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

posted 9 years ago in Emotional
Post # 18
Member
858 posts
Busy bee

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@bells:   Wow insensitive much? You can’t just flip a switch and make anxiety go away. That’s not how it works.

OP I’m sorry your having a hard time with this. I have panic attacks sometimes and it’s scary. All you do is try to be supportive. I thinks the best thing to do would be for him to get some counseling so he can deal with his anxiety before it gets to a fblow blown panic attack and you should look into a support group so that you will know how to handle it better the next time. Don’t beat yourself up over it, things happen

Post # 19
Member
3482 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

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@bells: Easier said than done. The problem with irrational fears is that they’re irrational. You can’t just snap your fingers and make them go away when it’s convenient.

I had an ex with general anxiety disorder and the most seemingly inane things (from my perspective) could send him into a panic attack. Until I convinced him to go to a support group and then therapy, he had no idea how to even begin managing his anxiety. You can’t expect someone to just “be a man” when they don’t even understand why they’re freaking out in the first place.

Post # 20
Member
2247 posts
Buzzing bee

As a person who suffers from panic disorder, I can tell you from your FI’s perspective, it is a nightmare.  You can’t possible imagine having to live with something like this.  It is not fun.  We do not plan these attacks.  They are not acts of “immaturity”, although a lot of people who’ve never suffered believe so.  I only hope that those people can experience it at least once.  Then, they’ll know.  These episodes are frightening and absolutely embarrassing… mainly because we’re afraid of other people and what they’ll think/say after witnessing it.  I’ve been chastized and called stupid by people (including my FI) after having to run out of stores/malls (I’m agoraphobic).  I’ve been accused of trying to seek attention.  It is just so shameful that the field of mental health is still so primitive and that the general public doesn’t recognize these disorders as being legitimate. 

My best advice to you is that you BOTH need to go to a counselor to learn how to handle your FI’s panic disorder.  He needs to learn proper coping methods.  Trying to jump out of a moving vehicle, especially when he was the driver, is NOT okay.  Like I said, I have panic disorder… but I can manage it pretty well.  If I had been feeling nervous that night and I’d been driving, I would’ve pulled into the gas station to let my Fiance complete the drive.  I know to remove myself from triggering situations when I start to feel that panic setting in.  Your Fiance needs to learn these coping mechanisms.  It is really unsafe that he got like that while driving, and if you guys plan to have children someday, he’s really going to have to either accept therapy or meds.  You need to know these methods too, so that you can help him out if he starts to feel this way again. 

I am glad you’re willing to help him and stick by him.  Your Fiance is not any less of a man because of this.  You are not wrong for having gotten upset the other night.  He DID put you in danger by stopping in the road, and almost jumping out while driving.  Just understand that he didn’t choose this, and I am almost %1000000 sure that if he could press some magic button, nothing like that would ever happen to him again.

Post # 21
Member
319 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

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@bells:  It sounds like trying to “be a man” is what got him into that situation in the first place, had he been able to own up to his vulnverabilities and let OP drive to begin with this never would have been an issue.

I also suffer from anxiety and get panic attacks, one was even while driving, by myself, in a blizzard. Absolutely one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever been through. Telling me to “man up” (woman up) and get through it would have been precisely zero % helpful. Our partners are there to support us when things are rough, but we should also be there for them.

 

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@imalittlebirdie:  Is he a generally nervous or anxious person? Does he tend to worry or fret about things, especially things he doesn’t have control over? Talking with a counselor who specializes in anxiety could definitely help him if he has any sort of general anxiety. Although if it was a completely random one off experience (i.e. he doesn’t generally worry about things and isn’t an anxious personality) it might not be the most helpful… it definitely wouldn’t hurt either way though.

Post # 22
Member
802 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Of course you freaked out, it’s really scary to watch, especially when it’s out of the blue.  I am glad you apologized, but please don’t feel bad about getting so frustrated in the first place, that’s just human.  You’re being very understanding now.

I think everyone before me has said what I would say; counseling is a good idea and it’s not because there’s something broken or wrong with him.  No one gets mad at a person for having a seizure, even though it can be just as dangerous.  It’s similar; if he’s never had a panic attack, especially, how would he know how to head it off?  And how would he know coping mechanisms to recognize and try and control it without talking to a professional?  He’d want a doctor to help him figure out how to recognize and control an asthma attack, or how to recognize a seizure or migraine coming on.  I think what I’m trying to say is that neither of you could possibly have been expected to recognize what was going on until it was in full-blown panic mode, but now that you know you can address it.  I would suggest talking to the therapist with him if he’s comfortable with it so that you can start to recognize the signs as well. 

Maybe until he can see someone about it, it would be a good idea for you to do the bulk of the driving?

Post # 24
Member
1626 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Well first of all one panic attack doesn’t mean he has a panic disorder.  I remember learning in Abnormal Psych that something like 25% of people have at least one panic attack in their lifetime.  I’ve had one before… I don’t even remember what triggered it, I just remember I felt like I was going to die or something.  It never happened again and that was like five years ago.  I say let it go and maybe learn a little bit about anxiety disorders in case it happens again.  I would say just let it go if he doesn’t want to go to counseling just yet and see if it happens again.  Here’s an article on what to do: http://www.wikihow.com/Help-Someone-Having-a-Panic-Attack  Hope that helps!

