Mental health issues
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ANXIETY AND PANIC

thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
Hello everybody  Thought I speak about anxiety and panic in difficult situations.  I am a honest person and thought well I can cope with anything.  Struggled to day with simple tasks.  The main one being shopping.  At the start of each month go to the big store because buy certain items many which are frozen.  Such as fish and certain veg.  Last me for ages.  Anyway as soon I entered started to get shakes, everything on the shelves a blur.  The people were becoming a horde.  Extremely stress, mind going blank, chest and head giving me problems.  This is silly I thought to myself.  I have been here before.  Yet it was a couple months.  Taken a back by my frailties.  Suddenly realised I was having a panic attack .  Could not find my way out.  Worried really bad chest.  Paid for what I had and scurried for the exit.  Asking is this the way out in a gabbled speech from my lips.  Sat calm down in car for ten minutes.  I ended up the discount store.  My favourite found what I need everything.  Please can I ask is it me or have these huge stores had there day.  I mean I thought about this.  I am a intelligent guy but when you are whizzing a trolley around aisle after aisle trying find what you need.  I could not see anything.  Plus the aisles so small and felt like caving in.  I know I arrived home totally cream crackered.  I went in about Autumn and found nothing that I liked clothes wise and electrical.  Need to replace clothes and electrics for home.  Things like kitchen stuff to help me.  Got a blender eventually.  Got my other things clothes, even so I had to find and ask a staff member who was reluctant to assist.  So here I am having another rant.  Maybe I am sure the cause have not spoke to any one except here of course.  Only contact.  See no one in fact any one coming to house get anxiety being in house with them.  I do not know what to do.  Scared to meet people, last time out explained before total wasted night.  I do not how to approach this.  Thought I coped last time being with charity.  Starting OK now that is gone.  Do want to go back.  Having serious concerns how to cope with new people or situations.
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello Please can I add about the charity that has been supporting me for three years.  I was told I could not come back.  Even though there should be aftercare not just say the three years is up.  I did raise my worries and concerns.   When no one is listening though and it is a constant treadmill.  Met a lad in my village who was part of a similar set up.  Problem is he is like me.  I am not keen on taking his personal details.  Fear of being used again.  I wonder how many people like myself.  I did once say to a team manager why not have a friends of  the charity.  Those who have left keep in touch.  Then it is all about privacy and also time and money.  Well I replied can not we as a exgroup set it up.  The issue is nothing in my area great if you are under 30 and 60 plus.  No point in arguing with these people.  All too much need to just chill got radio on.  Thank you all for reading this
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Most charity have limited funds and therefore set limits. It depends entirely whether someone within it is disabled and therefore really understands. Only then is such a thing as aftercare considered. Just luck whether the charities in your area do this.

    I go to a large Tesco to get my cigarettes. I have tried various times of day but only one time can I really get any shopping. Between 9 and 10 pm on a weekday I can not only get the cigarettes and go round the store, even then I won't go into aisles if someone is already there. I do feel safer so long as I am on the scooter and do start to panic if I have to get off it to reach something. I could use the automatic checkouts but am too scared of making mistakes and having everyone looking, so I use the few checkouts with a staff member working it. Most staff are quite helpful but as soon as I start I begin to worry that I will hold someone else up and I cannot do it on the scooter so the panic begins. So far I have not had a major panic attack but I think that was more down to luck than anything else.

    Mostly I use a small supermarket just down the road from me but again the time is important. Late evening is best. At other times I will go and, if I can park close enough, I will walk up to the place and look in. If there are more than a couple of people there I turn around and go home.

    I don't eat properly because I cannot always replace things I need. I hardly eat bread anymore because it doesn't keep long enough or I forget to defrost it. Meals are pot luck also and I haven't had one tonight because I slept most of the day and went out this evening. Yesterday I had pizza left over from the day before. and the 3 previous days I did have a meal but the 4 days before those I didn't. If I have stuff I eat if I don't I don't. It's become a habit driven by anxiety.

