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  1. It's five days before Christmas and that has always been my biggest trigger as far as holidays are concerned. I did not do particularly well at Thanksgiving this year and I am struggling through a bout of depression right now, so I'm not really at peak coping skills right now. I think I need to re-read and take notes on some passages in the Panic Attacks Workbook. I'm too tired of fighting the depression and anxiety this week to say anything else - just that it's there, I know it's a lie, and I'm having a hard time remembering that in the moment. I just want to go back to bed until the holidays are over, or shut everyone out of my life so that no one ever expects me to leave the house and I can just stay in my safe little bubble.
  2. I've been doing pretty well for my last couple of "adventures," didn't even need a blog entry about them. I finished the Panic Attacks Workbook and implemented an exposure therapy plan, although I have to admit that it's still pretty daunting and I keep thinking ahead - instead of, "I can handle a 5-minute car ride around the block," my mind is automatically jumping to, "A 30-minute car ride with no Dramamine would definitely cause me to vomit. I can't do that." Earlier this week, I agreed to go to brunch about 30 minutes away (driving myself there) with my dad, aunt and cousin tomorrow - the fact that I agreed and didn't make up an excuse about why I can't go is a triumph in itself, but the closer the date comes, the more anxious I'm getting. That's pretty much par for the course. The thing that's bothering me this time is that I've been having waves of nausea for the last couple of days. I can pretty much put it down to either too much screen time or PMS symptoms (I'm due for those soon and I always spend a day or two feeling nauseated each month, so it makes sense). I also know that when you get a stomach virus, it doesn't tease you for 3-4 days before it hits - you just get sick. But I keep having anxious thoughts - the most common in a situation like this is, "The symptoms start off mild and get worse, so the longer you're not full-blown sick makes it more and more likely that you'll become full-blown sick while driving or at the restaurant." That's nonsensical "logic" and I know that, but I'm still sitting at about a 50% urge to cancel right now. Another stressing factor is the fact that my husband is off work tomorrow so he wants to come - I love my husband and I don't want him to feel like he's not welcome anywhere, but if I get sick in the middle of the meal and he's still eating, I'll feel trapped so anxiety tells me it's "better" to go alone.
  3. It helped the other day when I talked through my fear of going to Best Buy, so I'm going to try it again for today's outing. A little background: I have panic disorder and I regularly avoid situations in which I feel trapped. Any type of theater or audience situation - from a movie theater to a classroom to live theater - triggers that sensation for me, and I've been at varying degrees of anticipatory panic for about a week, ever since my mother-in-law bought me a ticket to see the ballet with her and my niece without asking me first. I feel very petty, self-absorbed and ungrateful to be upset that she wanted to include me (especially after I found out the tickets are $40 each), but my brain keeps saying, "This is too big an event for the stage of recovery you're currently in. You are going to panic, this is going to be bad, and you are not going to get through this." Every time I have that thought, a wave of panic washes over me and my bowels begin to cramp at the idea of being in that theater. I start to think of every little step that has to occur in order to get through the ballet and every point at which it would be easy to panic or be trapped, and it begins to feel insurmountable: I have to drive there and I don't know what traffic will be like. I'm not familiar with the parking situation or how easy it will be to get my car back on the road when I'm ready to leave. I don't know where the restrooms are or how many stalls are available. I don't know where our seats are, how close to the aisle and exits I'll be, or how hot the auditorium will be. I don't know the exact run time of the play. These things always begin a little late, so I'll have to wait in the lobby, and then again at my seat. Intermission always takes too long and I'll have to wait again then, plus the bathroom lines will be long. Everyone will leave at the same time, creating traffic jams. Even thinking about all of those things right now is making me feel sick and I probably shouldn't have listed them all out like that, especially so close to the event (I need to leave the house in two hours). So right now, I'm thinking, "This is enough time to bow out and excuse myself from the event. It's still rude to not show up and it's a waste of my mother-in-law's money since I haven't given her enough lead time to find someone to give my ticket to, but maybe she can take one of the younger nieces who will enjoy the ballet more than my nervous ass will. Maybe in a few months, I'll be recovered enough to do something like this." I woke up with a stomach ache and general anxiety this morning. I ate a bowl of cereal because I could tell that I was going to have nausea as a result of low blood sugar problems if I tried to starve myself, and I also know that not eating makes me feel worse, not safer. I also had a cup of coffee because I'm pretty dependent on caffeine, but only one because I didn't want to get shaky, have to go to the bathroom repeatedly, or feel sick on account of the coffee. I've gone to the bathroom twice so far, which is a trigger for the anxious thought, "See? You are sick and if you go to the ballet, you're going to have diarrhea." I'm also feeling warm, but that's an anxiety symptom and it could also have to do with the fact that I'm still wearing my robe, which is too warm to sit around in all day. And I'm experiencing intermittent periods of dizziness, which is absolutely an anxiety