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Shut down before panic sets in

trytryagain

Learning
Does anyone else shut down/get angry/ turn away and kind of stop responding when faced with the trigger? Like I can sense it is coming on and I stop being able to function, then panic hits, then it gets worse until it's an attack.

I have a hard time when my emotions go from a high, to being in the bottom of a pit and I respond with what I described above.
 
posilutely. the four f's (freeze, flight, fight or fawn) are the front line, biological response of a panic attack. with my over-developed survival instincts the escalation of this all-natural survival mechanism can go on until i am ? ? ? an escalated panic attack can carry me to some of the most psychotic of adventures. round and round and round she goes. where she stops, nobody knows.
 
Usually, as soon as I can recognise the pattern? I can stop it.

The more often it’s happening? The better faster I can react.

One trigger last year? Pfft. It can/will f*ck me up for days. 20 today? I might lose 5 or 10 minutes out of my total day, barely even blipping the radar. Wasting more time deciding which brand of whatever to buy in the market, than on whatever trigger/stressor has shown up.

Practice? Is a helluva thing.
 
Is it usual to have more than one response or for them to change as you're processing what is going on?
More than 1 for sure.

For example, the flop response is essentially: animal decides lion is going to eat me, flood the body with opiates, let all muscles go limp and floppy.

If the animal then decides there’s a chance to run? Flop can transition to flight, and a different set of chemicals and body responses flood the system. Same with fight.

The “deer in the headlights” is a freeze response. But after that freeze moment, you very often get a flight response, where they run away.

An animal might be halfway through a fawn response, and suddenly decide they could more effectively fight, or flight.

Same is true for humans.

And to complicate it? The amygdala (our central, least evolved part of the brain) has taken control when we go into those fight/flight responses. Ptsd’ers get that a lot, because our amygdala is overactive (which is a core part of a ptsd diagnosis).

But as we register what’s going on around us, we can slip out of that state, and our frontal lobe can step in again, and make reasoned decisions about how to handle the stressor.

At some point, the frontal lobe will start functioning again. But when that happens will vary. It’s quite hard to assess, even with the benefit of hindsight.
 
I feel like I literally shut down. Yes I was aware it was going on, but as far as having a lot of control over it, I didn't feel I had that fast enough.

When they left I went into a panic and I truly didn't see through the cognitive distortion that they were gone forever. I said things that weren't entirely true. I have a tendency to say things about ending the relationship "this can't happen again" or "just end it with me" or "just stop pretending you care about me anymore"

This was my messed up way of asking for help.
I was judged pretty harshly by these responses, and asked to explain them all... deal with the anger from the other person at my actions. "You walked away, you did that"

I was asked to know the magic answer to avoid it from happening again.

This happened twice in a 24 hour period because they left (in person or in conversation). So they ended correspondence with me. I don't blame them for leaving altogether because that was codependent as can be, but I am trying not to blame myself for not being perfect. It's my first panic attack in years, and I had been very honest about my anxiety/ptsd from the start of getting to know them.

Has anyone had trouble saying the right thing in those moments of sheer panic and confusion/not seeing things clearly?
 
Has anyone had trouble saying the right thing in those moments of sheer panic and confusion/not seeing things clearly?
That’s the rub, right? The whole point of the fight/flight response with ptsd is that usually is no lion that we need to escape.

The fight/flight response is a dysfunctional reaction to the situation - that’s why it’s a disorder, and not just a “thing”. It’s why it needs treatment. Once in that mode, our responses are by definition not rational.

Getting treatment for the triggers is crazy helpful. So that they don’t keep triggering that response.
 
God yes. For me it's my (very well ingrained) fearful avoidant attachment pattern. Hit a trigger, panic, need help, feel stupid for needing help, push the help away to stop feeling stupid, end up feeling worse that I'm now triggered AND have isolated myself from help. At the time I can't catch myself out of it, it's only after that I realise I've done it (again)
 
God yes. For me it's my (very well ingrained) fearful avoidant attachment pattern. Hit a trigger, panic, need help, feel stupid for needing help, push the help away to stop feeling stupid, end up feeling worse that I'm now triggered AND have isolated myself from help. At the time I can't catch myself out of it, it's only after that I realise I've done it (again)
Ugh.. literally just caused someone to severe an attachment to me. They kept saying they understood I had anxiety and PTSD.... and triggers... yet... when it started happening for real guess it was too much for them. (caught me off guard too!)

I have a counselor, but we have been focusing on helping me set boundaries, and work through grief from deaths in the family, then grief from ending my long term relationship. I suppose I need to bring this up, but not sure if she really knows a lot about PTSD. Every support group I have found that meets online or in person is really expensive. I started an antidepressant back in May. Any suggestions?
 
My therapy has hit a brick wall atm, but before then we did somatic experiencing as part of psychodynamic therapy. My T spent alot of time trying to teach me first what a feeling was and then what it meant... Sounds so basic but clearly I was at 'entry level!'

It's still very much a work in progress. Feelings wheels and cards have helped. Basically, for me, I need the language to know what's going on first, to then work out what that means/ how I can manage it effectively

My T worked from an attachment base with reparenting elements, it was encouraged to basically bring it all to them, like a child would a parent, for them to be that safe base to learn from. Not for everyone I know but I don't have any outside help (no friends, I've never been able to have a relationship, hurrah for rubbish attachment patterns!!) so I sort of practiced alot in an environment where the other person isn't going to get frustrated
 
My therapy has hit a brick wall atm, but before then we did somatic experiencing as part of psychodynamic therapy. My T spent alot of time trying to teach me first what a feeling was and then what it meant... Sounds so basic but clearly I was at 'entry level!'

It's still very much a work in progress. Feelings wheels and cards have helped. Basically, for me, I need the language to know what's going on first, to then work out what that means/ how I can manage it effectively

My T worked from an attachment base with reparenting elements, it was encouraged to basically bring it all to them, like a child would a parent, for them to be that safe base to learn from. Not for everyone I know but I don't have any outside help (no friends, I've never been able to have a relationship, hurrah for rubbish attachment patterns!!) so I sort of practiced alot in an environment where the other person isn't going to get frustrated
That is interesting, and I'm sure a really good strategy. I was so torn apart by letting myself get roped up in the codependency, but also feeling like I relapsed (not the right word I'm sure) back into panic attacks/flight, freeze, fight behaviors I thought I grew out of. I was never able to come up with a plan before that.

For some reason, the pain from this helped jolt me awake and I was actually able to form a proactive plan for the trigger, verbalizations for when I need to ask for help instead of saying things that are untrue or unhelpful/lashing out.

I even came up with one for when the panic is happening. I've printed them out and put them by my bathtub and computer. I have practiced saying the words and the steps multiple times a day since a few days ago. I've used the steps to help calm down from different panics I've had since I'm now alone again (terrifying for me sometimes). Pulled out a weighted blanket and just have cocooned myself for two days.

Sigh. it seems like so much to work on... priority goes to learning how to be okay alone and coping with panic again I guess.
 
A plan is always useful, gives you a template and hopefully some reassurance that you have some control over it. It's definitely a work in progress and hard going though. Can you lean on your counsellor a bit through the rougher patch to help stabilise if needed? Sometimes that extra session or phone call can really help. Or maybe see what else is out there to support trauma
 
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