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Super star contributor
Posts: 2,474
Registered: ‎28-05-2016

Staying safe and calming down

Yesterday I had a really bad meltdown thing (not sure what to call it). It's making me worry about what I could do if it happened again, because I felt a bit out of control and I couldn't really communicate properly. Moving properly was hard too. 

 

There were a bunch bunch of things that contributed I think, anyway. 

- My plans for the day had to change and it made me feel weird and anxious

- I'd had a really intense discussion with my counsellor about the worst of my intrusive thoughts

- I wasn't 100% sure which train to catch/where to change trains

- It was windy 

 

@khaleesi_18 In theory I think calling a helpline is a good idea but honestly I doubt I'd be able to do it once I'd started feeling upset? Because I really couldn't talk, I could only repeat words on a loop or make sounds. I managed to tell two people 'panic attack' when they asked if I was okay but that was all. 

Super star contributor
Posts: 2,474
Registered: ‎28-05-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

Actually now that I think about it, I've had a lot of doubts about whether the meltdowns I've experienced before are panic attacks but idk what else they could be? Anxiety meltdowns? I don't actually have a super racing heart and yesterday I could breathe fine, sometimes in the past I couldn't. It seems to be more around feeling overwhelmed and out of control and the rhythmic motion and the vocalising are ways of communicating distress almost? I don't know Smiley Sad 

 

In the past when I've had attacks like these, contributing factors seemed to be

- Plans changing suddenly 

- Exhaustion, end of the day

- Small/crowded rooms

- Build up of anxiety

Builder
Posts: 1,778
Registered: ‎01-09-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

Do you think there are ways you could recognise these factors when they're happening and then do something to counteract or get rid of them @DruidChild? I'm not really sure what that would look like, maybe recognising how you're feeling and then moving from somewhere crowded to a larger space etc?

Super star contributor
Posts: 2,474
Registered: ‎28-05-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

I find it hard to recognise the feelings before they get overwhelming but I think I should work on getting better at that @roseisnotaplant. I found that doing a grounding exercise, putting my headphones on, and getting out my amythest crystal all helped, maybe making some sort of safety plan to work on recognising the feelings and what to do? It also helped when people left me alone, three people tried to 'help' and it made it so much worse tbh. Thanks for this support Smiley Happy 

Super star contributor
Posts: 2,474
Registered: ‎28-05-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

(Also @roseisnotaplant I didn't mean that your help is making it worse btw!! Just people talking at me/touching me made me more distressed at the time)

Mod
Posts: 726
Registered: ‎14-10-2015

Re: Staying safe and calming down

@DruidChildthank you for starting this thread. First of all, I just want to acknowledge that the possible contributing factors that you've mentioned sound pretty stressful (even as standalone events). It sounds like it was a combination of a few really stressy things that built up and impacted on your ability to cope. Sometimes it can be hard to work out what situations stress you out but your insight in identifying these stressy things is awesome and a great first step.

 

That's so great to hear that the grounding exercise, headphones and crystal helped yesterday. Could you use those strategies if you feel like that again? A safety plan is a fantastic idea Smiley Happy do you have any thoughts about what that could look like for you?

 

Also, perhaps it might be a good idea to mention what happened yesterday to your counsellor?

Super star contributor
Posts: 2,474
Registered: ‎28-05-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

Thanks @khaleesi_18 

I will definitely try to use those strategies again, it was difficult to get to my bag to get the stuff out though? Like I had to calm down first before I was able to get stuff. I also had to do the grounding exercise out loud so I looked a bit cr*zy (I don't really like that word. But as in that's how people may have looked at me). 

 

In one of my classes last year we talked about a family therapy tool where you find the pattern that leads to a destructive event, and then instead of trying to change the event itself, you switch one of the negative coping mechanisms out from the pattern and insert something constructive. If that makes any sense lol. So I feel like I could try to use something like that here as a sort of safety plan? 

 

I'll definitely mention it to my counsellor next week. The not being able to communicate thing really bothered me though and I don't know how to get around that. In the past I've been able to sometimes write one or two words if I had paper in front of me, and I can say 'panic attack' or whatever but beyond that I can't. It really scares me Smiley Sad Like one woman tried to hug me and I don't really like being touched but I couldn't tell her that. And I couldn't tell people to leave me alone or what I needed. Sometimes when I've had... panic attacks?? meltdowns?? people tried to give me water to drink and it's the opposite of helpful. 

Mod
Posts: 1,027
Registered: ‎09-08-2012

Re: Staying safe and calming down

Hey @DruidChild,

I like that idea of switching coping mechanisms, and am glad that you're going to bring it up with your counsellor Smiley Happy

Not being able to communicate what was going on or what you needed sounds really frightening.
Are the things that would and wouldn't be helpful for people to do in these situations generally the same? Because if so maybe you could have something already written down that could be easier to grab out and give to anyone who approaches you.
Could be on your phone or on an actual piece of paper, and with as much or as little information as you think you'll need/are comfortable with.
Super star contributor
Posts: 2,474
Registered: ‎28-05-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

Thanks @Birdeye Smiley Happy

 

Yeah it was scary Smiley Sad Yes, actually, there is stuff I need people to do or not do so writing it down could be helpful. I was kind of thinking of writing a safety plan down and then using the reverse to write a message to give if anyone asks me if I'm okay when I meltdown? 

Once I've made my safety plan I'll post a picture of it here Smiley Happy

Super star contributor
Posts: 2,818
Registered: ‎26-08-2016

Re: Staying safe and calming down

That sounds like an awesome idea @DruidChild. It sounds like people were generally trying to help but it sucks when they don't know how to help in the right way.

 

In terms of dealing with sudden changes in plans, could something like the STOP skill be helpful with that? Am also happy to explain that skill again or find a link to where I did talk about it. Just a suggestion for you Smiley Happy

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