Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Exercise . . . starting . . . NOW!

I had the flu. It wasn't fun. But the worst part was the day or two where I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack constantly. In my mind I had already decided that I would have to quit school, work, everything, and just be panicky. Thankfully, I felt better after awhile, but it led me to research panic attacks and agoraphobia a little bit more. I found a book called "Escape! The Complete Agoraphobia Recovery Course" and decided to work through it. Since it's on my Kindle and there's no good way to document my answers on that device, I also decided I would work through the written exercises on my blog.

The first bit of the book tells the authors story. The first exercise is to describe in as much detail as you can remember the first panic attack you can remember. So here goes.

I believe it was the summer after my freshman year at OBU. A few of us at church were going to Haiti for a couple of weeks for a mission trip. I don't really remember feeling particularly anxious about the trip in general before. We drove to Dallas and were going to stay the night in a hotel and fly out early the next morning. We went to grab some dinner at a nearby Chili's. I ordered some chicken tenders and had eaten one or two. I started to feel - bad. I felt lightheaded and fuzzy. I was getting really REALLY hot from the inside out. I just needed to get somewhere cool and quiet and lay down. I thought maybe I had eaten something bad, and went to the bathroom, but realized nothing productive was going to happen there. I rushed by our table and said I had to get some air. A friend followed me out to the church van and sat with me while I laid over the curb.

The breeze helped but I felt weird all that night. I managed to get through the trip without a nervous breakdown. But I remember avoiding Chili's for quite a while.

The author says that agoraphobia is a learned behavior. We have these experiences, and start to avoid and generalize and avoid and generalize, and it reinforces the panic and the avoidance.

That is all for now. Not very in depth, and this is more for my own documentation than your insight. Of course if you have any questions or thoughts, I welcome those.


Thompson Family said...

Kinsie...I think it is great that you are working through this. My mom was an Agoraphobic for most of my life and has conquered it in the last three years. She now works full time out of the home and can ride in the car with other people. She still has daily struggles but chooses to fight it and not be held prisoner by her own mind. So proud of you...this is a huge battle, but you can do it!

Kinsey said...

Thanks for posting that Sarah. That is so encouraging! I am a total basket case when riding as a passenger in someone else's car. Thank you so much!