Recently I commented on a blog post written by Cindy Zelman over at The Early Draft about my panic with cars and Cindy had loads of questions for me. See, Cindy is challenged with panic attacks also and has learned how to manage them effectively in her life so she can be happy.
Here was my comment:
“I don’t even drive because of the panic attacks. So kudos to anyone who is able to drive!!! As a matter of fact just being a passenger is becoming a problem for me. It’s getting harder and harder to handle the fight or flight response in my body, it’s getting harder to just not jump out of the car…”
And now I’m answering all of her questions she had for me. Read on…
I’m not sure I have your first name so I’ll call you “Bats.”
Sounds like a plan. My online presence for the past (I think) 12 years, has been Bats so I prefer it that way. Thank you for being comfortable with that.
I was wondering if you could tell me more about yourself. Maybe your blog would address my questions, and I hope to look there at some point soon.
My blog is the best place to go to know all about me. Over the past 4 years I’ve placed what I’ve gone through with my mental illness and alcoholism on my blog with some gaps because occasionally I isolate and don’t have the energy to keep going for months at a time. But I do the best I can do and place it out there with cold, hard, honesty in hopes that just one person will not feel so alone in their day to day challenges or gets some kind of help from it.
I’m wondering how old you are,
I just turned 38 in January.
how long you’ve been suffering with panic attacks,
My first panic attack was when I was 17 years old. I didn’t have another one until I was 26, after I had my daughter.
what other ways you are debilitated by them aside from being in a car, and if you are getting any kind of treatment – counseling, prescription drugs, cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The car is the major one because I’m unable to drive or even to obtain a license at this point but lets see; grocery stores, doctors offices, elevators, malls, my kid’s soccer games; you name it, I feel immense anxiety over it at this point. It’s worst now then it has ever been in my life and gets worst by the day. It’s so bad now that I’ve actually started having panic attacks at the one place I thought I was safe from them, my home.
Unfortunately because I am uninsured and not able to afford counseling, CBT therapy or anything else out there that would help; it’s just not an option so I live with it the best I can. As far as prescription drugs go, no psychiatrist will ever prescribe them to me because of my addictive personality, I’m an alcoholic and believe me I’m very honest about it with doctors just so they don’t try to give them to me because I can guarantee you I would fall in love with drugs like that VERY easily.
Where you are with your panic is a place I’ve been, I think. Although I will always live with this illness (and it is an illness, a biological one), I have found ways to manage it so I can do most things now and enjoy them, where once I couldn’t do anything. I would like to hear your story.
Knowing that someone else has been through what I’m going through with it and survived, is a huge hope for me. I just want to not feel anxious all of the time. I just want to enjoy outside again. I’m sick of feeling sick and panicky just to go to my kid’s soccer practices and games, school functions, or just to take them to the playground. I want to be able to drive my daughter to everything she wants to do but can’t because Mom can’t get her there. I want to be a Mom to my kids other than around the house. I know this isn’t a normal life, it’s not what I want for my kids or for myself.
Thanks Cindy (and everyone else reading) for caring enough to ask, read, and not judge.