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480448 tn?1426952138

Accomplishments....Care to share?

I thought an accomplishement thread might not be a bad idea...a place where those of us "fighting the good fight" can come and share our little (or big) victories.  I got the idea b/c I wanted to share with you all an accomplishment I had myself today.  But before I get to that...please share anything...goals you set for yourself, and how you went about meeting them.  And IMO...there ARE no small "wins" when dealing with anxiety and panic.  These don't have to be recent goals either...anything you want to share.

I've mentioned before that my most recent panic set back occurred almost a year ago...I was driving down a main highway into the downtown area for an appointment...also incidentally a place normally that I like to go and shop a bit.  Anyway, that fateful day...I had my kids in the car (which I think most panic sufferers would agree that makes things 100% worse)...I was driving along when I hit a traffic jam.  Nothing tragic...just your run of the mill traffic.  Well, I panicked right there and then.....took the next possible exit I could (incidentally right before a tunnel)...and ended up smack in the middle of horrid construction traffic.  As I've also shared with you all...my phobia is having poopy pants b/c I fear not making it to a BR in time.  I had to go...and BAD b/c of the panic...I hit EVERY blasted light and was in an area I'm not real familiar with.  Moral of the story...I made it to BK, stunk up their public restroom (LOL)...and headed right back home.  I wasn't even trying to work thru this one....it was sooo bad.

Sooo, naturally, ever since then..I've feared that specific route badly.  It is an area prone to a good bit of traffic as it is....and the memories were just awful.  Well...I avoided it for a long time until I started forcing myself to drive that route at least once a month...if even to get to my destination and turn around to return home.  Now, the days I would PLAN to do this I would have allll kinds of "back up" plans...you know...the answers to our "what if" questions.  I'd plan any alternate routes and exits I could get off rather painlessly.  I even went to the trouble of (God this is embarassing to admit) of packing my own "diaper bag" of sorts.  Basically just a grocery bag with a change of clothing...JUST IN CASE.  :0)  (I'm blushing...wooo hoooo).  But, those things helped to ease my anxiety....so it worked for me.

So, I started my monthly travels and they were HARD.  Still never have had brought my kids along for the ride yet....I'm just not ready.  THAT will be an ultimate goal when I can get to that.  But, I'm not in any rush.  So, I had planned for today to be my "therapy" drive day.  I had a LOT of anticipatory anxiety this morning...BAD.  On top of just the general angst...there was a lot of rain....and basically...after the highway incident...I had another very bad PA ini a bad rainstorm with flooding...so rain while I'm driving is another source of anxiety for me.

Long story short...I DID it, again.  And, the feeling of accomplishment I get after I achieve my goal each month is indescribable.  I literally feel fearless for the rest of the day....my local "barriers" for agoraphobia disappear, because I know I just faced a lot worse.  It's pretty awesome.

I had my moments today on the drive...the act itself was not easy...but I was able to keep breathing...keep self-talking...telling myself that nothing was wrong...there was NO danger...and even if I DID hit traffic...it wouldn't last forever...I'd get out of it eventually.  The last time I took this drive..I actually hit two pretty big jam ups...one was on an off-ramp, single lane, which was also a bridge of sorts.  I lived to tell about it that time too.

So, yes...I guess I'm patting myself on the back in a sense.  It may seem silly to people who don't live with anxiety...."woo-hoo, you drove 40 miles and back...aren't YOu a big girl!".  But, to ME, it IS a big deal...and I know the more and more I face the anxiety demons...the better chance I have of winning.  So, please...when you achieve a goal...even 1/2 of a goal...celebrate, congratulate yourself...b/c it ISN'T easy....but it's one small battle won.  Not the war...but that's coming too.

I always set a day for this drive...and as panic sufferers do...I always want to put it off a day...just ONE day...but I know that that is all part of the avoidance and agoraphobia.  The first few times..I gave myself a pass and allowed myself to put it off...cuz that's okay too...as long as you eventually follow through.  Now, no excuses...I go on the day I pick.  And...when that morning comes...whew...the anxiety.

I'd love to hear all of YOUR accomplishments...old or new...big or small...and I think if we share these types of things as we go...and offer each other support....we can all benefit from sharing in that feeling of success.

Thanks for letting me share (ramble).
24 Responses
447939 tn?1235065543
your story really made me giggle a case of bin there done that lol
my greatest recent moment crazy as it sounds is i have taken my beloved dog named maddy moo for a walk whoo hooooooooooo and i could breathe and it was sunny and it was fun and i felt great

weird anxiety excellent achievements
Avatar universal
Great idea on this thread! And congratultions for sticking too and accomplishing your monthly trips!

