Yesterday I was walking for almost 30 minutes before I realized that the my headphones were in my ears but I wasn’t hearing anything, and the reason I wasn’t hearing anything was because I wasn’t even plugged into my iPod. I was so out of it I didn’t even realize I wasn’t plugged in to my iPod. And the reason I didn’t realize any of this was because I was having a panic attack.
I was trying so hard to keep myself from freaking out or passing out that I didn’t notice anything else. Panic attacks are so awful and hard.
My go-to for cutting off a panic attack is one of three things. One of them I’m proud to say is a healthy effective way I’ve learned from DBT actually. I’ve used it several times to either reduce a panic attack, and even stopping a panic attack before it started. It’s from the TIP skills, and it’s using an ice pack. The cold of the ice pack startles me system and when I just focus on the cold feeling I am able to think a little more clearly, although only about the cold, and I am able to come down from the attack relatively quickly. It’s helped me out a few times. But today is not that day.
My favourite go-to is a binge. It cuts the panic attack off cold. It’s just as effective as the ice pack if not more so but it always has residual emotions and thoughts that the ice pack doesn’t. My foods of choice are cakes and donuts, they have to be specific. And they lull me into a sugar-induced coma where I can become numb and I don’t have to feel anything.
I am fighting wanting to turn to my favourite go-to because the whole point of DBT is to use the skills to help cope but so far it has been a losing battle . I am at my “Skills Breakdown Point”, and I’ve been feeling adverse to the skills, even thinking that I don’t want to use my skills. I want the easier result, even if it means it will lead to further dysregulated emotions, especially shame, and I actually won’t feel better.
It’s a vicious cycle that takes me over and I find myself not caring what happens and not caring that I end up in a dark place. It’s hard to care when things feel overwhelming and suffocating. It’s easier to just lose myself in a binge and avoiding feeling anything.
I have had several panic attacks over the last week or so that has left me feeling way too exposed and vulnerable. The bingeing helps to alleviate a lot of it but I’m starting to find that I have to avoid going out now too because I feel so unsteady and unsure. I feel like I’m on the edge and I don’t know what will happen next so I feel like it’s a better idea to just stay home and stay still.
I know I should want to get out of this and a part of me really does because this feeling feels awful but I don’t know how to ask for help. It seems weird to say that but it’s true. I don’t know how to ask to talk to someone. And then what if they aren’t available? Then I’m even further stuck alone because they have other things to deal with. I don’t want to be rejected or told ‘I have to go’ when I’m just starting to get into what’s going on. It feels like abandonment to me and I hate being abandoned. I end up feeling worse because now I have being abandoned on top of my other stuff. It’s too much.
I hate this cycle and what it does to me yet I feel powerless to stop it. It feels too big and too intense and I won’t have any control over it or anything. It’s taking its toll physically now and that scares me because I know it’s a long way back to feeling capable and strong when starting from so far back but I have done it before.
I’m starting to feel the really dark thoughts creeping in and of course this only fuels the negativity so I know I need to be careful. Right now I’m scared because this is a precarious place and I’m not sure how it will go. Most likely it will be okay and I will crawl my way back but it has gotten bad before too where I didn’t crawl back and I almost ended up gone. I have to try though. I don’t know why yet and I kind of don’t care. I don’t think it even matters to be honest as long as it gets me back.
There is a sliver of hope to hold onto.