    You are definitely not alone.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Topkitten   How are you?  Yes I agree with a lot of what you say.  Understand this very clearly.  I know I have stressed this before but I do find a lot of charities not only strapped for cash and funding but very reluctant to take back people.  My big problem is that I have exhausted all avenues of help regarding charities that deal with mental health.   I rent from a housing association and they are connected to a mental health charity.  Been with them before.  Ended up getting issues and problems with the people in it.  I know I have tried to be helpful, pleasant, polite and encompass the morals of the organisation.  In the cold light of day I ran into the biggest problem a lot of charities continue to have which is bullying, harassment from its members within.  Yes it still goes on no matter how many pleas from some of us members.  Had to leave.  Situation out of hand been to few more like this.  Moved around area to get what I need so what now.  I might have to bite the bullet and go back to my housing association and the links they have.  Also please can I say right about stores and I used to shop late.  Get really tired though.  Dark and grey, cold who wants to drive to shops night time.  Summer not so bad.  Not good at night.  Have discount on doorstep just a bit easy.  I do find though may I suggest talking of meals and planning.  I am not good myself most days.  So try to do something for freezer.  Whether soup in a zip bag.  Can defrost if forget boiling water poured over.  Sorry if you have problems eating.  I can understand this.  So that is why my freezer is laid out in a way to help me.  Have simple things to cook.  Do fish frozen which defrost like meat then cook.  I am only making suggestions and advice here.  I do myself have to make sure I eat or make myself ill.  Do food from southern Med.  Easy to do and simple.  Minimum prep.  Not telling you what to eat just a caring polite guy.  I realise your situation.  I need to buy bread so half put into tinfoil 2 slices.  Frozen.  Put in toaster defrost mode or leave out.  I know that sounds simple and it is.  I wish I hope you understand my anxiety need some days eat sandwiches, toast.  Not get hungry.  One thing I forgot to say I did a foolish thing described my mental health problems to a manager of one of the big stores.  His manner and attitude was wrong because I suggested a map of the store.  Easier for all of us.  Then I realised that they switch everything around according to market forces.  I know one time had this sense of purpose that they the powers that be embrace change.  Why come the day when there will be stores for disabled and others who find these monsters hard to cope with.  Good to talk to you take care
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  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    Hi @Topkitten and @thespiceman I too suffer with panic attacks but have been free of them for a few weeks now so maybe I can help. Firstly supermarkets are a main trigger for me too and have been over the years. When you first walk in the bright lights, all the products and people cause a mass of sensory confusion in the brain and before you know it panic sets in. Going back a few months I had 2 days of really bad panic attacks lasting for many hours. I ended up at A&E begging for help and found that there was none. Only for emergency physical problems. That episode was so horrific it made me realize that the only person who could help was me and that if I couldn't control it once it started I had to stop it happening in the first place. I avoid many situations because of these but avoiding them permanently is not helpful as you live in fear which causes more stress. 
              I know that after 40 odd years of traumatic things happening to me that that was the cause of my panic, but I can't do anything about that. I can't change the past, but I can change the future. By the way I used to bottle things up and suffer in silence keeping it from my family which again caused more stress. But last time I couldn't do that and had to admit to what was going on. I was very surprised that their reaction was completely different to what I expected so that now helps knowing I can talk about it. I now can organize my life so I am gradually facing my fears but never to the extreme. There is so much you can do like going more regularly to the supermarket and for only one thing to start with so you know exactly what you're facing. If you can do that with no panic congratulate yourself and feel really happy about what you've achieved. For me the feeling I get when I don't panic is over riding the awful feeling of being in a panic attack. When you're happy there's no room for panic. Build up gradually but don't have breaks in between as that will set you back to square one again. Hope something in this post helps..x
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2018
