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Thread: Massive relapse

  1. #1
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    Apr 2015
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    101

    Massive relapse

    Good morning all, I have been having a very bad time with my anxiety/panic ...I知 sorry for the length of this post I知 also not sure if it is supposed to be here or the panic attacks section?

    My husband and I have recently moved house, and I could feel the anxiety building up again prior to the move. We have moved back to just outside my hometown after a decade away, to be closer to my family. I thought I would be happier once we had moved, but my anxiety has really hit me like a ton of bricks.

    I first came to this forum many years ago, under a previous screen name, when I had started having totally out of the blue panic/anxiety attacks when I was driving. This is something that went away completely for a long time, but sadly seems to have started up again recently. The strange thing is it only happens on rural roads.. I am generally fine in busy areas. (it is because the original panic attack happened on a quiet road so I think I致e obviously associated that link somewhere in my head!). my husband and I lived in a city for a long time however the recent house move has seen us move out to the countryside. When we lived in the built-up area, until the week before last, if I ever tried to drive out of the city I did feel a bit jittery but I was able to sort of forget those issues because I didn稚 NEED to drive on country roads. (Okay - I was avoiding addressing the problem lol). but I stumbled along for years doing alright or so I though. I mean, when I say "alright" ... I am clearly deluding myself there because there was a lot I did avoid doing. Say I wanted to take the dog for a walk in a country park, absolutely no chance whatsoever because of the road that I needed to go on to get there. So I told myself that I would just take into the city parks out of convenience. yes, in hindsight it actually has affected my life more than I realised.

    This current period of acute anxiety which I cannot seem to get out of, started towards the end of September when we travelled down here for our house move. I was a passenger in the car and was a total mess feeling extremely panicky on the motorway,. which was very scary. That was the 22nd of September and basically since then I have been in a very bad way mentally, very on edge and anxious the whole time. It has taken the shine off what should be an exciting period in our lives of buying a brand-new house which we absolutely love but I feel because of my current anxiety I cannot fully embrace everything.

    We stayed at my parents for the night so we were in the area for the completion of our house purchase the following day.
    When we got the phone call from solicitors to say that everything was done, we had it over here several miles out of town to our new house to collect the keys and that is when I realised the extent of my problems I panicked as soon as we left town and hit the country roads. it was a very depressing feeling because I realised that I actually have just avoided addressing this problem all these years, and it is very much still present.

    You may wonder why on earth we have purchased a house in the countryside if I have this issue, well at the point when we first started the process to move house which was back in March, I really genuinely did not think my driving issues were still present. at least not to this extent. I also feel that I cannot keep letting my anxiety dictate what I do anymore, we have moved here for a better quality of life than we had when we were living in a city suburb... I desperately want to be able to embrace all that life has to offer living here, and know that I知 finally able to do things with my family easily rather than it being a military operation to organise like it was all the years when I lived miles away. but now I知 scared I知 going to be stuck! my husband does not drive, so it is just me. However even if he did drive, I don稚 want him ferrying me around, I want to address this problem and sort it. I need to be able to because living out here means that I have to drive to do pretty much anything.

    Things have been so bad, my IBS has also been terrible for a couple of weeks now.

    I had a phone call appointment yesterday with my new GP, the surgery seems to be really lovely.
    She has given me a prescription for Propanolol, and Sertraline. I have also self referred to the local IAPT service, I have an initial phone call assessment appointment with them next week.

    I cannot deny I am more than a little bit worried about the side-effects of the medication. I'm getting myself worked up about driving into the village to collect them from the dispensary! Which I feel is silly because it痴 only about a mile and a half up the road.

    It is crazy to think that if we had made a different choice of where to buy a house, and bought somewhere actually IN my hometown where my family are, I would not have this problem. I'd be happy driving around, doing all the things that I have wanted to do for so many years. But we could not have afforded to buy a house in that town and I would still have the problem, I would just be burying it and not dealing with it. So I suppose living in this rural area is finally making me address it.

    I am hopeful that the IAPT referral... which I think it痴 for CBT.. will help me.

    Anyway I just want to say thank you to anybody who has read until the end, I知 not sure what I was hoping to achieve by posting this. I am going to go and collect my medication from the village
    today and then I知 going to come back here and report when I have done it.
    Last edited by silver_shoes; 06-10-21 at 09:53. Reason: Typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    101

    Re: Massive relapse

    Well.. I did it. I drove to the village, collected my prescriptions, and drove home again.. Nothing happened, but it felt horrible! I was going to wait until my husband (who works from home) was on his lunch break so he could come with me, but I thought that might be a dangerous road (pardon the pun) to go down, I don't want to become dependant on him in order to leave the house. I used to do all this everyday stuff without even giving it a second thought. Roll on the CBT assessment appointment.
    Now to actually pluck up the courage to take the tablets I have been prescribed....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    13,882

    Re: Massive relapse

    Congratulations on getting there and back and for facing your fear as you mean to go on. It's a huge achievement given your high anxiety and all the changes you are facing at the moment. I'm sure you'll feel exhausted this afternoon so go easy on yourself?

