Posts Tagged ‘Panic Attacks’

I suffer from an anxiety disorder which gets worse when I am around people; because of this I become more astutely aware of my surroundings. In order for me to feel safe and secure in my environment I need to be alert of what those around me are doing. I feel I am able to see an aspect of human interaction many others do not. One aspect of said interactions interests me more than most, and this is how fake people can become. I know a large portion of our population is too afraid to act as they truly are. Why? I do not know the answer to this. It would be arrogant of me to claim to know why others act the way they do. My issues stem from insecurity, and the fear of making myself vulnerable, but I have no real psychological knowledge and very few ideas for why this is so. 

I do know from experience people are chameleons and act according to their surroundings. I myself have many different faces I put on everyday, and sometimes it gets hard to keep track of them all. I think I am able to pick up on the fakeness of those around me because I am consistently scanning body language and tone to identify perceived threats. My paranoia sometimes gets so out of hand I start to see threats that are no more than mere passerby’s.

This last fall we took the kids to this massive corn maze in Shakopee. In this maze you had to find these signs each with a letter of the alphabet; they all contained random Viking knowledge on them. I was anxious to go at first because I was worried I would have an episode like I had at the high school football game. When we first arrived I was completely unaware of what was going on around me. I was in the moment, it felt great; I was able to enjoy time with my family. The first letter we found was Z, followed by Y, X, then W. I was beginning to love the order in the madness of this maze. We kept searching and the next letter we found was K. Immediately I slipped into a full blown anxiety attack. This attack heightened my spider senses and I started to watch everyone for suspicious behaviors, after all I had to protect my family. Everyone seemed on the up-and-up (although this made me suspect them even more.)

I noticed the interactions of the people when they were in their groups, and how they acted when confronted with speaking to those outside of their party. I have always seen and been apart of being fake around others, but this time it was bothering me more than normal. This could be because I forgot my meds at home, and I was now stranded lost in this massive maze. Throughout the maze people were for the most part able to stay and interact strictly with their groups. Everyone was doing there own thing, until we hit a letter station. It was here where everyone seemed to huddle so they were able to read the sign and mark it off their maps. This congestion of people yielded a fog of fakeness. You had those who were highly insecure who would not even look up to acknowledge the sign. Then there were those who seemed filled with ego making comments like “blah, I already knew that, blah, look how cool I am, blah.” Then you had those who were uncomfortable and started to make uncomfortable small talk with those around them. What got me the most annoyed was the one liner followed by fake laughter. I was lucky enough to only get pulled into one of these one liner then laughter scenarios, but I refused to laugh.

I notice and take part in this fakeness all the time. At work I am considered weird and strange. I assume this is because I keep to myself, have tats, and will from time-to-time sport a dyed mohawk. The very few times I leave my office I walk with my head down. Even the times I have had to talk to people I am unable to make eye contact. It is because of this I have never been invited to play in their reindeer games. The one time I get stuck speaking to people is when I go outside to smoke. I try to not speak unless spoken to. I get so nervous that sometimes I will hear them say something and blurt out a comment. This is usually followed by a self chuckle, and the thought “what did I just say?”

When I do get roped into a conversation I have this painfully forced smile, followed by the worst acting laugh to stupid jokes or comments. If I am engaged in this type of situation I smoke my cigarette super speed style. The minute I turn around to head inside the smile immediately goes away and the fake laughter ceases. I try my hardest to not speak to people because it gives me panic attacks and I usually say or sound stupid. Words never come out as my original thought. Watching me interact with people is painfully uncomfortable.

I have one final example of the fakeness inside of us. There is a woman who is almost always outside when I go out. She is an older woman who loves to complain and loves to gossip even more. This woman has a distinct disdain for her co-workers, but there is this one man she hates from her very soul. This woman just tears him apart every chance she gets. If I didn’t already know this person was real I would have a hard time believing such a douche even existed. She will go on-and-on, but the minute this guy walks out the door she is all nice, and you would think they were best friends. The minute he walks away she is like I f’ing hate him. This transformation is very interesting.

I just wonder where all the genuine people are. In our daily interactions how are we to believe this is the “real” version of this or that individual. This concept makes me a tad uncomfortable. How am I able to stay safe if I can’t see the real you? When I am in public I see a sea of people wearing their masks. It is distracting and most likely a part of my anxiety induced psychoses, but either way they are there. Could I possibly have it all wrong and I am the only person who is fake? I can’t buy into this because where there is one there is many.

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I work as the Staffing Coordinator at a nursing home in Minnesota. One of my primary goals is to make sure the facility is staffed at all times; I also handle the schedules among other things. My days are spent doing the same routine over and over again. If I am derailed from my routine I become anxious and confused. Now obviously there are minor interruptions, but I have grown accustom to these and they rarely derail me, but for the most part I need my routine to function. On every other Monday I need to do payroll for the last two weeks. I do this for around seventy people in the nursing department, and about twenty-five lodge workers. This is the first thing I do on these Mondays, but yesterday decided to throw me a curveball. I sat at my desk and started to do payroll. I noticed everything was messed up; our time clock broke on Thursday. Apparently the time clock did not record any punches from the 30th to the 2nd. My boss instructed me to exit this program so they can try and fix it. This was devastating to me.