Post # 25
Member
376 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I dont know what to do, but i can tell you from experience I have been the one to react that way and I dont know why. we were in my parents boat pulling up to a dock, and I freaaaakked out.. and jumped out of the drivers seat and said YOU DO IT! hhaah… no we just laugh about it. even one time i was looking at jobs and saw air traffic controller, and he said yea right, you /stressful situations? YA RIGHT haha..

then again.. we did have a tire blow out going 75 miles and hour and I didnt panic. so I DONT KNOW what to tell you?

I would just talk to him now that you really dont mind driving up the hill in those conditions. and hopepully he will just realize its a better situation

 

however, myself and ICE eeeekkk i would be scared too!  after watching videos of ice/snow im scared.. BE SAFE.. this video i watched yesterday from Utah… and my Fiance is going on a vacation to visit him fam through snow.. eeek.. 

 

Post # 26
Member
1109 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

He doesn’t HAVE to go to counseling, he can just look up online or in books how to do practice belly breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. The real important thing is that he does it while he’s calm and gets good at it so that when he’s starting to panic he isn’t also trying to relax for the first time too. Plus, taking 5 minutes to relax and unwind a couple times a day can help reduce your risk of having anxiety attacks in the first place. I think it helps a ton to learn the physiology of a panic attack, I had a great packet on it and reread it over and over, so I knew that my heart could handle that “pounding out of my chest” feeling and was no where near stopping or giving out. My legs feeling weird was just increased blood flow which was perfectly fine.

Another thing I learned was that the chemicals that run through your system and cause panic ONLY continue to be released if the anxiety causing thoughts are continued. If the person is able to change their thinking the anxiety can only last about 3 minutes before the anxiety causing chemicals/hormones are broken down and the feeling will fade (this break down can cause a depressed or tired feeling, so he may need to rest a little after). This was the best thing for me personally because I knew I was in control, not the panic.

It sounds like it isn’t too severe at this point so getting educated and showing him that he is actually in control of his own body, even though it feels like he’s not, may really help.

 

Post # 27
Member
2825 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I dated a guy or a while who had terrible anxiety (to the point where he was on medicine daily) and he had a few panic attacks while we were together… The best thing you can do (which will take time, trust me) is to stay calm and rational.  Reassure them and talk them through what is bothering them.  Luckily the guy I dated had anxiety about being home alone (like having his parents gone, he worried something bad would happen to them, I should also mention we were teenagers).  Well, his parents left town for a few days so I came to stay with him for a while (it was the summer) and around the second night he started freaking out.  I had to literally talk to him for HOURS to settle him down and help bring him out of it, gave him his medicine and just waited it out.  It was all I could do… that said we were never in a dangerous situation when it happened.

My advice, go talk to someone together… Find out the route of his anxiety (he’s probably an anxious person to begin with) and he might need medicine, or you might get some medicine for when it does happen.  And work on staying calm and not getting mad, he really can’t help it, and tough love doesn’t work (I tried, it failed miserably). But definitely go talk to someone before he starts feeling anxious all the time, it will make you both feel better.

Post # 28
Member
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@imalittlebirdie:  You said you are worried about him having a panic attack after you have children. Coming from someone who has anxiety and panic attacks I can assure you that your Fiance is probably wondering the exact same thing. All you can do is learn calming techniques that could help you both. When I start to have a panic attack my Fiance reminds me to do my deep breathing exercises and he hugs me in a bear hug and tells me it’s going to be okay. He lets me cry, freak out and scream if I have to. In the end, I’m more happy he was there to hold me and keep me safe than rationalize and freak out with me. It was scary reading he tried to jump out of the car while driving. He could have hurt both of you. In that situation (as I’ve had panic attacks while driving) calmly have him pull over and get out of the car. Let him get out and get air but stay with him and help him get through it. I know it sounds difficult. Maybe you guys could go see his counselor if he has one and learn how to handle his panic attacks together. That would be a good step to do too before having children. A counselor could help immensely with how to deal with panic attacks when you have children.

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@mamadingdong:  Anxiety/panic disorders are not being immature or childish. It is the scariest thing in the world when a thought pops into your head and you have no idea how to control it. Sometimes people with panic don’t want to rationalize. But I don’t see how it was so childish when he had a panic attack. =/

Post # 29
Member
3482 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I would still try and get him to go to a support group. Not a one-on-one therapist, a support group. Go a couple times on your own if you need to, and then ask him to come with you to one of the meetings.

Thinking that it “won’t happen again” and that he can handle it himself is a pretty common reaction to anxiety issues, but usually that just leads to procrastination, denial, and the problem getting worse. It’s much better if he spends some time with people going through the same thing and realizes that he doesn’t need to do this all on his own, and that, in fact, it’s better that he doesn’t. A person who already has anxiety problems doesn’t need to put that kind of stress on himself.

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