    Could you challenge yourself to just a very short drive on a quiet road every day..unaccompanied. Some days will be easier than others and some days you will just be too anxious but that's ok. As for the meds, have you been started on a very low dose of Sertraline to take things gently?

    I think you should be very proud of what you've done today especially as you've taken on so much recently despite severe anxiety.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2021
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    1,129

    Re: Massive relapse

    You have done really well!

    You drove today, you have contacted the doctor and referred yourself to IAPT.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    2,995

    Re: Massive relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by silver_shoes View Post

    I first came to this forum many years ago, under a previous screen name, when I had started having totally out of the blue panic/anxiety attacks when I was driving. This is something that went away completely for a long time, but sadly seems to have started up again recently. The strange thing is it only happens on rural roads.. I am generally fine in busy areas. (it is because the original panic attack happened on a quiet road so I think I’ve obviously associated that link somewhere in my head!).
    Absolutely! You once had a panic attack on a rural road so your amygdala took note and remembered. Amy (I call the amygdala this) is actually trying to protect you because she remembers that you were 'in danger' in a similar situation so the fight or flight response goes on and that is to protect you from harm. Problem is that Amy doesn't know that it was a panic attack and not 'real' danger. Do you see? This is also how phobias are created..

    This current period of acute anxiety which I cannot seem to get out of, started towards the end of September when we travelled down here for our house move. I was a passenger in the car and was a total mess feeling extremely panicky on the motorway,. which was very scary. That was the 22nd of September and basically since then I have been in a very bad way mentally, very on edge and anxious the whole time. It has taken the shine off what should be an exciting period in our lives of buying a brand-new house which we absolutely love but I feel because of my current anxiety I cannot fully embrace everything.
    Moving house is stressful for those who don't struggle with anxiety. It's a huge deal so it's inevitable that your MH is going to take a kicking, right?

    You may wonder why on earth we have purchased a house in the countryside if I have this issue, well at the point when we first started the process to move house which was back in March, I really genuinely did not think my driving issues were still present. at least not to this extent. I also feel that I cannot keep letting my anxiety dictate what I do anymore, we have moved here for a better quality of life than we had when we were living in a city suburb... I desperately want to be able to embrace all that life has to offer living here, and know that I’m finally able to do things with my family easily rather than it being a military operation to organise like it was all the years when I lived miles away. but now I’m scared I’m going to be stuck! my husband does not drive, so it is just me. However even if he did drive, I don’t want him ferrying me around, I want to address this problem and sort it. I need to be able to because living out here means that I have to drive to do pretty much anything.
    My advice is to get out on those roads at every opportunity. Walk, drive - whatever. If you're in the car, play nice music or listen to some comedy. You have to start making positive associations with being on country roads.

    I cannot deny I am more than a little bit worried about the side-effects of the medication. I'm getting myself worked up about driving into the village to collect them from the dispensary! Which I feel is silly because it’s only about a mile and a half up the road.
    Does your village have a nice cafe? Or some nice shops? If so, next time, promise yourself a coffee (decaf, obvs) or a small treat. Make sure there's something pleasant about the trip which the brain will then learn to associate with driving etc. I do this with hospital appointments and an example is that I have a dental appointment later today so I am going somewhere nice for my dinner afterwards..

    Good luck with the CBT.
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2020
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    3,462

    Re: Massive relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    Does your village have a nice cafe? Or some nice shops? If so, next time, promise yourself a coffee (decaf, obvs) or a small treat. Make sure there's something pleasant about the trip which the brain will then learn to associate with driving etc. I do this with hospital appointments and an example is that I have a dental appointment later today so I am going somewhere nice for my dinner afterwards..

    Good luck with the CBT.
    You can't beat a nice tea room out in the sticks. Nor a nice traditional independent 'specialist' shop.

    I am completely the opposite to Silver Shoes right now, the very thought of setting foot in any big city right now fills me with severe dread, not necessarily due to Covid itself now but more due to seeing mostly my own county of residence (Staffordshire), my comfort zone mainly consisting of Tamworth (my town of residence), Burton (where my day centre is) and Lichfield, plus the neighbouring borough of North Warwickshire (where my brother lives, in Atherstone).

    I did visit Shrewsbury a few weeks ago to help out with the videoing of a live event at the Theatre Severn there, and despite me being a bit nervous beforehand, it all went OK.

