difficult child has a panic attack

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Andy, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    The neighbor boy invited difficult child to go on a bike ride. difficult child didn't want to get his bike out (it may be buried?) so he borrowed one of the neighbor's. difficult child wasn't sure if he should play and I told him that playing outdoors will do him some good.

    Within minutes, difficult child was running back into the house saying he couldn't breathe and got scared. I asked him what they were doing and when he said going to the woods I asked what plans they had. He said just to check it out. I then asked where H was and difficult child thought he was following him home. At the corner (about 1 block away) difficult child had hollered to H that he was thirsty and needed to go home. I don't think H heard him.

    So, I took H's bike back and asked his mom if H had come home. She said no so I told her that difficult child was having a panic attack and H was alone and may not have understood that difficult child was turning around. She went to find H to let him know that difficult child had gone home.

    difficult child calmed down quickly and I decided to get him out of the house to do something. When I suggested he and H play in the cul-de-sac just outside our home, he said no because it was going outside that made him feel weird. I told him not to blame it on going outside. That is one reason I wanted to do an activity with him to get him out the door. He also stated how surprised he was that it did not last longer so I thought I would go with "Yep, it is over, let's get on with life."

    We got ready to go grocery shopping. Before he got to the door, he ran into the bathroom and threw up a lot. He said that before he threw up it felt like he had blacked out for a second. Now his overanalysing brain thinks maybe he just closed his eyes and he forgot his eyes were closed. (how is that for difficult child thinking?) When you are in panic mode, the littlest things can keep it going.

    Guess we are staying home. I will wait until husband comes home and I will do the shopping while difficult child stays home with husband.

    We also know now that it is not necessarily over when it appears to be.
    How fast (or slowly in this case) do you get back on that horse?
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Panic attacks hoover. I have them and I hate them. I would be quite happy being an agrophobic. Once I get to whatever event I need to get to, I am fine there but it is hard to leave there and get home too. For me, it sometimes helps to take that break from going anywhere but if I take too long then it is harder to get going again.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know very little about panic attacks so no advice. Keeping you and your difficult child in my thoughts. I hope that you will be able to get a new appointment. soon with the psychiatrist. (I think you said it would have to be canceled because of the flooding).
  4. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Panic attacks are very scary. I have them too but now I know what they are. Deep breaths and stopping what I am doing often helps but most of the time it is the mental aspects of the situation that set them off. I wouldn't push the difficult child.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you all!

    JJJ - yes, it is hard to get him going again when his anxiety rises and when he has a panic attack. He and I both need to learn when to hold back and when to step forward. Like you said, too long will be just as hard as too early.

    Wiped Out - yes, the 1st psychiatrist appointment has been postponed once from last week to this week. If I am reading the reports correctly, it will be postponed again. I will call the facility in the morning to see if they have staff there working on the rescheduling of appts. Their bldg is just off the river so if there is any problems with their block flooding, employees may not be able to get in. They are at a bend in the river so I am wondering if the way the current turns is why they are not at a greater risk?

    JLady - yes, I should not push him. Tomorrow will be difficult. I always drop him off at school. I am not sure if I should do a fast get away or stay a little bit. His attitude will tell me in the morning how to handle it. Oh, I am so not looking forward to morning - my heart is already starting to cry.

    My morning plan is to get him up just with enough time to get dressed and out the door focused on the day. We will stop and fill up with gas at a local station that has breakfast pizza. He can get juice and pizza for breakfast. Hopefully we can be at school a little early to give me a chance to talk to his teacher and give him a chance to settle in. If I feel a need for a quick get away, I will leave a message for his teacher to call me ASAP.

    difficult child told me he is afraid to go to school tomorrow. He is afraid of another panic attack (common feeling to fear once you have one). I don't predict that he will refuse to go to school but it will be hard for me to watch him brave it through. He will be lifeless and grumbling and so so clingy.

    I think I have the 2nd graders at 12:40 so that may help him to know I will be at school after lunch. Depending on the weather, I may have two errands to run but otherwise will be at the school the remainder of the day.
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    With my difficult child, it depended on the particular trigger on how fast we got back on the horse. Sounds like the same with you.

    Anxiety/panic *****.

