Over the last 10 years from suffering from chronic illness I have had many many attacks. Panic attack, vertigo attacks, dizzy attacks etc. I have had attacks in all sorts of places, from Hairdressers, restaurants, shops, hospitals, on buses, in cars to walks in woods, in my house, at other peoples houses and numerous other venues! Some of the attacks, people would have no idea were happening, I have managed to keep them silent but suffered inside. However some have been quite visual eg my mum has caught me from falling to the floor quite a few times, my sister stopped me from impaling my head on a corner of a walk as she caught me just in time as I yelled out! etc
Even though I have had loads of attacks over the years I could name every single venue/place they happened at. Because the attacks are so horrific they leave me with PTSD every time I have one. I then find it hard to revisit some of those places because of the uncomfortable emotional and vulnerable feeling it leaves me with and the worry it might happen again at that same spot.
However over the years I have tried my very best to force myself to go back to those places. I cannot exactly not go home after all! Sometimes though I don’t feel able to tackle my triggers/fears, sometimes I bale and cannot face them. However when I feel able I try and do the best I can to face my fears.
Like today, I have my hair appointment. Normally my husband or someone has to stay in the vicinity until I am finished and take me back home, as a safe guard. If I know someone is around I feel less vulnerable just in case I have a drop attack or my symptoms are high. However today, I have gone into my local town on my own, my husband dropped me off, I was early so I went to a department store for a cuppa. I did want to try and go up two floors to go to the homewares dept to buy a gift for someone. I went up one escalating (a trigger of mine!) and felt so awful I could not go up another one to the other floor so had to comeback down to the ground floor and abandon my shopping! I could have beaten myself up for that but instead I have to think “I tried, I did not this time but hopefully I will next time! It is all about permissions and allowing yourself to do and not do things, not to push when you mentally or physically feel you cannot. Who can relate to this? I am sure many of you can! I am going to try and get the bus back from town to my house, fingers crossed, never have done that before so we shall see!!
Sometimes we have to face our fears to get over them or make the PTSD reduce or disappear. If we face them and we are fine our brains then know thats a safe thing to do so we can do it again. But if we keep avoiding places or fears our brain never gets used to them. I am certainly one of those sufferers who tries to face my fears. I used to have a big fear of restaurants after a big panic attacks set off a cycle of restaurant related anxiety! So I avoided going to restaurants full stop, especially at night. If I had no choice in the matter eg; if I had a family dinner/lunch to attend then I would have to resort to taking a diazepam to get me through the meal! Crazy!!! But after some practice now over the years I am just about ok to do it now, I definitely need more practice though as still have a few little wobbles.
There is a lot of things that help me through these vulnerable feeling times, EFT tapping is one of them, breathing techniques. I also make sure I do not get hungry otherwise my symptoms get really bad. One day I am hoping that all these things, that other people take for granted, will get easier for me and one day I hope I just do not even notice all of these things. But until then I will just do my best.
I would love to hear from anyone who can relate to this as I am sure some relate to how I feel.
One Comment Add yours
Lara, you do so well to face these things. I avoid quite a few things, but gradually am trying to face them along with the discomfort that they cause. I certainly relate to the problems caused by hunger. When I get hungry, symptoms get much worse, so everything has to be planned around when I’ve eaten or when I’m going to be able to eat next. Sometimes I get caught out.
I certainly respect your courage. Keep on soldiering 🙂