Can't cope with stress?

Discussion in 'Brainbent' started by liminal, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. liminal

    liminal I'm gonna make it through this year if it kills me

    So, I used to be able to tolerate stress fairly well. I do know ways to calm myself down.

    But I have a problem. A couple of years ago I had a panic attack at my job and since then I just can't tolerate stressful situations any more. Basically my stress levels go from zero to sixty with no kind of gradual escalation. Either I'm totally fine and calm or a bordering-on-nonverbal wreck who keeps freezing up with a tendency to self injure.

    This is obviously not a good thing for multiple reasons. I've received countless warnings about how I'm never gonna make it in the real world because stuff that totally wrecks my day (like having to do things I havn't totally mastered or understand, or being put on the spot, or giving presentations, or driving. Holy shit driving. I havn't actually been on the road in years to the chagrin of my parents but at the same time even with all of my coping skills I am still dangerously panicked behind the wheel because dyspraxia makes driving on hard mode).

    Like... I want to go and actually do things with my life, but this is nearly impossible to deal with. If there was an intermediate, vaguely uncomfortable phase than I'd know how to deal with it even if it isn't easy. I am pretty self aware of my internal state. Constantly slamming face first into overload territory and then having people get on your case for being totally unreasonable over every day life shit is not fun and I don't really know what to do either because most stuff about practicing mindfulness, taking deep breaths, etc. is not super helpful. I mean fuck, last few times I tried practicing "deep breaths" when in meltdown mode it ended up turning into hyperventilation that just happened to fill up my lungs instead of shallow quick breaths.

    It worries me. I feel like something in my brain broke that day and I'm going to have to be dependent on people (who don't really believe in psychiatry and just think I'm too sensitive/blame it on me not wanting to grow up) for the rest of my life.
  2. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    That sucks. I'm in a similiar boat, though my anxiety isn't crippling, it just interferes with my functionality. Breathing doesn't help too much for me either because I have to get it down to a certain point first. I have two catagories of anxiety: endless thoughts/words anxiety and "what the fuck is wrong?" anxiety.

    For words anxiety: writing, making comics or other crafting outlets. The words need to get out so I need to put them down somewhere. I used to send the really bad ones to Seebs because my words sometimes needed to be heard(and the responses were usually nice). Really bad words anxiety I told multiple people about because the words wouldn't stop. I also spent a fair amount of time in full-blown distraction mode* so I didn't have to hear the words.

    For what's wrong anxiety(or that plain jittery uncalm feeling that seems sourceless): the most helpful thing was honestly reading "how to deal with anxiety/panic attack" things on the internet. I would actually reread them(not necessarily doing the steps) because it helped me focus on calm words, while also not ignoring the problem. It was a sort of acknowledgement + focus thing that really helped. I also find that trying to stop doing too many things helps as well(I was constantly distracting myself from words anxiety which can result in what's wrong anxiety). Sometimes listening to music helps too. Also checking to make sure I have eaten recently and enough/right can help a lot. And getting enough sleep.

    As far as if it will last, I'm not sure. After my stressors notched way down, I started experiencing nasty mood rollercoasters(I was miserable) that eventually leveled out enough that I felt sane again. I was still bad enough that major depression smacked me in the face while I was still recovering. I had a supportive family(meaning no one to judge me for not "getting over it") and after adjusting my diet and being handed a "get out of Jail/Ohio/my life" card, I still have some left over issues with anxiety. It's better now(omg the words anxiety is mostly gone and that is wonderful), but I still have to avoid some things that I wouldn't have a couple years ago(intense movies/shows specifically. I still avoid them though I love them so much).

    I got out from under my major stressors about half a year ago and I'm still recovering. I admit I'm a little afraid as well that some of this will be permaneant, but I can say it gets better. I hope things get better for you and I know having people getting on your case isn't helping.

    *distraction mode is a very affective anti-words anxiety defense mechanism, but I have to say I do not enjoy the side effects nor it's addictive nature. It really screwed with my brain and has definitely put me in serious harm's way. I've been feeling lucky these days that I haven't accidentally killed myself because of it.
  3. liminal

    liminal I'm gonna make it through this year if it kills me

    I guess it just bothers me sometimes when people are unhelpful about anxiety (this is not directed towards anyone on this forum btw) because I know how to meditate, I've tamed some hellish anxiety in the past between social anxiety bordering on paranoia and I've pretty much cured myself of intrusive thoughts without any kid of outside intervention. So I am fairly well equipped to deal with anxiety in general over years of experience fighting it. Still not perfect but pretty good at any rate. However I am not well equipped on how to deal with meltdowns/panic attacks and people in my life just cannot comprehend how something so innocuous tot hem triggers such an extreme reaction in me.

    I am really hoping this doesn't end in me having to go on anti-psychotics as well as any other SSRI I may be prescribed in the future; because some of hem are also used to treat more extreme mood swings and sometimes with autism too. I guess if I had to chose I'd want to be a functioning adult who could do normal adult things like drive, hold down a job, pay bills and shit without feeling extremely overwhelmed by the it all.

    Buuuut those are also the kind of medication I don' feel comfortable with either. So maybe if I'm lucky and I actually get a therapist and actual treatment instead of forging it on my own for years normal anxiety meds can keep i down to a dull roar that I am actually capable of tolerating and working with.
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