Since I was up in Nashville today I stopped at a Logan's restaurant for my PTSD assignment and arrived at exactly the time my shrink had specified. As I pulled into the parking lot the panic started as it seemed like there was a hundred (exaggeration) cars in the lot. It took a couple of minutes of deep breathing before I got up the courage to actually go inside. It was very noisy and lots of customers but I was determined to do this task.
It took quite a lot of time before I could manage to make up my mind on what to eat. Level 9 out of 10 on the stress scale I was given by my shrink. I felt kind of bad for my server as he had to come back to get my order 4 times. But I finally decided that since I was enduring such a large amount of stress that I would get something I love but is not on my regular diet due to diabetes as maybe that would distract me enough to get through the ordeal. By this time I was nearly crying because I knew I was doing so lousy at controlling my panic.
While waiting for my dinner to arrive I tried shutting off my hearing aids as that might be contributing to my stress, but it had no effect. It was still quite loud even with them turned off. Finally my meal of Baby Back Ribs, Loaded Baked Sweat potato, and stream Broccoli arrived (just in time). As I had figured eating that meal did distract me and I was soon feeling like I do when I go to a restaurant when no customers are there.
Unfortunately as soon as I finished eating all of the anxiety was back instantly at full force. I couldn't even make it the full five minute wait for bolting. I was half way to the door before I realized I had left my cane at the table. That is how much of a panic I was in. Once I got outside I checked my watch and I had lasted only about 3 minutes before I bolted. My shrink is probably not going to like that very much. :)
But all in all I think I did some good by being to at least go inside the restaurant at all.
Are you kidding? You did GREAT! You should feel really proud of yourself - you went to a busy and unfamiliar restaurant and managed to overcome your anxiety enough for you to stay for a meal. You obviously dealt with a lot of stress, but managed to keep yourself together and follow through with the task. That's not an easy thing to do, but YOU DID IT!
I hope you managed to your enjoy your food (it's sounded really yum!), and that you ARE proud of yourself. For what it's worth, I think you did a fantastic job of it. Congratulations! And I hope you are rewarding yourself with something you really like to do, now that your task is over.
You could of given up & bolted in the car park..........you didn't!
You could of given up & bolted when you got inside........you didn't!
You could of given up & bolted when you couldn't decide......You didn't!
You ordered a meal and ate your meal!
You thought of a solution and applied it!
After you'd completed your reason for being there, and there was nothing to stop you giving in & bolting........you did!
That tells 'me' that you are stronger than you maybe thinking, you can make your self stay on task, still think even in panic mode, your goal orientated, physical distractions disconnect you from your panic thoughts and overall it was a very successful homework assignment and your shrink's got to be happy with how well you did!
The reason I failed is that I was suppose to stay in the restaurant until my panic level had dropped by 50%. So I didn't complete my reason for being there. My shrink gave me an out if my panic was too much of leaving after 5 minutes if it was too much for me and I wasn't even able to do that.
Dennis, you are on a marathon and not a sprint with this. Remember you will be taking it slow and don't be harsh on yourself.
Now, for what I can share with you -my father has hearing aids and the noises in restaurants are often unbearable. I know you have only had yours for less than a year and you are in for a period of adjustment as to what noise level you can tolerate. He often has to take his out to enjoy a meal in a noisy restaurant... a note of caution, though - he has also lost them because he forgot they were in his pocket. You might consider taking them out for your next assignment in a noisy place.
Noisy places get to me - sometimes worse than other times. The noise levels seem to put my nerves on end - literally. At times it can become almost painful to endure. This happened a lot before I was diagnosed - I wasalways the one leaving large family gatherings before anyone else because the noise would be painful. Thankfully that has subsided and only happens every once in a while now.
Hang in there - if I had to grade your first assignment, I would definitely give you a B - room for improvement but you did very well.
OK maybe I was being a little bit hard on myself. Should have given myself a "D" instead of the "F" as I did manage to actually go into the restaurant.
My grade schedule is as follows:
"A" Only Minor anxiety
"B" Major anxiety but calm down by at least 50%
"C" Major anxiety that doesn't subside but able to take it for the 5 minutes.
"D" Major anxiety and unable to take it for 5 minutes
"F" Unable to even go into the restaurant
I did go out to eat again tonight at the required time and did better. I gave myself the "C" grade as I was able to manage to stay the 5 minutes. I think I did better because the restaurant only had about 10 customers when I arrived and that I am more familiar with this restaurant as I have gone to it many times in the off hours in the past. The major panic didn't set in until just before I finished my dinner as many people show up at that time. My panic level was probably 1 point lower out of 10 than last night.
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