If I’m to blame, then I can do something about it. If it’s entirely his fault, then I have no control over the situation. One thing that helps is that he’s dead. He was killed several years ago during a drug deal. At first, that made it even harder for me to deal with because I had no closure, but now I’m okay with it for the most part.
I doubt I’ll ever get past all of this, but I have grown from it. As long as I continue to grow, then that’s okay.
I have anxiety attacks on a daily basis. Sometimes I know what causes them, other times I don’t. It’s not even actual events that always cause my anxiety attacks; sometimes my thinking can cause them to occur. My anxiety symptoms differ depending on the severity of the anxiety attack. Some of my symptoms include heart palpitations, shaking, chest pain, extreme fear, inability to speak normally, hot flashes, severe shortness of breath, dizziness, rocking back and forth, confusion and crying.
The severe shortness of breath is probably one of the worst anxiety symptoms I have to manage. All of the sudden, it feels as if I can’t breathe, like somehow my lungs are collapsing. It feels like it’s happening to both of my lungs at the same time; it seems as if the top portions of my lungs are collapsing. I try to take in a deep breath, but I can’t. I try over and over again with no luck. Then it gets worse; I can’t breathe if there is air blowing in my face. I have to turn off all of the fans and I need to sit completely still. I don’t know why I have to do these things, but I do know that they help me breathe. Sometimes my inhalers help, other times it does nothing for me. Then suddenly, I’m able to yawn, allowing me to take in a full breath of air. Finally, I feel okay again; however, it only lasts a couple of minutes until it starts all over from the beginning.
The Valium I take can help every other anxiety or panic symptom that I have, but it doesn’t help my breathing problems. This has been happening for years. I’m tired of it all, but all I can do is attempt to manage the symptoms. Does anyone else have breathing problems like I described when it comes to their anxiety? If so, I would like to hear how you manage
Right now, I feel like a mess inside. Life is chaotic. I’m getting ready to go back home and I’m almost all packed, but I’m not ready to leave. I wish I could take my mom with me. At the same time, I can’t wait to go home and see my husband. He ended up having a radio frequency ablation on his spine today. I’m still waiting to hear how it went. Waiting is not my best quality, it is making me nervous. I wish I had been there to take him and make sure everything was okay. Maybe I’m being a bit overprotective, but I just want to be sure he has everything he needs. Being a caregiver is something I’m good at.
I went to see my grandma once more before I leave. I have a hard time saying no to anyone, so I ended up staying and having dinner with her. Many of the things she says make no sense at all. I did my best to ignore the ridiculous things she said, but they have stayed with me all evening. At least this time I didn’t snap at her, but I’m still mad at myself for feeling the way I do. I get so frustrated and irritated with her. I don’t know why I’m mad at myself because of how I feel, especially since I was nice to her despite the comments she made and questions she asked.
I also received a phone call from an unknown number yesterday. I answered it thinking it was a doctor; I was waiting for a few calls. Turns out, it was my husband’s ex, the mother of his children. I’ve never spoken with her before and I’ve never wanted to. She was extremely nice to me on the phone, overly nice. From what I hear, she is manipulative and holds things over everyone’s head, even her own children. Once I realized it was her, I started to freak out, but I tried to remain calm and polite on the phone. Why was I so polite? It’s just my automatic reaction. She wants all of us to get together for a meal some time. All I could think of was that I would let my husband know. I hope I never have to have another conversation with her. I told my husband about it right away, and he reacted much better than I did. I wish I could go back in time and not answer that phone call. The situation is tearing me up inside. I don’t really know why, the situation is over. I put the phone number to my automatic reject list, that way I don’t accidentally answer a call from her again.
I don’t feel like I can handle my emotions or life right now. I just feel overwhelmed; I feel like I’m drowning. I’m capable of getting things done and I can fake being okay, but the fact is that I’m not really okay. However, I’ve been pretending I’m okay for so long that it’s just become the natural thing to do. Everything is in chaos and I am defenseless.
Confrontation scares me, I hate it; it puts me into a panic attack. I keep everything inside and I do my best never to let it out. I would rather hold it all in and be a complete mess, than confront someone about any situation, whether it’s serious or not. I don’t show my anger, I just keep stuffing it down, holding it all in, although I am a pretty sarcastic person. I know that one day I’m probably going to explode, but I just don’t know what else to do with it all.
When I was in rehab, we had to confront each another in a large group setting using the form, ‘When you…I feel…’ format. It may sound somewhat corny, but it does work, when you have the guts to actually do it. I remember when I would have to confront someone, my heart would race so fast and I would start sweating; I would even forget my words, why I was confronting someone, and even how it made me feel. I would do it while I was in rehab because I had to. Now, I do everything I can to avoid it.
I guess I’m afraid to upset other people. I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings or make someone mad. I would prefer to be extremely uncomfortable if it would make other people happy. That sounds weird when I say it out loud, but it’s just how I am. My therapist is trying to get me to work on this, but it’s not as simple as he explains it. Even admitting to myself that I’m angry is difficult for me, why would I be able to tell someone else how I feel?
There are several things that I deal with, such as my anxiety and fears, and I know where those things originate. I think my fear of confrontation probably comes from the same place as my other fears. My ex used to get very physically and emotionally abusive when I would get upset with him. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I just shouldn’t confront him on anything. I guess I just let that issue seep into every other part of my life. At some point, I need to start taking control again. Right now, that’s too scary for me, but I’ll keep it in my mind as an option.