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To think they handled my panic attack badly.

(30 Posts)
bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:18:35

Short version is.... I was very sleep deprived, stressed, drank coffee, exercised and came home from work and within about 10 mins was having a full blown panic attack (in hindsight because at the time I thought I was having a heart attack)..... I was literally on the floor hyperventilating, shaking, clutching my chest in pain, sweating.... Dp and dm were there as was ds who is only very little. Dm and dp were playing it down... Dp was in the shower, dm was trying to watch ds..... I was shouting help me, help me and they were both just standing there as I was on the floor... Eventually dm shouted 'stop it bordellosboheme' followed by dp shouting 'snap out of it'.... I made it to the phone as I was going to call 999 myself as I literally couldn't get a breath when it started to subside.... Dp and dm were rather passive.... Am I being unreasonable to think their reaction was crap? Dm later said she was trying to 'shock' me out of it...l was already shocked!!!!! Am worried about their ability to respond to an emergency, they were crap IMHO

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 08-May-13 13:20:50

I once shouted at my Mum when she fainted...I watched her go white, slide to the floor and I said "Oh for gods sake Mum! Pull yourself together!"

it's shock. I hope you feel better but you should forget their reaction and concentrate on reliving the stress in your life.

unebagpipe Wed 08-May-13 13:21:15

Pretty crap- yes. Take it you haven't done anything like this before? The reason I ask is that if you're the hypochondriac type they may have been (unfortunately) blasé about it. If you're not, then I'm surprised at their reaction!

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:21:51

Nothing like this before!

TheseFoolishThings Wed 08-May-13 13:23:42

Given your pre-existing problems (sleep deprived, stress) I'd have thought it would have been much wiser to take some time out to have a nap and a couple of hours of complete relaxation. What made you think exercise and a caffeine overdose was the answer?

CloudsAndTrees Wed 08-May-13 13:25:08

Their reaction wasn't great, but presumably no one has trained them on exactly what they should do when someone has a panic attack.

The fact that they stayed calm is actually a very good thing. When I've had panic attacks in the past, the worst thing is when people start making it a big deal and over reacting themselves. It is much easier to regain control if those around you are in control.

They didn't need to call 999, so it was right that they didn't. It was also good that they played it down for your sons sake. What would you have preferred them to do?

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 08-May-13 13:28:17

What would have been acceptable? Screaming? Crying? Face fanning? You think you were in danger. It's highly possible that's not quite how the situation looked to them so they showed the reaction they felt it deserved.

That's the point of a panic attack - you panic. Others look surprised, bemused, confused, embarrassed. It depends obviously but I'm not sure they are necessarily bu?

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:29:18

Err thesefoolishthings.... Have you tried having a nap with a toddler and working a lot of hours?

stopmovingthefurniture Wed 08-May-13 13:31:18

On the face of it, this is appalling. So appalling that I have to wonder about the context. You say that your partner watched you having a 'heart attack'. You thought that's what it was, and it sounds like any lay person would at least be alarmed at that possibility. But instead, he took a shower and yelled at you to 'snap out of it'. That would be callous by any standards but if it really was as you say, and this was an isolated incident, then your problems are much, much bigger than you seem to realise. Rather than focusing on whether your DP handled the panic attack well (obviously it was a major fail on his part) I think you need to be asking where the love is in his behaviour towards you. Is this lack of compassion and respect contributing to your stress? Is this the kind of treatment you give back?

I suffered from panic attacks and I firmly believe there is nothing more frightening or more hellish generally. My utmost sympathy. They do pass though. I found books by Dr Claire Weekes really amazing. I think it's called 'Essential Help for Your Nerves'.

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:32:34

Oh, and the panic attack came after the exercise, out of the blue, thesefoolish things..... Just before it came on i tried to crawl into my bed to have a sleep... But ds had a major tantrum as he hadn't seen me all day and wouldn't be consoled. Dm and dp were forcing him on me going 'he wants you, he wants you'.... That's when it happened.... I just needed to sleep.....

MrsReiver Wed 08-May-13 13:33:05

My Mum had the exact same reaction when I had my first panic attack in front of her, she was so shocked and had no idea how to react. It didn't occur to me for a minute to be angry with her, she was frightened at seeing me in that state.

