Life destroyed by panic attacks
I am in a very unusual and difficult situation. Due to depression, serious panic attacks and their side effects I am no longer the person I once was. I am afraid of everything.
Last year, 5 days before Christmas, I got fired from a position that I worked very hard to obtain. The pressure of the job and the difficulties I was having on a personal level with my teenager caused me to have several panic attacks and totally could not concentrate or remember anything. My life fell apart at that point. I lost control after losing my job I had never been fired before, and I found that I could not even go to a job interview without totally messing it up. I lost my new car and could not pay the rent.
I didn't care about anything and was too afraid to do anything about it. As a result we had to move back in with my daughter's dad and now I live in the garage. She is doing better now but he has no idea of the problems I am having. He knows I take medication but does not know the extent of the problem within myself. I can't even go into the grocery store without waiting for everyone in line to be gone so I can dash in and out.
I have lost all my friends because they do not understand the lame excuses I make up so as not to do things. I have suffered from this for a long time but it seems to be getting worse, I think about suicide all the time, I am to afraid to even enjoy life mostly to go and petrified to work. The problem is in the fall my ex-husband expects me to find a job. I know at this point that I am not ready for this.
How do I explain this to him?
Firstly, you say you are thinking about suicide all the time, and you mentioned you were on medication. I want you to get an urgent appointment with your doctor and tell him how you are feeling. Maybe you need a change in your medication or some other medical intervention that will support you to do the discovering you want and need to do.
From what I understand from your letter you were fired from your job last year and your world has been devastated since. I am sorry this happened to you when you say you worked so hard for this job. It is a shocking and unpleasant feeling for most people. The most useful thing we can do together is to find ways of helping you explore why it has been so dreadful for you and then you will be able to start moving forward from there. You are obviously intelligent and capable and I firmly believe that somewhere within you, you have all the answers you need if you can just get the help to find them, which you have courageously reached out to do.
- What other situations in your life can you think of that have any kind of link or parallel to this one? They may be on an equal or smaller scale but brought up some intensity of these same feelings you have been experiencing this year.
- What is the word / words that best sum up how you feel /have felt about yourself in this situation? E.g. Failure, rejection, incompetence, incomprehension, disbelief? Come up with your own words that are the best fit. How do these words fit in with your self perception and your past life experience? It is my guess that there is some link here to some old -maybe very old, familiar feeling. With it you will find some clue as to why you are finding it so hard to recover and with that you will then start to discover how to move forward within safe limits.
- Think how you would like to start regaining some "control" in a safe way. If you are unable to think of anything, allow yourself to have a fantasy about how you would like to be able to cope. This can often unlock some of your subconscious knowledge.
- You say you are frightened to enjoy life. You got something you thought you wanted and lost it. Have you made this a rule that is now going to happen to everything good? If so, is this a rule that is going to serve you well, give you the life you want?
- Maybe you know more about being fired than you say. If not, have you made efforts to find out why it happened? Sometimes the truth is much easier to face than what we imagine.
- What other beliefs do you have that may not be serving you well? E.g. because my life fell apart this year there is no point trying again?
You sound to me like you have been a high achiever, there is nearly always pressure with high achieving. Is this right for you? Are you feeling pressured by your ex-husband's deadline of working in the fall? Well, maybe you will be working in the fall, maybe you won't, but are you going to use his deadline or one that is right for you?
Give yourself credit for getting your daughter back on the right path despite your own difficulties, and for finding a roof to go over your heads. This is no mean achievement given how you have been feeling.
Start focusing on how you would like your life to be. Don't worry right now about how this will happen. What you don't want to do is look too far into the future, look at what you want to achieve today and maybe tomorrow and if you make a success of these two days then you can think about what next. Keep to manageable chunks so as not to overwhelm yourself.
Above all be kind to yourself, you deserve it.
Women Improving Self Harmony...one woman at a time.
This question was answered by Women Improving Self Harmony who provide a motivational approach to counseling. They work individually with women who are ready to create better lives for themselves by overcoming the past, building a future and learning from lessons to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Our Professional and Personal Mission statement is to allow women to sing from within, create there own personal harmony as we create our own. Our style provides one-on-one ventilation. One -on- one ventilation is making known to another your true self. With several counselors and personal life coaches we provide a gamut of services on a variety of issues.