symptom and nothing more - I've been tested for vertigo and any other conditions that might make me dizzy and been cleared by a doctor. I'm just not breathing well because I'm anxious. Furthermore, I'm feeling a little hungry again (how could I be sick while I'm hungry?) and all my symptoms magically go away if I distract myself with television, setting up my planner for next week, or briefly telling myself that I can cop out of going to the ballet. If I were really sick, my symptoms wouldn't go away every time I stopped thinking about the ballet. So here's my game plan: I'm going to take a shower and get dressed up because resisting the urge to be a slob always makes me feel more in control. I'm going to use my car time to dictate a couple thousand words of my current novel - and I'm going to be grateful for the distraction from work that the ballet provides because if it weren't for that, I'd be trudging through my rough draft all day. I'm going to bring a pair of headphones in my purse so I can sneakily listen to calming music or an audiobook if I really need to during the play, and I'm also going to bring my fidget cube to use as a distraction. My mantra for the day is, "It's just a temporary panic, and panic isn't dangerous," which I will repeat as necessary to keep myself from fighting the anxiety - I'll call on my meditation knowledge to let it wash over me rather than dam up behind me, and I'll practice staying present in the moment. When it's over, I'm going to reward myself with a trip to Kohl's to buy a purse that my new Chromebook fits into so I can carry it with me always. A few other things I like to remind myself of, which may or may not be in line with Carbonell's methods but which seem to help: If I stayed at home, I definitely wouldn't get sick so there's no reason to expect sickness in this situation, either. The whole event, round trip, will be about three hours, and the ballet will be roughly the length of a movie - I sit through two hours' worth of Netflix every single night and nothing bad ever happens, so this will be more of the same. I'm driving separately so if I genuinely need to leave, I can. If I were to actually get sick, I'd feel the same at home as I would in the theater so it doesn't matter where I vomit. If my symptoms mean I have a cold or flu, again, I'd feel the same at home as I would having a cold or flu at the theater, and I never vomit from those problems so I may as well stay put - people go out when they're sick all the time and it's okay. I still feel strongly in favor of cancelling, but I'm determined to do this because I know the way I feel has nothing to do with real illness and everything to do with anxiety. If I cancel today, it'll only be kicking this problem further down the road and making it harder to deal with later. Half the time when I get this worked up, I don't even end up having a panic attack, and the other half of the time, I do have a panic attack but I survive because there's nothing dangerous about a panic attack. So I'm setting my intention right now. I need to leave the house at 1:30pm and I will return to my house again by 4:30pm. Even if I don't make it to the theater, I will force myself to be away from home during those hours, so I might as well go and hold up my end of a promise I made.
  4. For the last couple of years, I've been screaming my anxiety fears into the Tumblr void and it's not helping anyone - talking to myself just makes me feel more alone and broadcasting my darkest fears only makes them seem bigger. So I thought I'd try writing here instead, and making sure to frame my thoughts in a positive, recovery-centered way. I just started working through the Panic Attack Workbook by David Carbonell because I found his website and was blown away by how much I felt like he was writing about me specifically. I thought, "This is a man who can help me with my exact problems," and I'm optimistic that will be the case. But I'm only up to chapter five so that means I'm in the knows just enough to be dangerous phase of working through recovery. My problem at this exact moment in time is that there's a Chromebook waiting for me to pick it up at Best Buy 15 minutes away, but: It's Black Friday and I know the trip will take at least twice as long as usual because of the lines. I can't stop thinking about an event I'm going to on Sunday that's causing anxiety, and I think if I don't "stay home and rest" now, I'll be too sick and anxious to go. There's a strange aching behind my right ear, my throat's a little scratchy, I'm mildly dizzy, I've got a mild headache behind my eyes, and my stomach is rumbling - clearly a sign that I'm about to be imminently and catastrophically sick and not a result of having skipped lunch and dinner. I've already been to this Best Buy once today in search of the same Chromebook. I left because the lines were long, but that was a function of impatience, not anxiety. I have very good reasons for going and picking it up today and not tomorrow, but the fact that I've already been there once today is making me think irrationally that it's risky to go again because I'm "pushing my luck". Here's what I know when I strip away the anxiety response: I've already 'scouted' the location so I know exactly how it will go - only it'll be better this time because I've pre-paid and it's later in the day. I'm going to have a lot of fun setting up my new Chromebook tonight once I get it home. How I feel today has absolutely no bearing on how I will feel on Sunday, and I have anxiety, not a physical condition, so I am not a "spoonie" as I sometimes think. All of the physical symptoms I have can be easily explained away by a lack of food, a day spent looking at my computer screen, and the anxiety itself. Even if I were to be sick in some manner during my trip, I could be home and "safe" in no more than two hours round trip - and that's being generous. So I'm going to fill my water bottle to stave off the hunger symptoms a little longer, listen to some calming music on the way to the store, and pick up my new toy. Not today, anxiety!