I was so lost and I was doing a little here and a little there, but not being able to stay focused on one single task. I was so scattered brain; causing everything to fall apart around me. I was having anxiety attacks all day, which some turned to pure panic. I was still able to get work done but I was in a haze of confusion. I struggled to do my other Monday tasks, but it was difficult since I was doing it at a different time, and the knowledge of not being able to do my first task. One of the things I do at the end of the day is deliver the staffing book along with the schedules for the next day to each floor. These schedules are crucial to the function of the nursing department. Without these schedules the place would erupt into chaos and order would break down. Nobody would know which floor or unit they were on. If this was left for the twenty-seven employees to try and figure out where they are supposed to be it would be random chaos. You can almost guess where this is going.

I am getting ready to wind down for the day. My routine is taking two of my sedatives at 7:00pm, and the remainder between 8-9pm. I took a double dose of my seven o’clock meds because I was all manic from my destroyed day. I started my nightly routine of trying to shut myself down. Now at 8:15 I take my next round of sedatives which include three separate meds. I must add I take these medications because I suffer from insomnia, and if you add in mania with insomnia it is very hard to shut myself down and go to sleep. So I am watching a movie and I am not feeling really tired and I am starting to panic around 9:30. I go upstairs and take another sedative to try and get me to sleep. It is now 10pm and I am just starting to fall asleep when my phone rings, and it is my work informing me there are no schedules in the staffing book for the next day. My office is locked, so I have no choice but to drive into work and get the schedules out.

I was really groggy and close to sleep. I noticed when I was talking to my wife my words were slurring. I live in Shakopee and work in Plymouth. It is a straight shot down 169 from my house to my work, but is a longer drive. It had snowed earlier so I was worried about the ice on the road. As I start driving I can tell I am really fucked up, and that this is going to be one hell of a journey. I was swerving all over the road and feared I would be pulled over. I am not aware of the laws, but I am sure if I got pulled over and told the cop I am driving on sedatives I would probably be arrested for a DUI. I know I would have never passed the field sobriety test. I at this point started praying and hoping I don’t crash or get pulled over.

One of the many side affects of taking all my medication is nausea. If I stay up to long after taking them I get really ill, so now I am driving not only fucked up out of my gourd, but I also feel like I am going to vomit. To make a long story short I made it to work stumbled to my office and up to the floors to deliver the schedules. At this point the nausea and grogginess has gotten much worse. I make it to my car and proceed to head home. It is snowing at this point, and I suffer from severe anxiety driving in adverse weather, so now I am sick, fucked up, and starting to suffer from a panic attack. I ended up driving around 40mph on a 65mph highway swerving from here to there. Obviously since I am writing this I made it home okay. I stumbled in the door holding back vomit and just struggling to get to bed. I think once I laid down I was out in two minutes. It was a scary and crazy experience, and looking back on it now I can chuckle to how close I was to either crashing or getting pulled over. Perhaps my prayers were answered; wouldn’t that be something.

****I need to add a side note to this post. I received a comment from Rambling asking why I didn’t have my wife drive me, and how I could have endangered the lives of another person. To be honest I was not even thinking about it. This makes me sound like a total douche. I got the call and ran out the door because I had no choice but to go. This of course does not excuse my stupidity, because I have a strict driving while intoxicated policy. If I have one drink I will not drive for the entire day. It is amazing how I did not even think about this.

I can remember as a child getting excited when it snowed. I would play outside building snow forts, constructing massive snowmen, and going sledding on any hill I could find. The kids in the neighborhood would have snow ball fights so the forts we built came in handy. I also remember playing pick-up games of football and it always made it more fun playing in the snow. The cold didn’t bother me then like it does now, because I was being so active. I loved when it snowed so much they had to cancel school. Those were the good old days before I wised up to the shityness winter brings. I had no concept about the horrors of driving to and from work. I am in a consistent panic worrying about the next time I need to drive. It causes all my other MI symptoms to flair up and I easily enter into a psychosis. The drive in this morning was horrible and I am freaking out about having to drive home. To me driving in this weather is playing Russian roulette with a car. I worry each time I head out to drive that this moment may just be my last.

This consistent flow of anxiety and panic always comes in mid-November or after the first snow fall. I worry and I worry until I work myself up in a tisi. My mind is consistently bombarded with images of injury, or death. What fucks me up the most is the ice; this is the invisible killer. You cannot see it but you know it is there waiting for you to make a mistake and when you do BAM! Your dead thank you for playing. It rained this morning and has now turned to snow, this means that the water on the roads will turn into ice. I really just want to bring a cot to work and stay here until Friday. If I were to do this then I would only need to drive in this crap two times a week. I am not necessarily worried about me (although I am) I am more worried about the crazy drivers who think they are invincible. They drive with no cares in the world because they think their four wheel drive will save them from death. Agh I am just sitting here counting down the minutes until I have to drive again.

In the end winter is evil, and is Mother Nature’s way of trying to eradicate us. I think she was really mad when we created fire and housing so we didn’t freeze to death. I do not know why I still choose to live in Minnesota, considering how much I despise winter. I just want it to be over and in reality it is just starting. YUK