I know when this all started for me, it hit me like a brick! I had always been so outgoing, loved to socialize, go to work, never in a million years did I think I would suffer from anxiety or agoraphobia! But in February of this year, I suffered from a Blood Clot in my left leg that also traveled to my lung, causing a Pulmonary Embolism. I was hospitalized for a few days, and out of work for about 10 days. My job was about an hour from home, and my biggest fear was that something would happen to me when I was so far away from my friends and family, I went to work everyday, but felt super nervous about it. And then it hit, I was sitting at my desk, my hearing went muffled, I felt this unbelievable rush of adreniline, I felt neausous, my heart was racing, I thought I was having a stroke due to my blood clot, and we called 911. My biggest fear had just come true.....here I was, in an ambulance, an hour away from my family, in an unfamiliar hospital, thinking I am dying of a stroke. Well.........that was my first episode, I was diagnosed with Anxiety. Naturally, it was really hard to go to work after that, I was afraid to make to drive, "what if" I had on episode on the highway, and passed out while I was driving. "What if" it happened at work again. Well we all need to work, I was able to work from home a day or so a week, but on the other days, I just had to push through it and make the drive. And I DID IT everytime I had too, even if it meant that I cried the whole way to work.

My anxiety is/was definitely the "What if" kind. Just when I thought my fears were related to driving to work, it hit me again. I was at my all time favorite place in the world, I was at my hair dresser getting my hair cut and colored! I was sitting there, I had just had my hair rinsed, and it happened again,,,,,,,,,I felt neasous and dizzy........I had to cut my appointment short, just color that day, no cut. I rescheduled my cut, and asked my boyfriend to come with me. He did, and I was fine, but also knew he couldn't come everywhere with me. This turned into a fear of Supermarkets, restaraunts, parties with friends. I couldn't go ANYWHERE, "What if" I passed out. The crazy thing is, I had NEVER passed out before, in fact, when I had an episode, nobody would have even know I was having one, I may have felt like I was going to pass out and die, but it certainly wasn't as if anyone else would have know that.

Anyway, as things progressed, I continued going to work, and by the time I got there, I was feeling OK, but would dread the ride home, I managed through it everyday and was always really proud of myself. I started going to the Supermarket or store with my boyfriend or Sister. Finally, I decided that I was going to try these things on my own, and see them as challenges, maybe reward myself with something special when I got through them. Once I began challenging myself, and being really proud of myself, I found that I looked forward to my little excursions.....even if it was to go pick up a prescription alone, a simple 2 minute task, it felt really great! Soon I was doing a complete weeks worth of grocery shopping, not that I wasn't nervous while doing it, but I kept telling myself I was fine, nothing had ever happened before, why would it happen now? I had never passed out before, why would I pass out now?? And SO WHAT if I did. Someone would help me.

I guess the best thing I ever did for myself was turn my fear and axiety into sort of a game for myself..........and it always made me feel so great about myself and my condition! If I did well, I would go get myself a yummy Iced Decaf, or maybe something special for dinner that night, or maybe even a new shirt. Whatever worked for a treat after accomplishing what I once that was impossible!

Challenges continue each day, but I don't let them debilitate me like they used too. I know I am getting through this and some days are better than others, but compared to 2 months ago, I have come a long way!

This site has also been a tremendous help for me, just knowing that there are so many others that go through what I go through, and often times, so much worse than my situation ever was. I know I will get through this.

Best of luck to everyone!
480448 tn?1426952138
Thanks for sharing...that is a tremendous story!  You REALLY pushed yourself.  It is sooo hard to anxiety/panic based around anything to do with work...b/c like you said...it's not like you can avoid THAT, right?

Your experience is an inspiration to me...and will be to many others.  I totally agree about turning it into a "game" of sorts.  There were days where I'd go to the grocery store for example....then after that was done...I'd felt so good...it was like I'd say to myself..."HA!  I'll see your grocery store and raise you a trip to Blockbuster!"  :0)

And....the way that we basically re-program ourselves in facing those fears is what gets us through.

Thanks again for sharing your story...I can relate to it 100%.
480448 tn?1426952138
Oh, and btw...having gone through a PE is a very scary thing...so I could definitely see that you had anxiety related to it.  Once you learn and realize just how dangerous they are.....you really start to get scared.  It's hard to focus your energies on the fact that indeed you DID get through it and are one of the lucky ones!

Congrats for getting through that....I know it was tough..and frightening.  At least your fears started out being based on very understandable things!

Avatar universal
Certainly True, realizing the true severity of a PE didn't help me out! Knowing how many people aren't as lucky as I was scares me. Quite honestly, the biggest mistake I think I ever made was spending so much time on the internet researching PE's and DVT's. I think that is when my anxiety took a turn for the worst.

That is a new rule for me too, and the best advice I can give to anyone out there.........don't "gather" information on your symptoms, you will cause so much more worry for yourself than necessary! Rather than use the internet as a medical tool, call your Dr. for answers....................My Dr. office knows my voice now.......I think I've become a real neusance, but that's OK....I don't mind :)

480448 tn?1426952138
AMEN!  I'm telling you...I think ANYONE with a prepensity towards anxiety should have ANY google-ish search feature totally disabled on their pcs!  You are sooo right about that.