    Hello @wildlife How are you ? Great to talk to you again.  Thank wise words of wisdom.  I am a planner for food especially.  As my situation need to have a list.  I shop at certain discount stores that we all know and love.  Unfortunately  I thought being Monday and myself going to some where I have not been for a while.  I agree a lot of what you say.  Thank you for sharing.  I as I am on my own get myself into a state.  Old days of being on benefit when they paid you by Giro.  Does any body remember that?.. Lived in a village new to the area then.  Giro would be delivered by post and this one time they forgot me.  So no food in cupboards.  In the old days lived as a hermit no freezer, poor fridge.  Limited cup board space.  So took advantage of corner shop.  This day was a nightmare no car then, no transport links, limited money, no phone as well did not have mobile.  Very new even then.  Had to go corner shop got a load of veggies made soup and pasta.  Got into a dreadful state.  Those were the days of addiction and hated to ask any body for assistance.  Had nosy neighbours in my face most days.  Giro arrived in the end and everything was sorted.  Since that day got enough food in to make  a week and beyond.  Try to plan week to week.  I am surprised at the negativity of a lot of these stores.  Make it easier for the customer.  I did politely suggest have tours of the store for those like me and you.  I had staff running around the store looking for items.  They do not know where everything is.  Too many products.  Given time I will try to look at this situation again.  Fighting the fears as you say.  Get fight or flight most times in these places.  Went to lunch and some stores have their café looking out upon high so you can see the layout.  Sitting with my support worker at the time.  Scary this mass of shelves and products.  Have used bar code reader in one store that helps.  Used to have a upbeat song in my head singing to myself jazz stuff Mr Sinatra or Mr Davis Jr.  Sometimes people who were close could here me singing Lady is A Tramp or Fly Me To the Moon.  I Gotta To Be Me.  Which amuses the shopper and on my way on  a song and a prayer as they do say.  The panic attacks I experienced I know is often due to me not having to see any body.  I just know that.  Saw no one the dreadful holiday gone.  First time being away from the bungalow and yes been to familiar places.  As I do cope with them.  Yes this of help I thought going to those places.  I could not understand why till I thought it through.  Thank you for being understanding and what you are saying does help.  Nice to chat speak to you soon.
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  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited January 2018
    @thespiceman The difference between me and Mental Health Doctors or Support Workers even is that I've got lots of experience of extreme stress when all the techniques for controlling panic couldn't help me. All their studying and knowledge of how to control or stop panic attacks cannot possibly help them understand what it is actually like. They would have to experience it themselves and most of them haven't. Everyone is different but for me doing anything to try and control it focuses my mind on it and not away from it. It gives me permission to let it happen. I have to do it my way as I'm the only one who knows ME well enough to sort it out. 
        From what you've told me you are re living a situation you couldn't handle in the past. So whenever you are reminded of that nightmare time in your life your mind goes back to it and you're in survival mode, flight or fight. But the cause of has gone it's in the past so you have no need to keep reliving it and making yourself suffer so much. You didn't cause it, it wasn't your fault so now you can let go of it. You don't need to stock up for a week unless there is a practical or physical reason why you can't go to a shop more often. You are only telling yourself you need to shop for the week. It's just as easy to tell yourself you don't! I can see that the way you eat, store your food and shop is all arranged to prevent your past experience happening again, but it's not going to. You are in control now. How strong is your wish to get rid of panic once and for all?    
        I can tell you that if you live on your own you're a lot better than me. I have to have my husband near me or where I know I can get hold of him. I couldn't live on my own which is one of the reasons I want to overcome the panic attacks. As he is 70 now and if he goes before I do I would have to be on my own. So tell yourself how well you're doing just by managing without having someone with you all the time. Today I'm on my own and so far am doing well, thank-you for asking. Hubby is calling in throughout the day in between looking after my 2 sons, one has LD and the other has had an operation on his foot and can't drive, it's plaster removal day today so he needs a lift from home to hospital and back again. 
          So to finish this post, ask yourself how much you want to overcome the panic. Which is better panic or actually doing something you couldn't do before. You will feel so good. That's what I'm doing and so far it's working..
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Ok, just a couple of points.