    I hope difficult child has a better day tomorrow.
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    we are in such a similiar place. difficult child has gone down hill very fast since December. That is when this "feeling unreal", confused,,,per psychiatrist and therapist, "derealization and depersonalization" set in. It has never gone away. He doesn't mention it every day, Rather we get his head hurts (daily) = brain tumor, stomach ache = stomach cancer, bones hurt = bone cancer...thinks about it to the point he IS sick.

    He does know he has a lot of people to call and we would be there in a minute if he needs. He knows he has tylenol #3 if his head gets so bad he can't move. Knowing that, it isn't taken often. But it is because he KNOWS it is there that he feels better.

    I can so relate to you and difficult child. I KNOW how much it hurts to see difficult child so scared. And like my difficult child too, he realizes it is anxiety, he talks outloud to try to rationalize, but the anxiety takes over and he panics.

    Does your difficult child look everything up on the computer? Power of suggestion work with him? It is so hard to even have a conversation because I am afraid I might say something that he will not ever forget. Even if it is about a story in the news, or someone at work.

    therapist is was trying deep breathing, relaxation techniques. Isn't working. therapist said he is so distraught, the anxiety must be under control before this works. HOW do I do this. If you have anything that works, anything that helps your difficult child feel better please let me know.
  8. Stella

    Stella New Member

    How horrible for difficult child Andy. I went through a phase (about 6 months) of suffering from panic attacks. They are so frightening. I remember once I rushed myself to A&E as I was convinced I was having a heart attack. Palpatations, dry mouth and the feeling of not being able to breath was the worst. I found that carrying a bottle of water with me actually gave me comfort. As when the dry mouth came on I would just feel safe having the water with me.

    I also remember worrying that the attacks were something that I was going to have for the rest of my life and that would make me even more anxious. I actually started going to counselling because of the panic attacks . Being reassured that this was not something that I was going to have forever and also reading up a few books about panic attacks really helped. Also going to the doctor and being reassured that there was nothing wrong with my heart was a big relief!!!. Maybe some of these suggestions would work with difficult child?

    I haven't had one now in a couple of years, thank god.

    Does difficult child get them often??
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you! You all have helped so much!

    Flutterby - The "Trigger". That is what we need to figure out. Unfortunately, many times there is none, it just happens. It is comforting to know we are not alone in this.

    Kjs - difficult child had his anxiety under control since last Summer. We had a 15 yr old boy who babysat and did all the things kids need to do in the summer. He was a very good mentor to difficult child. difficult child started this school year out strong and has been able to maintain. I had just cut his therapist appts back to 1 per month. My difficult child doesn't seem too affected by the news that he has said. I haven't been watching it much anyway. And, I have to be careful of what I say because even something that is suppose to help he has a way of turning around to tragedy. I don't dare address any possible physical reason because if I do, then he is for sure going to die. "Oh, mom is having my vision checked, something is terribly wrong with my eyes. I am going blind!" type of thing. You can imagine what another test to rule out epilepsy will do! I get so tired of it all!

    Stella - You are very helpful. We try to get difficult child to have water or gaterade nearby at all times. I think he has decreased his intake and needs to get back up there with how much water he does drink. I try to remind him that he has been through this before, that it will end. However, the longer he dwells on it, the longer and stronger it gets and harder to pass. He does not get them very often but they are hard to battle when they come. We have another therapist appointment next Wed and am working on getting into the psychiatrist as soon as the Fargo flooding settles down. I wish the staff could report to a different building to resume services! Once we get the go ahead, it will be a challenge to get to the building around flooded roads.
  10. Stella

    Stella New Member

    Just a thought Andy, but as a lot of his anxities are linked to worries over something being physically wrong with him - what if you had a word with your usual family doctor and explained how anxious he gets that there is something wrong with him etc etc. then bring difficult child in to see him some day and have doctor give him a thorough medical -check his heart beat, look into his throat and ears etc and say to him "well there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you are in tip-top condition", "you're a very healthy boy" or something along though lines. I don't know if something as simple as that would work or if he would believe it but maybe worth a try...
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Stella makes a good point. My daughter always needs to go to the doctor. I don't take her, of course, every time she thinks she needs to go. However, when she perservates on something for a while, I take her in. She just needs the reassurance cause mom doesn't know anything, you know. Most of the time, she doesn't and won't do any of the things the doctor recommends. For example, she has sleep issues but won't do a sleep study.

