(Closed) FI had a panic attack… and I did not handle it well…:(

posted 9 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
5473 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I think you should apologize to him for reacting badly, acknowledge that you were harsh, but ask him to rationally explain why he freaked out.  I have had panic attacks and they are no joke!  It’s like- I know I’m being unreasonable but I can’t do a damn thing about it.  It’s frustrating to be in one, and I’m sure it’s frustrating to witness one as well.

Explain that you want to be supportive and understanding, but your concern for his safety was first and foremost in your mind.  I’m sure he’ll see where you’re coming from.

I may also suggest he see someone- it can help him recognize that he is escalating before he is in a full blown panic.  There are always litte stresses that build up and if he can identify his stresses ahead of time he can lessen or even avoid the panic attack alltogether.  It takes time and practice, but it CAN get better over time.  I haven’t had one in years but I am aware of my reactions enough that if I start to feel that palm sweat, knot in my stomach, tingling hands, tight chest, etc… I can remove myself from the situation and calm myself down before there is a crisis.  Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 4
3106 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

i can’t offer much advice because i’m just like you- i get mad & frustrated after a few minutes of trying to rationalize. this kind of behavior seems almost immature. what if you hadn’t been in the car to be the adult in the situation?

i believe strongly that he is supposed to be protecting you and he instead put you in danger. i’m not judging- there have been situations where i felt that my SO could have shouldered more of a questionable situation. (driving the 405 in LA comes to mind)

i’m curious what other people say.

Post # 6
5473 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

View original reply
@imalittlebirdie:  GAH!  Reading fail, sorry.  Is he upset with you?  If he understands where you were coming from and he’s not mad that you were a little harsh, I don’t think there’s a big issue.  I think that you genuinely were concerned for his safety at that moment, and he should be able to identify with that.  I still reccommend counseling/therapy for him, not because I think he’s nuts, but because when I had some anxiety issues it was very helpful for me to learn some tools to better deal with my anxiety. 

Post # 7
3482 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I would suggest that both of you go to a support group for people who suffer from anxiety disorders. I think you would both benefit from being around people dealing with similar situations and learning how best to communicate with each other if something like this happens again. His eventual instinct to just get out of the car and walk was a good one, but before that he did put you both in danger by insisting he keep driving even though he was starting to panic. And while it’s very common to feel anger and frustration when someone is acting like that, you will need to learn to rein it in a little and be patient and supportive while remaining rational and firm.

Post # 8
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Wow you know what?  I was with you up until you asked if he felt stupid now, but that being said- I can TOTALLY sympathize with you and why that came out of you after that crap he pulled.  He tried to get out of the car, while driving, with you in the passenger seat.  That is so dangerous and you have every right to feel like that is absolutely ridiculous.

I think that you need to think about it like that.  He could have hurt not only himself but you too.  If that bothers you, I would have a conversation about the necessary help he needs to seek to discuss why that happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

One other thing – when it happened last time, did you get overly angry at him for not picking up momentum and getting you guys stuck?  Guys have a lot of pride sometimes, and maybe he flashed back to when that happened and how miserable it was?  I dunno just thinking out loud.

Post # 10
6013 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2019 - City, State

while i know for fact (i have suffered them before) that panic attacks are real i also know that its the responsibility of the person with anxiety to find a way to manage their condition. sometimes it is almost impossible to do that but there are ways to recognize it earlier and ways to manage yourself through it to where the reactions and damage done are not nearly as bad as it could be. i think that while it was unneccessary to say the things you said after the fact that i too would have been very frustrated. of course i would feel bad too about him having a panic attack but i would also need him to get a better handle on himself and understand himself better for me to be ok. thats dangerous. what if you would have been on a highway or an even more dangerous situation and he just stopped driving and panicked enough to try and jump out a moving car that he is in control of? that is not ok. So i would apologize for the things said after the fact but would not hold back my frustration at being put into a situation where he let his panic attack put the two of you in danger. I understand he cant make it go away. thats not how it works. but again there are ways to understand yourself better and learn to recognize triggers and symptoms and also things that can contribute to it going away sooner.