Mumsyblouse Wed 08-May-13 13:34:28

It is very hard to know as an onlooker when to panic yourself, they may have been concerned/stressed/ worried but not felt they needed to call 999. And -in fairness you did not need an ambulance, so they don't really need to change their reaction to you panicking, do they? I have called 999 myself when everyone seemed a bit frozen and lucky I did before I really lost the ability to speak, but even then I think once I had become semi-conscious, they woud have called it. I hope!

Fakebook Wed 08-May-13 13:34:50

I used to have a lot of panic attacks like that. Funnily it never happened infront of anyone apart from two times; once at work and once (my last one in 2011) at my aunt's house. Both times the people around me were very caring and made me lie down and helped me get my breathing back on track. The last time everyone thought I was having a heart attack! I think your DH and Mum handled it very badly. Maybe they were shocked? You should talk to them about it tbh.

I can kind of sense when an attack is about to start now. My breathing will go erratic first with my heart thumping. The first sign of it I leave what I'm doing and go and lie down and take deep breaths. You might want to practise deep breathing incase it ever happens again.

squeakytoy Wed 08-May-13 13:35:14

I suffer from panic attacks.. and my husband knows to reassure me and be calm around me.. him going into a flap would not help.

I dont think your mother or partner acted badly or wrongly.

I do think you need to look at why you had a panic attack and do what you can to minimise the caffeine, and trying to do too much on too little sleep.

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:35:14

I agree stopmovinghthefurniture.... That's the conclusion I have come to too.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 08-May-13 13:35:16

So what did you want them to do?

LemonPeculiarJones Wed 08-May-13 13:36:44

Crap reactions, yes.

Understandably they were shocked. But they should apologise.

Let them know what you need them to do should it happen again. One to keep DS busy and another to sit with you, hold hand, bring you paper bag to breathe into or just talk you through breathing slowly etc, reassuring you.

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:37:01

Facebook those are the reactions I would have hoped for......

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:38:00

Also, facebook.... This is what I think I would have liked to do if the shoe was on the other foot

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:38:18

Fake book.... I pad keeps changing!

stopmovingthefurniture Wed 08-May-13 13:38:31

thesefololishthings and cloudsandtrees - Why don't you go and write ridiculous posts on another thread. The OP is obviously very vulnerable and she is trying to establish whether DP's reaction was appropriate. It wasn't. That is screamingly obvious. Her family didn't know that she was 'just' having a panic attack so it is not necessarily 'right' they didn't call 999 without at least trying to establish what was going on. Also, there is a huge difference between useless handwringing (more appropriate for the first time, plenty of time to learn how to show helpful calming behaviour later) and not lifting a finger because you basically couldn't be assed (nothing helpful or good about that; this is not attention-seeking behaviour that needs to be played down and is going to create huge feelings of hurt and abandonment).

SirBoobAlot Wed 08-May-13 13:38:55

No, you're not being unreasonable. But then I think you will get a mix of responses here - between those that have and haven't suffered from PAs. They're horrible, and you feel like you are going to die.

I suffered from them horrifically for years, they are more under control now. Biggest thing that helped me was being reminded that I was not going to die. One of my teachers at school used to suffer from anxiety when he was younger, and he found me having an attack once. He stayed with me, helped me calm down, and once I had, talked me through the science of them; the reason they happen, and what you can do to control it more. He really was amazing.

If it happens again, tell yourself exactly what is happening. Then - this will sound bizarre, okay? - sing. Because of the breaths you take to sing or hum, it helps to regulate your breathing without the breathing being your actual focus, which can make you more distressed.

And do speak to them both, seperately, about how they handled things. If this happens again, you need them to just be calm and stay with you. They don't have to say anything, but just stay calm.

Big un-MN hugs to you. x

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:40:26

Thanks stopmovingthefurniture... thanks

bordellosboheme Wed 08-May-13 13:42:46

And sirboobalot thanks

IvorHughJarse Wed 08-May-13 13:45:07

I had a panic attack in front of DH once and he yelled STOP THAT NOW inches from my face shock He said it was panic. I told him what to do if I ever had another (I haven't, this was years ago). But at the time I could quite happily have punched him; it was seriously not helpful.

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