And, I'm also glad you said what you said about your doc....that IS what they are there for.....pest or not....that is the best resource.  So many people are reluctant to call their doc for something they may perceive as incidental..I say to all those people...there IS no small concern when it's YOUR concern!  Period!
370181 tn?1428180348
OK.........I can see that I'm going to have to "come clean" about something here. And it's OK if you laugh with me...............
Many years ago I owned a bookstore, a small, independant one that was put out of business by Amazon and all the other huge discount bookstores. It broke my heart as it had been a dream come true for me. But, such is life and I found myself on the street with no job and no idea what the hell to do with myself. A nurse friend of mine said why not become a CNA? (Certified Nursing Assistant) I gave that a great deal of thought and decided that it sounded like a good thing to do. Helping folks is a good thing, right? So that's what I did. But about this time, my panic attacks came back with a vengence, I found myself back on meds, back in therapy and starting a brand new job at a huge hospital where I knew no one, had never tried my "skills" on anyone other than "Annie the plastic pretend patient," and now I was having to deal with real live and very sick people, doctors and nurses and equipment that looked like something from NASA, people rushing around like the house was on fire, lights flashing all over the place, codes being called that I didn't understand, learning the "language" of hospital speak, which might as well have been Greek, bright lights and blood and people screaming in pain........that first day was a nightmare and by lunchtime I was in a full blown panic attack, hiding in an empty room, breathing into a makeshift paper bag I made out of a huge diaper used for incontinent folks.....(I could only imagine what someone would have thought had they seen me, it looked like I was sniffing someone's knickers!) my heart was pounding so hard it hurt, the sweat was pouring like a monsoon, I was feeling so "out of myself" and KNEW I was about to have a heart attack, I couldn't feel my fingers or my lips, the urge to run was so intense I had to hang onto the IV pole to anchor myself to the spot, I was shaking so bad I began to also believe I was now having an epileptic seizure, well, why not, since I wasn't gonna live much longer anyway, might as well enjoy THAT little malady along with the usual potpourri of symptoms, I began to experience head pain and see spots in front of my eyes and just figured my brain tumor was acting up or else I'd finally tossed that clot I knew I had, I'm pretty sure I piddled myself at this point................then the worst thing I could imagine DID happen! Big Bertha the charge nurse found me! This did NOT calm me down. This was the moment there was no longer ANY doubt I had piddled myself.
Big Bertha took one look at me, (and the puddle on the floor) called a code and the next thing I knew I was in the ED hooked up to every machine that hospital owned. I swear I saw a battery charger being attached! I was given a shot of something that I would like to buy in bulk at Costco. Within seconds, I was quite fine, thank you. After being given the diagnosis of a severe panic attack, they let me go home and I was sure they would say "don't bother coming back!" But Big Bertha called me at home later that night and asked how I was doing. I told her I was fine now that I had dry knickers. I think we giggled. Well, I know I did, since I knew she was calling to fire me! But, she said she expected me back on the unit in the morning. I told her I didn't know if I was cut out for the job and she said that if a "newbie" doesn't have a panic attack on their own the first day, she makes damn sure they do on their second! (Somehow I actually believed she could do that!) The moral of this story is that I've been at that hospital for many, many years now, have never had another panic attack there, and my biggest secret is that I know 7 different ways to get to the ED! For me, knowing that help is so close to hand has prevented me from allowing an attack to "get me."
I'm not sure if this is as brave as what many of you have done to overcome your panic in certain situations, but there are a million stories in the naked city. The End
Avatar universal
Awesome job.  I wish I could do the same thing.  I have one of those dreaded "routes" where my first PA took place.  You've got some major cajones!
Avatar universal
I think I just piddled reading that story! Great post! And congrats for sticking with it over the years!!

480448 tn?1426952138
Thanks amish....lol at cajones......if I had any...they'd be shrivelled up during the ride, trust me!!!!!

Lydia....omg lmao at your story.  Let me guess......she saw said puddle and automatically assumed you were having a seizure of some sorts?????  Oh dear.

When really.....this job was just scaring the p*ss out of you......literally!

God, I give you credit for facing it the next day...that couldn't have been easy!  Whew!

Glad you "came clean"......lol.
412969 tn?1224337848
i had been housebound for a year and gotten better to a certain degree, and had a baby. when my son was two my mother begged me to come from missouri to florida and visit her.... i still dont know how i made the airplane ride, i had a crying  2 year old who wouldnt sit still and instead of a staright through flight i had a changeover with a 45 minute delay in between!
i remeber having a panic attack as i was rushing to the only designated smoking area, and wondering what would happen to my kid if i passed out, that helped a bit. but now after 3 years i dont know if i could do it again!
i have this fun new fear along with my aggoraphobia, its called fear of ever being alone... gah!
well im proud of myself for that florida trip anyway, i even went to the epcot center~!
480448 tn?1426952138
WOW!  I'll say that is HUGE!  And see....with you having SUCH a rough time right now...you need to use those memories for strength and encouragement.  You've done it before....and you can do it again!  Maybe that kind of goal is far off...but if you were able to overcome and do something as major as that....well, honey...you can overcome this newest fear too.

I'll admit...I got a wee widdle butterfly in my tummy just reading your FLA story...wow.  Even on my BEST days....eh....I dunno that I could do it.  I'm darn impressed.

I left you a post on your thread too.
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