Ode to my panic attack…

We needed food for Phyllis.

I felt pretty good this morning, considering the last few nights have been rough, with even rougher days.

We were overdue for our cat’s parasite screening so I got to dig through the litter box to find a fresh sample, threw Phyl’s collar and leash on so we could get a weight on her and off we went.

Our vet clinic is quite literally down the road. I’m terrible at estimating miles but it’s short.

On my way there I was over-focused (more on that later) on a speck on my windshield and when I came too I was sweaty and highly anxious.

I made it to the vet. Walked in, handed over the cat crap and went to get a weight on Phyllis. My vision started swimming, my heart started racing. My first thought was, they know I having some kind of an incident. I wanted to run. Just leave. Which would have been mortifying so I stuck with it. Got Phyllis on the scale. The assistant was working on getting our specimen checked in and I wanted to scream FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SACRED HURRY UP, I AM ABOUT TO GO DOWN… I waited for the dog food and when she asked if I wanted a copy of the invoice I almost shouted NOPE. It was finally time to leave and the cold air felt so good. I sucked in air and rushed to the car, reversed like a lunatic and sped home. By the time I got home I was completely soaked in sweat and getting tunnel vision. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears.

After being in my safe-zone for about 5 minutes I was able to get control of myself.

I wasn’t dizzy when I left the house.

I wasn’t anxious when I left the house.

I wasn’t thinking about anything negative (consciously at least…).

I over-focused.

Which is clearly a trigger for me.

I will try to describe this as best as I can. Remember sitting in class and you would drift off into a day-dream? When you snapped back to the reality your body may have jolted a bit and you brushed it off and went about your day? Another way to describe it is you’re laying in bed and suddenly feel like you’re falling. Your whole body jerks.

This is how I respond to over-focusing. Sometimes I will zone out and be staring at something but when I come to I am unable to go about my day. This hyper-focusing immediately leads to a panic attack, which usually then brings on the tunnel vision and dizziness.

Some of the members in my support group have shared similar experiences about the hyper-focusing. I wonder if there are mental disorders where hyper-focusing is a trigger?

Either way. Fuck you panic attack.

I had to go over my grounding exercise half a dozen times before I felt safe.

My senses grounding technique:

Identify 5 different visual stimulus. (vision)

Identify 4 different haptic stimulus. (touch)

Identify 3 different auditory stimulus. (hearing)

Identify 2 different olfactory stimulus. (smell)

Identify 1  gustatory stimulus. (taste)


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