As many of you already know, my relationship with the Lilac Couch is tenuous at best. She annoys me and I her. We spend vast quantities of time ignoring each other and forgetting whom came out of whose fanny.
So you can imagine I was ‘quite’ shocked indeed to be ‘texted’ recently about panic attacks. A reach out from the dark side if you will.
My mother suffers from – aside from extreme hypochondria –various panic induced attacks. Now as someone who had a complete melt down on a motorway not so long ago, I DO have sympathy with her on this issue. Panic Attacks are horrible, debilitating things that can really scupper your activities. They can also leave you feeling miserable and shaky and not in control of your own mind.
The mind can be tricky thing to grapple with and dealing with it can take various insights and shifts. For example I KNEW I could drive perfectly well on motorways. But knowing this did not stop the increased heartbeat, the sweating palms, the sensation that I was going to pass out and crash the car. I fought, I struggled, I began to avoid the motorway, finding more and more elaborate routes to get where I needed to go.
It was ridiculous and I was getting fed up. I went to see a hypnotherapist, which helped some, but not enough. Still I twitched and eeped and sweated. Finally in desperation I admitted my failure, whinged about it here and researched CBT.
A revelation! Much like Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, a few simple phrases resonated with me and helped that most minor of shifts in thinking that can allow major changes in behaviour.
Using CBT I took myself to the road again. I was not likely to faint, I reasoned, what with the elevated heart rate.Though my heart raced I was able to rationalise my fear, address it, roll with it. I did not fight it, rather I accepted it as what it was, panic, and panic does not last. Panic is a fight or flight response, but if you do neither it has no option but to pass by. And each time it does, the length of time you feel terror lessens and the panic itself grows progressively weaker.
These days I poodle along the motorway, thither and yon with scarcely a care in the world. If I get a flutter of anxiety I recognise it, accept it and move on. It took– in total– about three months to go from feeling I was going to pass out/die to this more acceptable state.
(Using CBT I attended a dentist last Friday too, something I would not normally have done. It is really a useful tool. I imagine it can be used to tackle all sorts of things)
Anyway, because all of my recent terror was fresh in my mind, I took pity on she who once flung me from the top of the stairs. How horrible to be afflicted by such a thing. She didn’t want to take tablets ( she said) She almost ended up in the hospital ( she said) She had heard I had overcome my own ‘flutter’ (she said) Would I kindly tell her what it was that she ought to be doing ( she asked)
Well! What is an errant offspring to do when faced with an admission of helplessness! One must be gracious.
Off I went, galloping to the WWW, I downloaded PDFs, I wrote a long and detailed account of my own battle, far longer than the one you may or may not have been bothered to read above. I researched who might be useful to talk to here in the city, and even closer to home. I found two excellent people who specialised in CBT close to the Lilac One’s home, so that she should not have to travel far. I typed long tedious notes. It took up valuable time, time I currently do not actually have.
Then I sent them all to her, with a personal note, saying that I was sorry to hear of her affliction and that I hoped what I had sent her might offer some relief.
A week passed, then another. I went away, I travelled some. I returned home.
I heard nothing.
Yesterday I spoke with my oldest sibling. And in passing, asked after the Lilac One, to be polite.
She was fine. When, in irritation, I demanded to know how went her panic tackling, my sibling laughed and said. ‘Oh, you know how she is.’
‘No.’ I replied, ‘I do not, look here I sent her everything I had to deal with this.’
‘I know, she had a look through it.’
‘And she said she wouldn’t be one for that ould sort of thing.’
‘Did she even read what I sent?’
‘Ah she probably flicked through it, you know how she is.’
Yes, I do, and how she is is a fucking time-wasting cancer of the foot wearing attention seeking HUSSY!
So there you have it. My mother, who took her dog to a faith healer in lieu of a vet, could not even be bothered attempting to wrap her cloudy fucking head around something that may or may not help her – assuming she suffers from panic attacks at all!
I have now wasted another twenty minutes giving out about her, to internet folk no less. That’s me done for the day. And DONE with her for the rest of the decade.