ETA: i see you said you have already apologized. at this point its on him to get a better understanding of why he reacted the way he did and figure out a better way to manage his panic attacks. counseling might be a good idea and at some point since you will be a main support they can give you ideas and tips on how to best handle him. it is not fair to you or safe for either of you for him to just not address this. its up to him to make the first move and help you understand how to better help him when things like this happen. all of this is of course IMO ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 12
1109 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am a psych nurse so we have some pretty big “freak outs” at work, and I have had anxiety attacks and been to behavioral therapy for it. IMO, he needs to learn and practice coping skills like belly breathing, meditation etc. while he’s calm so when he’s having a panic attack he can use the behaviors he’s learned to calm himself down before it escalates out of control like this. Also, don’t try to touch someone who is having a panic attack, their body is shifting blood from their intenstines and skin to their lungs, brain and legs (think of your body getting ready to run away from a threat) this causes a “crawling” feeling in the skin for a lot of people and touch is actually not calming for a lot of people who experience panic. It sounds like it was scary for you, but think of how scared he must have been :

I think it’s worth asking him if he felt threatened before you got into the car. It sounds like he must have been worrying about the weather and built up to this, because that sounds like a pretty intense attack to have completely spontaneously. It’s basically useless to try to stop a panic attack once it gets that out of control, he’ll need to learn his warning signs and try to nip it in the bud. He can also tell you when one is coming on and you can help him through it before it gets too bad. Just be supportive from now on, you can only beat yourself up so much. You said you were sorry and now it’s time to work on preventing this from happening again. It’s definitely worth talking to a doctor if this is an ongoing problem. I hope he’s feeling better today.

Post # 13
5473 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

When you bring up counseling… it isn’t like you’re telling him he can’t do this on his own.  For example, if you guys had a leaky faucet at home, and he didn’t know how to fix it or have the right tools to fix it, he would probably read up on it and go to Lowe’s and buy the right tools, right?  Well, with anxiety, you just need the right tools to manage it and a good knowledge base to deal with it.  I think you’re being really supportive & I think he can (in a rational state) see why you reacted the way you did.  He just needs the right tools for the job ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 14
748 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’ve read about people who panic on planes and try to “get out” by forcing the plane door open. They aren’t rational. I’d be worried too. Not being able to depend on a partner in a bad situation is a big deal for me. I’d also worry if he’d freak out with a baby in the car or something.

I dunno, counceling is good, seeing a doctor is good. I probably would never let him drive again though, but I have trust issues.


Good luck

Post # 15
9024 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Honeslty I cant believe he would leave you to drive by yourself when he knew there was a possibility you might get stuck and might need to push the car. I do understand that people get panic attacks and all but to me I wouldnt be able to deal with a guy who can just bail on me in a scary situation. I need my man to be able to be a man and push through his fears when our safety is at risk

Post # 16
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Well, I have the same issue as him. I got in a major car accident (my fault) as a teenager and have huge mental blocks and panic attacks while trying to make left turns. It doesn’t happen all the time, it mainly gets triggered on super sunny days or when I have a total blind spot. There have been times where I have gotten myself stuck in an intersection, mid turn.

My Fiance has been very understanding towards it. But he’s also acted like you did. It’s hard to understand and deal with. Try to remain patient and calm. And if he does something that may harm you or another, take control of the situation with any means possible. And if he doesn’t feel comfortable driving or in a car, insist on taking over for him.

Also, therapy is the ONLY way I have seen improvements in myself. This is obviously a major issue for him and something triggered it (like the weather). If he was alone and driving, he could have killed himself or others. Insist that he see someone.

The topic ‘FI had a panic attack… and I did not handle it well…:(’ is closed to new replies.

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