    I can tell when a situation will trigger an attack or sense when it is just starting. I then remove myself from the situation, thus heading it off. My agoraphobia is triggered by strangers and strange places but I am working on it. Under certain circumstances I can enter strange places. I force myself to do this when I visit a  new escort I haven't met before and the need overcomes the fear. I have a local small supermarket I use 2 or 3 times a week but I am just careful t check who is inside before I commit to entry.

    The suggestion of shops for the disabled appals me, I'm afraid. Much like the suggestion a long time ago of special holiday destinations purely for the disabled. We are people with issues and it is up to us to remain people and join in with other people, not separate ourselves further. More separation will only compound the problems on a general level even if it does make one act easier. The problems we have are to be faced and fought against, not given into. Still this is just my opinion and I suspect many would prefer your idea @thespiceman .

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    @Topkitten, That's OK when you can remove yourself from a situation but sometimes that isn't possible and next time you're in the same situation you have to do it again. I do understand as I suffer from Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia which sounds a contradiction but sometimes I just need to open the door and breathe fresh air or leave a room before something finishes but at the same time I have a comfort zone for travel even with MOH and can't go beyond but, like you, I'm working on it. Some days I avoid going out, it depends very much on how I feel physically. There will be lots of things that others don't think twice about that I will never be able to do. My other ways of stopping a panic attack are to talk very loudly and forcefully which I can only do on my own. Say when I'm left in for hours on end. I say "No you are not going to that horrible place, everything is OK there's no need to panic." Then try and keep myself busy with things I like doing. Having something to look forward to at the end of whatever I find stressful also helps and imagining how I will feel by then. I have a good friend who used to work in mental health and she worked out I needed time out (outside) when I feel bad inside. I'd never thought of it before. I  can now tell her when I've got through something and been OK and she praises me. It all helps. I still have a long way to go but facing challenges is where I'm at ATM. If I don't I'll just get more and more restricted and live in fear and that's no life. Everyone has to find their own ways of coping. 
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Technically claustrophobia is a part of agoraphobia. A lot of people think agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces. Whilst it can be it is also a lot of other things too. The definition of agoraphobia is "A fear of panic attacks caused by the environment". So, in my case, it is strangers and strange places. I do have trouble with MRI machines so I suffer claustrophobia too but only in this one particular case. Therefore claustrophobia and agoraphobia are not diametrically opposite, they are complementary.

    Whilst I appreciate that there are some times when it is difficult to tur away it is usually only our own idea of not being able to bottle out that puts the pressure on. I have said elsewhere that I have issues shopping, even in a local small supermarket and I am sometimes faced with the problem with either forcing myself to shop and, most likely have a panic attack, or go without food. I go without the food because it's the path of ;east resistance. Even with GO appointments and similar stuff, if I really can't go through with it without panicking I bottle it, leave and call them to explain and apologise. I can't think of an example where it is not possible to not continue on.

    Panic attacks are an odd beast and are self perpetuating. The more you can avoid them the less likely you are to get them next time. However, if you push too hard and have an attack then it becomes MORE likely that next time you will have another. Consequently, avoiding them is ultra important no matter what it means you lose out on.

    Talking or doing things that take your mind off the immediate problem is a good way to diffuse PA's. In the past whenever I dated or had a job interview I had a great advantage. When I get nervous I talk, to anybody and everybody. I do this in shops when I can feel the panic starting to build and it means I can often carry on with what I am trying to do for longer. I will talk to the check out people, those stacking shelves and even other shoppers, anyone if I can get their attention.