    Sorry for another boring essay from me once again!

  7. #7
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    Mar 2016
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    2,995

    Re: Massive relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by Lencoboy View Post
    You can't beat a nice tea room out in the sticks. Nor a nice traditional independent 'specialist' shop.

    I am completely the opposite to Silver Shoes right now, the very thought of setting foot in any big city right now fills me with severe dread, not necessarily due to Covid itself now but more due to seeing mostly my own county of residence (Staffordshire), my comfort zone mainly consisting of Tamworth (my town of residence), Burton (where my day centre is) and Lichfield, plus the neighbouring borough of North Warwickshire (where my brother lives, in Atherstone).

    I did visit Shrewsbury a few weeks ago to help out with the videoing of a live event at the Theatre Severn there, and despite me being a bit nervous beforehand, it all went OK.

    Sorry for another boring essay from me once again!
    You don't bore me. I do wish you wouldn't keep putting yourself down Lenco.. (also, in comparison to my epic posts, yours are very brief lol)

    I don't like cities. I'm happy where I am now - which is semi-rural. A few hundred yards one way and I'm in the countryside. The other way I'm in a very small but picturesque town. Loads of cafes and charity shops and now they've opened up a new wool shop! Some shops didn't survive the pandemic and that's sad to see..

    The trade off with living in such a small town mean that people get to know you and that means 'social interaction'. I think it's a couple of years since I went round town on my own. Oops. I will have to sort that out soon!
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

  8. #8
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    Re: Massive relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    You don't bore me. I do wish you wouldn't keep putting yourself down Lenco.. (also, in comparison to my epic posts, yours are very brief lol)

    I don't like cities. I'm happy where I am now - which is semi-rural. A few hundred yards one way and I'm in the countryside. The other way I'm in a very small but picturesque town. Loads of cafes and charity shops and now they've opened up a new wool shop! Some shops didn't survive the pandemic and that's sad to see..

    The trade off with living in such a small town mean that people get to know you and that means 'social interaction'. I think it's a couple of years since I went round town on my own. Oops. I will have to sort that out soon!
    I thought you said you lived in Manchester, unless it's not within the actual 'city' itself, but perhaps somewhere on the edge of the wider Gtr Mancs conurbation/region, similar to our 'West Midlands', which of course stands for 3 things, firstly the wider geographical English 'region', secondly the metropolitan 'county' whose core cities comprise (west to east) Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry, plus various other metropolitan boroughs in between (Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall), thirdly the 'conurbation' that spans (from west to east) from the city of Wolverhampton across to the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, with the green belt known as the 'Meriden Gap' (partly) separating the latter from the city of Coventry.

    Setting foot in a major city or urban area would most certainly feel alien to me now since the onset of the pandemic.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    101

    Re: Massive relapse

    I am in a very bad way, I have reached a new low and complete rock bottom and do not know how on earth I Can ever come back from this,
    I feel like my life is completely shattered. I want to say I have not been ignoring the replies here, I have read them all but I have had been having problems accessing my account however I致e just saved my password on my phone so hopefully I値l be able to access it with no issues now.

    Yesterday was just absolutely horrendous. I致e been feeling happy with the little bit of driving I had been doing this week, even if it was just to the village and back.

    I feel like everything my husband and I have worked for, the years of saving to move back to my area where I am originally from, has now been all for nothing and we are stuck in this rural area with no way of getting around.

    In the afternoon, we decided to go into the local town which is several miles away. On the way there, I did not feel good When I was driving , but I kept going. I got to my destination sweating profusely and with my heart racing.
    My husband was with me in the car, I can稚 remember if I mentioned in my original post but he does not drive. I値l come back to that in a bit..

    We went into the supermarket and got a couple of bits we needed and started the journey home. I thought I would go back on a different route, this is a route I have driven probably hundreds of times in my life over many years - (except for not a long time as we have just recently moved back to the area after a decade away).

    We got a couple of miles out of town, so still around 5 miles away from home, and I could not continue anymore I was just a complete wreck in the middle of a huge panic. I can稚 even begin to describe the absolute terror that I had overcome me. I知 actually sitting here sweating just thinking about it. It was my nightmare situation. I had to pull over. So I pulled over in a lay-by. This is something I I promised myself I would never do because I always believed it was best to continue and push through the feelings, but I just could not do this yesterday.

    I sat there in my car for several minutes, feeling like my head was going to close down.
    I absolutely knew I could not continue to drive any further, so I called the emergency services and asked for an ambulance. I told them as best as I could what was going on, they asked me where I was and I struggled to tell them because I was so panicky, even though I did know where I was. My husband had a good idea of getting the 層hat three words app on his phone, so that helped them locate me. They asked me some questions and then said that they were going to be getting a paramedic to call me back but it would be around six hours later and that is before they even decide whether they were going to send anybody out to help me. Of course, this made me panic even more and I was in an absolute state at this point. They said that they were extremely busy, I totally understand this and I am not a priority compare to somebody having a heart attack or whatever but there was no way I could致e got us home and I was just shutting down completely mentally, that is how it felt.

