Good morning everyone,

Well, I have always had generalized anxiety and have always experienced the physical and emotional symptoms. I thought I knew what a panic attack was…until last night! I got a phone from my neighbor and best friend in the world and was asked to come over as she needed me. On my way over, I saw that she was sitting outside on her deck and noticed that her hand and wrist were covered in what appeared to be a cast. I proceeded to go up the deck stairs and then I saw her! OMG, I couldn't believe what faced me. I thought she was in a car accident, her face looked completely different, swollen and red, and what appeared to be bruises. I then noticed that she had an iv in her arm. I asked her what happened and she told me she had developed cellulitis on her nose. Well, as soon as she told me that, I almost fainted, I started sweating profusely, my heart was beating a mile a minute, I had to put my head between my legs and breath, my head became so light I thought for absolutely sure I would pass out. I had to leave and go home for a minute to regroup. Here I am being selfish…having a panic attack when she needed me…good friend I turned out to be!!! I went home, got sick, my partner asked me what was wrong as I was pale as could be. My hair was soaked and so was my shirt. I layed in front the fan for a minute and took a clonazapam, a drink of water and headed back over. This is the second close friend I have that developed cellulitis. My other friend was hospitalized for weeks and almost lost her arm.

Once I calmed down we were able to discuss what had happened and she proceeded to tell me what had happened. Throughout this whole discussion, I wanted to run away and just hide but I couldn't do that to her. She told me about the excruiciating pain she was in and I couldn't help but cry for her. I ended up staying with her for a couple of hours before going home. She couldn't thank me enough for being there and she told me she felt much better after our visit. She said I was a great distraction. I am happy I was able to make her laugh and put a smile on her face.

Once I got home I tried to think about why I had that reaction…well I know why…I have this terrible phobia of seeing people or animals in pain. I can't handle it. I hate to see any kind of suffering, it actually makes me physically sick. So…I learned something about myself last night which can be a good thing but I wish I would not have reacted the way I did. I was telling a coworker here about it this morning and again, I felt a huge wave a nausea take over me.

Has anyone ever felt this way? I feel as though I let her down last night…after everything she has done for me and everything we have been through…

Thank you for listening…any advice is welcome. Thank you for reading. Take care.

4 Comments
  1. cassangel69 9 years ago

    It is hard to see our friends hurting and it makes us feel so helpless. Please dont be too hard on yourself, our brains work in mysterious ways. I hope you feel better today -hugs!

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  2. Shelley5716 9 years ago

    Im sorry hon … key point is: u made it THRU the attack and was able to be there for ur friend. I hate it, but suffering is a part of this life. We love, support and do what we can for those we love. I too hate suffering. But be thankful that u did pull it together and u were able to be there for her, make her feel better. I\'m proud of u! Now, let it go, refresh and go on with ur day. U did good!!!

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  3. scott_42 9 years ago

    I too feel the pain that other living things experience. At least that is how it feels. I am beginning to think, the more time progresses, that the pain I feel seeing others in pain can be worse than what they are experiencing. Today my son is going in for an MRI and it\'s a simple check up for a procedure he had done 8 years ago. But I have PTSD from a simple operation I had as a kid, and I have anxiety for my 13 year old son. The procedure is quick and simple, doesn\'t take long. But like you I have been feeling anxious over going in with him. I feel like the needle from the IV or some other part of it will send me into an anxiety attack.

    The one thing that really helped me was seeing a good Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. She was able to help me explore where my thoughts came from and I was able to gently increase my exposure to situations where I felt anxious, and by repeating this exposure, I have been able to prove my thoughts of fear WRONG. I did this for public speaking, but I haven\'t done it for medical exams/procedures (not yet). It\'s like people who fear flying. With the help of a therapist, they are increasingly exposed their fear, prove to themselves nothing bad is going to happen; even prove that the anxiety isn\'t going to hurt them, that they will live through it.

    I\'m thinking that Cognitive Behavioral Therapist might really help you with your fear of seeing sick people/animals. Perhaps you could do a little time volunteering at a local animal hospital.

    I can say with certainty that for myself, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy GREATLY helped me. It gets at the source of the anxiety. I did it without medication. I had taken meds in the past, and they really helped. But later the anxiety returned. For me, they were fear thoughts related to my experience when I was 11 and had a simple appendectomy (which went perfectly fine). However, I thought I was going to die. And here I am today, with PTSD from that event. But I also now have the skills to examine the source of the fear thoughts, question them, and when I realize that they are nothing bad is going to happen to me, even if I FEEL that way, the question itself seems to dispel the thoughts of fear.

    Hope this helps. I\'ll check back later to see if there is anything I can do to help.

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  4. scott_42 9 years ago

    Chantale,

    I also hope and pray that your friend has a speedy recovery. There is a doctor that has published a number of books over the years by Dr. David Burns. I like his book entitled “When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life”. Get the paperback version (typically around $10-15) at any major bookstore. Dr. Burns really understands anxiety and he has been recommended to me by a therapist. He has a number of good books out that are considered excellent. I found this one to be quite helpful.

    Good luck and let us know how your friend is doing!

    Scott

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