    I think she just needs to hear that she's not dying. And sometimes she just needs to hear that there aren't any other options other than what I've already recommended. It's maddening at times.
  12. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you! You are both correct. We did that route Fall of 2007 when his first bout of anxiety/panic set in. He had EVERYTHING (including MRI and EKG and EEG) looked at and ruled out. Just this past January (2009), he had his annual physical with the doctor who managed his medications. We do have the advantage that difficult child is very compliant with all doctor orders.

    difficult child also says, "If I didn't have those tests last year, I would be more scared this year. But I know things can change in a year."

    We have a young dad at church that has been diagnosed this last fall with brain cancer, lung cancer, and kidney cancer. This person who was very active in our church is dying. He will not be with us by next year (maybe even by the end of the school year). His daughter goes to difficult child's very small school so it affects all the kids. difficult child now refers to him and is afraid he himself has brain cancer.

    difficult child said he wished he could leave his body and go into his friends' body to see if they ever feel the same way he does. I wish I can go into his brain and feel what he is going through.

    His neurology appointment the day after Easter will also help. If he can explain to her what he is feeling and she states it is anxiety and nothing else that will go a long way - well, until the next panic or anxiety attack.

    His psychiatrist appointment has been rescheduled to April 16th.

    He will not let on to the teachers how bad he feels so they give me reports of, "He was just fine today. He said his head felt weird but he got right back into the swing of things." Than he gets in the van after school today and says, "This is the worse day ever!"

    I think he is not sure how to explain to the teachers for them to understand. His coping skills at school are very good. I think he just wants a break from them when he is at home or with me. He can't explain to me either - I get my heart tugged at and am not sure how to explain it either. I am thinking the teachers are starting to wonder if I am making this up or if difficult child is trying to play me for a overlyprotective mom.
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I'm sorry ~ didn't read entirely all the responses so I apologize if I'm being repetitive.

    What does difficult child do for self calming. Both kt & wm have their self calming plans written out & posted many areas in the home. It helps to just calmly point kt to her self calming chart & ask her which one she thinks would help most. I don't ask her what the anxiety is about, not do I get emotional. I'm almost robot like as to not feed further into her anxiety; just a question "which skill on this plan will work best today?"

    Something to work on with difficult child & then post. by the way, as my water bill will attest, kt's best calming skill is taking showers. Many many many will be taken in one day but far worth it over a trip to ER or a PRN medication if I can get away with it.

  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you Timer!

    difficult child has breathing and imagery. He can also focus on doing something, anything.

    I remind him that he has felt like this before and that he knows nothing is wrong. He answers, "That's just it, I don't know - things can change." I do appear very short with him at times with my "You know what to do, do it" attitude. But like you said, if you spend too much time on it, it just builds into the anxiety. The longer I try to reassure him, the stronger his anxiety gets so I have to just appear to be stern and throw it back at him. "This is your issue, you know what to do, do it!" He has to take the responsibility of getting rid of it, no matter how much he wants me to take it from him. I am sure it gets wearing on him to have the constant battle going on.

    Now there is a chance of more flooding in Fargo later this month. I am so afraid of what will happen if his April 16th psychiatrist appointment gets postponed. He is going to have to go back on full time medications for awhile by the time we get seen.

    As much as he hates having to feel like this during school, it is better to have him there with all its distractions than at home with more time to dwell on it.

    I have been trying to get him to take showers but he will not take anymore than necessary (if even that - but then he is only 12, it will come). He says water it too hard on his skin - doesn't like how it shrivels up when wet. We are also working on increasing his water intake. I told him drinking water or juice is also calming.

    I have a 3 month pass to the YMCA that I will cash in for difficult child this Summer. I am hoping that time there with a friend will help. Diva will be watching his friend A this summer and I will offer her a few dollars an hour to watch difficult child also. The two boys are very good friends and will keep busy this summer. I wish a go cart/mini golf would open in town. I will work up a schedule with Diva to keep the boys active in lots of different things. They will have baseball and bowling.
  15. ML

    ML Guest

    Well on the plus side he certainly rebounds quickly!

    Did you have your apt yet?

    Thinking of you. ML