    I think you are very lucky to have a friend who helps and understands what you go through. I often wish I had someone similar but every time a lady becomes a good friend they start thinking of getting together. Then, when I turn them down, I lose the friendship too. For some reason I don't understand I find it much easier to make friends with women than men. I seem to have little in common with most men.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @wildlife Thank you for replying.  Please thank you for comments.  You are right.  One of the triggers in my past is my situation.  I was never alone and know you understand this.  I only alone in the last ten years or so.  What did help always went with friends shopping.  Even now still find it hard to cope on own.  My many posts on the theme.  Plus my personal situation with family.  I now know this is not helping.  I was surprised by way when I have had support workers, floating support the attitude of many who do not understand this problem.  A lot of them are surrounded by family, friend, work colleagues and have never walked a mile in my shoes.  Explained I had what you got, friends, work colleagues and the like but all gone.  Setting off in my head depressions of past glories.  Until we have a compassionate society who can deal with these issues and be more understanding.  Our community is here.  Outside the problem.    Trying to tell a lady support worker about these difficulties is always hard.  Just because we are men I woefully explained we all have some problems dealing with situations.  Many men who were in the comfort of families and in current relationships now through their mental health struggles living on their own.  Surprised and being totally unaware of this.  This very young female support worker out of university with a degree could not get her head around it.  Till I put my size nines into her perfect world.  Things happen the guy you are with now does not mean you be with him for ever.  The shock and horror on her face what well I had a girlfriend I murmured a thought she was the one .  Been together for a year.  Drifted apart something happened I am afraid.  Then on own.  Trying to discuss matters with some one too young to understand the morals and ways of the world.  I mean I got qualifications older than she, plus items of wardrobe my ties.  Any way given my issues with shopping I will have to fight it and hope and pray I will be OK.  Being positive I know I will.  Nice to talk to you and thank you.
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Topkitten Thank you for replying.  Please can I say I only suggested shops for disabled because they are not disabled friendly.  It is fine to all of our society to be  as one.  Still I am one probably near yourself in a shop please sir can you get that tin off the shelf can not reach.  Mate do me a favour need ciggies could get them for me too many people in the queue.  Heres the money son  All which I had in the past years of shopping.    I must have this friendly face and trusting.  One lad asked me how do you steer with those hands.  Struggle I admit.  Always have a smallish trolley with a wonky wheel.  Baskets too heavy even with plastic handles.  Some now with wheels ,pull handle out. Writing on packs, tins too small can not read anything.  Got good specs.  God help those who have allergies and food intolerants how do they manage reading such small print.  Got wrong shampoo got own brand because it looks like the one I use.  The one I got noticed similar size and colour.  Must be breaking rules here shops all brands look alike.  I am only human by way not super if I was could whizz around shops with my supersuit.  Hope you OK take care
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  • MaddieHelpsMaddieHelps Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi, how is everyone? While my panic attacks are not as frequent as they used to be, I used to have them daily in a previous job. I worked in a customer facing environment and was often left alone for entire shifts over several days. I was shouted at a lot by customers because they either didn't understand what they were buying or were trying to get their own way. Now we were often told not to take it personally, that they were letting their frustrations out on the company, not the employee, but it still got to me. It made me feel useless and stupid and when I felt like I was missing something because I was letting this customer down, I would start to panic. What am I missing? Why don't you ever remember your training? Why are you so useless? I would want to fall over and cry, but I had to serve the customer, so I would panic and rush and rushing led to mistakes and losing money. I was given so many disciplines, but I was never offered help or support, just told off. Eventually, I got fed up of losing breaks and long nights to panic attacks and breakdowns, so I had to find a way to deal with the attacks and I found help from an unusual source. It was an article advising on methods of dealing with panic attacks in the workplace but it didn't come from a mental health website, it was an insurer! Weird right? But, it helped. After a month of practicing my breathing and using notepads to write down my thoughts and frustrations, they became way less frequent and I found I could get on with my life again. It gave me back my confidence and now I'm in a new job that treats me a lot better and is less stress. Now the original article was taken down not long after I found it, but recently they re-posted it here: https://www.fuseassurance.com/panic-attacks-workplace-you. I hope it can help someone else the way it helped me. Thanks for listening.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2018
    Hello @MaddieHelps Pleased to meet you Thank since you asked just motoring along.

    Thank you for sharing. Also joining.. Understand and have read your story.

    Please can I say you are not useless or stupid also not ever your fault. These panic attacks are a just what sometimes happens.

    In my case usually stress and the sudden realisation it is because in my head the random thoughts.

    I do know finding solutions is the best outcome and making sure you have strategies and plans to cope.

    Having the foresight and trying to cope with simple lifestyle changes can be beneficial to your well being.  That was joining mental health charities helped a lot.

    Deep breathing and my favourite having a  song in your head to sing around the store .  Those places where we feel vulnerable and isolated. Why is every one looking at me.?

    Usually the old time songs. By the way Sammy Davis jnr. I've  Gotta To Be Me . Latest one. Words seems to echo  make senses to me.

    Although now do on line shopping which I will admit helps enormously.

    Glad to hear from you.

    Always happy to meet new people.  If I can help with anything please ask.

    Pleasure to meet you.

    Take care

    @thespiceman
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  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Member Posts: 5,856 Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the community, @MaddieHelps! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Really glad to hear that things are much better now!
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