    After about 20 minutes I was feeling no better, so I called back and asked again if somebody could please come and help me because I was feeling so desperate. They asked me the same lot of questions again and said it would still be about six hours. It was just before 6 pm at this point. We were still stuck in a layby nowhere near anything.

    About half an hour passed and I phoned up my parents. What an absolute failure, 39 years old and having to ask my parents for help for something like this. I explained what was happening and that I really needed help and could they please do anything to help me, my mum went berserk me and said the whole thing was 喪idiculous, they had just sat down for their dinner and would not be able to come and help me.

    After about an hour, I thank the lord that a passing police car saw me, and stopped and helped. He said he would drive us both home, but obviously somebody would need to come back and get the car. I don稚 have any dealings with the police usually the thought of going in a police car was quite surreal I never thought that this was something I would ever do..!
    I thanked him profusely for helping me and he said that they had a duty of care to not leave me there stranded, because the ambulance service that they will be about six hours just for an initial phone call back.

    I told him I was worried about my car being there overnight so what he did was call through to the control room and get them to put a thing on their system saying that they were aware my car was in that layby, for if another police car happened to be passing by overnight and wondered why it was there. I was absolutely mortified that I was having to have help from the emergency services for something like this.
    I also cannot even bare to think what our neighbours must have thought with me and my husband arriving back home in a police car.!! There goes my chance to make any friends in the area. 😢

    Now everything this morning is a total mess and I don稚 know how it痴 going to ever get sorted. My mum phone me back in the end, and they have to begrudgingly agreed to help me come and get my car. She and my dad are arriving shortly, they are going to collect my keys, go to my car, and one of them will drive it back here.

    When she phoned me she absolutely let rip into me and told me that I clearly need to give up driving completely, and that we have made a huge mistake buying a house all the way out here in the sticks. Absolutely none of this is helping my mental state whatsoever. We bought house here in the hope of a better life than when we lived just outside a city until two weeks ago. I truly thought that my past driving panic attacks on country roads would be a thing of the past, I really did not even know it would flare up again to this extent! I am stuck in a nightmare, of needing to drive to go absolutely anywhere in this area, even to the local shop. And I now cannot do it at all.

    My husband has a driving license. He passed his test when he was 18, I think. Or around the age anyway. He was at university at the time and did not need to drive then, and for many years after university he stayed living in the city where he was studying which was brilliant for public transport and he felt no need to have a car. Some years ago, he did try to drive my car, we got him added to my insurance but without going into too many details, because this post has all been long enough, it did not go well, he did not feel confident and I did not feel confident being a passenger with him. He has always said that he would probably drive one day. My parents are angry with him for not being able to get me out of the awful situation I was in last night. As well as very angry and upset with me for choosing to live in this rural area when I knew I had a problem, even though I have said to them repeatedly I could never have predicted it would flare up again to this extent.

    I知 so sorry this has been so long. I feel like my world is crashing down around me. I was so looking forward to trips out shopping with my mum, being able to be there for them when they need me.. just everything linked with being not far away from my lovely hometown with all the great things to do and people to do them with and now I feel I coming as well be 1000 miles away for how accessible it is.

    I have got my phone call assessment with the CBT people next week. I hope they can help me but I just feel beyond help at this point. I知 going to have to sell my car and become a complete hermit. I feel desperate.
    Last edited by silver_shoes; 10-10-21 at 17:02.

  10. #10
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    Re: Massive relapse

    I'm so sorry you're having such a rotten time of it at the moment. I just had a couple of thoughts after I read what you'd written.

    Firstly if you've just started on sertraline you might be feeling more anxious as a side effect of the medication. This will pass in time and hopefully the propanolol will help with some of the anxiety symptoms in the meantime.

    Secondly, I know you are feeling terrible about yourself right now but you will get through it. I felt pretty similar 5 months ago and although I'm not 100%, I'm a lot better than I was. You've been through an incredibly stressful period and it's only natural that your body and mind is taking time to recover. Don't beat yourself up about it and don't let others get to you and make you feel worse. Easier said than done, you're probably thinking.

    Practically speaking, is there public transport nearby? Taxi's? Have a look at other ways of getting round while you build back up your confidence with driving. Also, although your husband has got a licence could he have some driving lessons to refresh his skills/increase his confidence. Then it won't all be your responsibility.

    Things will improve, it will probably be a bumpy road, but you can get through this.

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