Support Fallout – What Happened When the People I Count on are not There?

This post was written by admin on September 1, 2009
Posted Under: Daily Panic Battles,Panic Attack Help for Caregivers/Support People

OnStar, what is your emergency?

I had a meeting last night.  Flying high off of a successful journey on Sunday, I felt confident with reasonable doubt that I could do this, without much help.  My external support network is pretty good-I thought.  My Panic manifests itself 99% of the time in a motor vehicle. But I was feeling pretty good.  I had one of my support people follow me part way to the location of the meeting, but also indicated that after my meeting was over, that I might need some help.  This is the usual signal to be ready at the approximate time.  I have not fully mastered the art of not giving into flight or fleeing.

My meeting was over.  Now my support network has dwindled as the time has passed, as my parents have aged they just look at me with sheer horror of a panic attack.  So I have very few that will be there at a moment’s notice, but usually they are dependable.

I travelled down the dark road at posted speed.  Not too fast, not too slow, comfortable in my car.  I got to this one stretch of road and bam it kicked in.  I had been texting my support person with the usual, I am passing this landmark then I sent the “ARGH!”  This is the first indication that I am not feeling well.  In no way am I attempting an adventure of Pirates of the Caribbean, it is a sign, a signal to my support person that I am beginning to falter.  My stomach churning, pain shooting down my left arm, I am certain that this was the beginning of a heart attack.  I shot down a side street, now I know this area and these streets like the back of my hand, but my first turn to get back to civilization was a dead in street.  Kick the fear-o-matic up to 12, I am in deep trouble now.  Attempting to hit my speed dial, all I send is “Ttttttttttttttttttttt;” darn phone, does it not know I am in panic and need the speed dial feature?  Why do they call them smart phones if they are too stupid to realize a speed dial?

I get my response back from my support person that simple says “????? Ttttttt.”  Well in the past this would have been recognized as disorientation and that something was wrong.  I was paralyzed. But wait, I am in an OnStar equipped vehicle.  It has that magic red button that is for emergencies.  In my mind, logic says this an emergency.  OnStar documentation says that this button is instant access to someone that has had advanced medical training and can help.  I reach up and push the button.  My first time in the many years of owning an OnStar equipped vehicle.

I reach a person who says is “Beth with OnStar, what is your emergency?” I reply with “I am having a panic attack and need help, can you talk me through this?” She informs me that she can send an ambulance but has not been trained in this matter.  Ok so much for the OnStar Bail Out. 

After 17 minutes I have mad my way back to a strip center, my support person calls.  Now what am I going to do, I want to get home and they let me down.  Was this a cruel test to MAKE me do it?  Or has the burden of being someone battling with Panic and Anxiety disorder finally taken its toll on my last few support people?

So my tone of voice is not exactly thrilled, I can not be angry, it is not their fault that I am dealing with this.  But tone not excused, the conversation continues.  The person said I got your “Ttttttttttttt” text message and responded but got nothing back.  My mind say to tell the person that in the past usually an illogical text means, call, but instead, tone and all I just reply with “yes I am aware.”

I am then informed that they will come up but need gas first.  So for over 40 minutes I am sitting in this parking lot exactly half way from home and half way from where I was waiting for rescue.  The trip home is no easy ride either as they follow and I am driving.  I am still at about a 9 on the fear-o-meter, but finally arrive home.

Course this is when the verbal attacks on me begin.  All I can do is sit there and take it.  Finally I take my sleeping medicine and go off into dream land.

I share this because at some point we are all going to face this if we are dealing with Panic and Anxiety.  Mine are currently at a heightened level due to the STD I am on, but none the less, at some point, these support people are going to give way to not being there.  Being too busy, whatever the reason.  I should have rode it through and gotten to the other side on my own.  Just like the past, it would have passed but I let the Panic take over and let the feelings rise.

From the caregiver side, the support person, persons or network, it is important to understand that a person dealing with this needs to feel some degree of safety without condemnation.  I mean “we” did not ask for this and in agreeing to be a support person, you made a commitment to be there.  Don’t fail us when we need you the most.  If you are going to condemn then maybe this is not the right road to walk down and just maybe,you need to talk to your person you are helping and honestly, openly and in an non-judgmental manner tell them that you can not do this.  But that conversation needs to happen in order to foster honesty and trust.  It will be appreciated, the honestly that is, not the fact that a support person can not be there.  There is no worse feeling than to be in a full fledged panic attack and feel like you have been abandoned.

If you have support people, make sure they know the signals, make sure that you have a plan.  Make it solid, make it concrete.

Today I have been dealing with alot of chest discomfort, but it was leftovers from last night.  But much like the leftovers in our refrigerators that are a week old, it has to be thrown out.  I have to get past yesterday, focus on today and realize that tomorrow is going to be better.  Or at least in my own logic, it has to be, right?

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Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Fear Of Flying Help on October 24th, 2009 @ 3:27 am

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#2 
Written By Deal With Panic Attacks on October 24th, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

WOW, you sound exactly like me. It’s such a terrible thing to deal with. I get them out of the blue, nothing triggers my panic. I’m agoraphobic at this point pretty much. This disorder is SOOOOO debilitating and frustrating.

#3 
Written By paniclady on May 13th, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

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