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Blizzards and Panic Attacks

Posted Dec 31 2010 12:00am

I will admit it–I had a panic attack yesterday. To make matters worse, it happened while I was driving. I was traveling from my parents’ house to my boyfriend’s 90 miles away, and it just so happens that I was doing it in the middle of a blizzard.

Did I think the weather was going to be that bad while I was driving? Heck no! Otherwise I probably would have stayed put (even though I really, really would have been disappointed if I wasn’t able to make it in time to spend New Year’s with my sweetie). The fact is, I’m terrified of blizzards–probably not such a crazy thing when you consider all the snow and the 40-mile-an-hour winds that blow it around so much you can hardly see when you’re out in it!

Now, I don’t normally have panic attacks anymore. It’s true that a few years ago, when I was in a horrible-nightmare-type relationship, I had them all the time. But since I got myself all untangled from that, I’ve done a lot of work to overcome a lot of my anxiety issues. Now, maybe it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise that I panicked in the storm–after all, it is scary to drive in snowstorms and the disorientation I felt from all of the white and the limited visibility just made me feel worse. But it was yet another reminder to me of how important it is to stay aware of your true feelings. Even though I know I’ve worked a lot on my anxiety, I still have anxiety. There are things that make it worse, and I need to continue to learn more about how I can deal with those things.

I’m good about going to see my counselor every once in awhile, even though I feel like everything in my life is pretty hunky-dory most of the time. It’s just good to keep in touch so that any little rough patches in your life don’t turn into big ones. But one thing my parents and I continue to debate a little about is whether or not something like medication would help me. My dad has done very well on it; I, however, am perhaps a little stubborn in always insisting I can learn to deal with everything on my own. After yesterday, I’m going to be keeping more of an open mind regarding the issue (stay tuned for future posts regarding that!).

If you’ve got anxiety, ask yourself this: Do you feel it every day? Does it interfere with certain, normal aspects of your life? Are you learning to deal with your anxiety, or are you just avoiding doing certain things that you’re afraid of? Do you think you could be happier if you didn’t feel so anxious all the time?

If your anxiety is truly keeping you from living your life as fully as possible, don’t be afraid to get the help that you need. Find a good counselor, and find a medical doctor who is familiar with anxiety so you can explore whether medication might be a good option for you. Especially after yesterday, I promise that I’m going to be making a more thorough evaluation of how my own anxiety may still be affecting my life, too!

Love, Hope, and Prayers,

Justine Duppong

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