  5. Hello all, I have severe emetophobia and I've felt nauseous for the last three days. I've had to take antihistamines just to calm down (and because they're also anti-emetics) because I've been having anxiety over this non stop. I feel nauseous when I'm hungry, I feel nauseous after eating, even doing nothing all my thoughts focus on is "you're gonna be sick" even though logically I know I won't be. I also have a lot of gas in my stomach but I can't burp so I'm drinking gaviscon. Last time I threw up was 7 years ago although I gagged quite badly three weeks ago. I was just wondering if anyone has any techniques to get rid of this nausea that's clearly not caused by illness? Ginger and mint help a bit but not a lot. Thank you Jodie
  6. During the latter Spring and entire Summer, I find myself at my most peaceful. Viruses that spread seem to frequent the colder seasons and the holidays/events, which in turn tends to exacerbate the dispersal of those viruses. It's not the trivial colds that frighten me, but the ones that use my emetophobia to bring me to my knees. If someone gets sick, even if it is in an entirely different state on the opposite coast I find myself in a state of panic just by the thought. Lately I have entered a state of introspection that leads me to believe that due to this phobia, among other things, I am a burden to the close few around me. I pushed off seeing my girlfriend of several years by 2 weeks because her household has fell victim to what would clearly immobilize me in both senses. It has planted the thought in my head that she deserves better than someone like me, who would quarantine her for being ill out of pure fear and void of logic. I suppose the purpose of me posting this is to see if others have had similar feelings or situations, or could even offer advice to cope with this madness. It is slowly eating away at me and making life incredibly difficult.
  7. Hi everyone, I'm hoping someone has some experience with this and can shed some light. I have an extreme fear of throwing up and will do just about anything to avoid it. Several days ago I was diagnosed with a UTI and prescribed Microbid (an antibiotic) to help with this. I have been unable to take it because a common side effect is nausea. Of course I have been obsessing online reading every review possible about this antibiotic and there is a handful of people who vomit on this medication. I know I need to take my prescription so that the infection doesn't spread to my kidneys but I just can't come to terms with the nausea which will in turn send my anxiety into overdrive. Your experiences and encouragement are GREATLY appreciated.
  8. So I'm new here, this is my first post on any anxiety forum, I've tried joining a few before but never stuck with it after a few days. I just turned 20 about two months ago in January, and lately I've been feeling really depressed, thinking about I wish I was dead though I haven't actually made any attempts on my life. I have been agoraphobic for, I'd say about 10 years but have only been housebound for about six. It started after an incident where I nearly died. Anyway, it started with a fear of highways, and for years I struggled to go on them but I did, my doctor's office and therapist at the time were out of town, however slowly but surely, I lost the ability to "face" the highway, and started existing in town, I started visiting a therapist here but eventually she moved out of town and I couldn't bring myself to follow her though now I wish I had tried. About six years ago there was a power outage during the night that lasted for hours and I have a fear of the dark and after going out to a birthday party, after asking my family to go home multiple times before it got dark, we ended up barely getting home before the sun set. So I lost trust and stopped going out entirely, then when I tried again, it was basically an impossibility. It's now been six years and I can't go much farther than my mailbox without anxiety, and if I go any further than a few houses in either direction past my home, I almost completely break down, it's made worse because I'm emetophobic and as many of you know, anxiety gives you a constant feeling of nausea, and so it's a vicious cycle. My fiance directed me to this website in hopes that talking to others in similar or have been through similar will help me through my recent depressions.
  9. HOW MANY OF THESE DO YOU SAY YES TO?.... You eat out in restaurants very rarely and when doing so you avoid chicken, spicy or unusual cuisines You don't drink or restrict yourself to a glass of wine You don't like pubs or clubs - even to the extent of walking past them You dislike dinner parties, social events and crowded rooms which could lead to anxiety / panic attacks You eat little in public and if so you sit near a door You are very aware of checking sell-by dates You avoid flying and travelling by boat You avoid public transport, preferring to travel by car and driving yourself You feel uncomfortable when visiting a cinema and insist on sitting at the end of a row You avoid pregnancy fearing morning sickness and / or the fear of having a child and not being able to care for it correctly if they were to become sick You avoid anyone with a real or imagined sickness bug - either within their own environment or in public places You ensure that you always carry a bottle of water, mints or chewing gum You are very aware of pavements and check weather forecasts to see when rain is due I thought it was really quite funny that I said yes to every single one, never realised my 'must avoid vomiting at all costs' rituals and habits were so common. Didn't even realise what I had suffered with for over 10 years was a legitimate anxiety related disorder until a year or so ago, and that it was so common. More great info and videos here