Mental Breakdowns (pseudo-rant/advice needed)

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Mental Breakdowns (pseudo-rant/advice needed)

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:46 pm

My attempts to deal with my own fucked up brain has been sort-of successful, since I've found it easier to deal with myself whenever I have a breakdown, and my mind begins to panic. I haven't posted here in a while since I would very much like to post here when I'm not feeling in the dumps.

That being said, I'm still having to repress the hell out of myself in order to do this, and inevitably, I'll crack. And I have a few times and it wasn't pretty.

Two primary things that can still make me break down: being a virgin and dealing with the fact that I've been sexually assaulted. Just to clarify to any newcomers.

Most of the time, I can convince myself that being a virgin isn't so bad, and maybe there's a girl out there who might like me, and it all involves lying to myself a lot, and it's difficult. Once I can no longer resist, I have a crying episode in the car (I'm either crying or screaming with rage when I break down, I try not to let people see) a few days ago and bash my head into the steering wheel repeatedly. Not hard enough to seriously injure myself, but enough to hurt. And not really to feel pain or anything, but just to do something that can distract myself long enough to stop. I read that people in the autistic spectrum have a tendency to hit themselves or hurt themselves to distract themselves during a breakdown, so I'll attribute it to that. I have done this for a while, just never in the car. I tend to punch myself in the face whenever I reach that point, again, not hard enough to serious injure myself, but hard enough to feel it.

And that second thing is still relatively new, and I spent most of the morning freaking out about that because some asshole on Reddit decided to play therapist and send this message that was deeply condescending about how I was still a man and how I was so brave and it all came off as fake. Naturally, it reminded me of that fun night, and so I spent the morning having a mini panic attack. Fun shit.

On another level, I tried again to go on another date, trying to see if things work out, and I just could not kiss the girl. For once, I was actually getting signs for it. And I couldn't do it. I couldn't move my head. Couldn't do anything. I was just so fucking scared, and I felt very weak about it.

I mean, I learned that she had a boyfriend a bit later and was just trying to use me as a side-item, but at the time....whatever.

So objectively I'm not sure how to deal with that. There's no buildup to these panic attacks, it's literally instantaneous, and it's incredibly hard to stop them if it's in public. I manage, but I have to run off to a bathroom or something so I can start hyperventilating and moaning without anyone hearing me. I've dealt with this shit too long and have been in denial about it. I really need this gone.


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Re: Mental Breakdowns (pseudo-rant/advice needed)

Post by The Wisp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:11 pm

First, I didn't know you were sexually assaulted. I'm sorry that happened to you.

As for the panic attacks, as somebody who suffers from them, I think practicing mindfulness can really help. When I first started getting mine, they did feel instantaneous. However, as I practiced mindfulness I realized there was buildup, but not obvious buildup. The thing is that it took a lot of practice to achieve that awareness. For me, some signals were a slowly increasing heartrate, slowly increasing breathing, tensing of the shoulders, clenching my teeth without noticing, etc. Once I was able to recognize these physicals symptoms I could relax myself.

The other thing I did to prevent panic attacks was to notice triggers. For me, drinking caffeinated drinks, eating large amounts of sugar or simple carbs at one time, reading about certain topics could lead to panic attacks. Not immediately, but they start the buildup.

Also, I totally get hitting yourself to get out of that space, but please stop doing it to your head, your brain needs to be protected. I used the hit my forehead, but now I hit my thigh, which doesn't cause any damage by has a similar effect.

Finally, if you're not in therapy nor considering some anxiety medication, I would recommend both. Yes, I know we always say that all the time, but seriously, it is helpful. I won't recommend specific meds, but consult with a psychiatrist about it if you want to pursue that. As for therapy, with your previous sexual assault, panic attacks and anxiety, I think you might want to look into EMDR therapy. It kinda seems like weird woo woo stuff at first glance, but there's actually a great deal of empirical evidence supporting its use to help people with anxiety and trauma.

I can relate a lot to what you're talking about (except the sexual assault) so I sympathize a great deal and I know how hard it is.
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Re: Mental Breakdowns (pseudo-rant/advice needed)

Post by UristMcBunny on Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:24 pm

Panic attacks are not easy things to deal with at all, especially if the ones you get come with no warning. I do have some personal coping strategies I've used to help me bring myself down from them, if you'd like to hear them, although some have been more effective than others.

As for the self-injury tendencies, I can also suggest some alternative options that are at least less overtly violent towards yourself and, in case you find yourself trapped among people the next time you feel the need for it, easier to conceal that you're doing.

I will second the suggestion to look into meds, even just as a short-term thing while you work on improving your coping strategies. I personally wasn't able to find the right medical fit for myself, but I have loved ones whose lives are immeasurably better because they have something safe, monitored by their doc, that they can take.

Also, I hope you recognise that managing to go on a date, even if it didn't go as planned and even if in hindsight she turned out to not be a great person, is pretty awesome and a great step forward for you. Especially since you were getting positive signs from the woman you went out with. It's understandable that you'd get frozen up and nervous about trying to go in for a kiss given everything you've got going on, so please don't beat yourself up about what didn't happen.

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Re: Mental Breakdowns (pseudo-rant/advice needed)

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:07 pm

I'll just jump in to agree with the Wisp about mindfulness. He describes exactly the thing that turned anxiety around for me some years ago, before I really knew that that was Mindfulness. And though there's a lot of hype and a lot of misconceptions about the thing, in its simplest form it is supported and used in therapy by one of the most bullshit-sensitive psychologists I know. (Having an MA in psychology myself, I know a lot.)
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Re: Mental Breakdowns (pseudo-rant/advice needed)

Post by Enail on Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:35 pm

I think the people who've already responded have far better advice than I can come up with, but I just want to second Bunny in saying that managing to go on a date and to recognize signals of interest are two pretty major successes that you've struggled with before, so congrats for that.

And I realize there's probably no way to say it without coming across as condescending or whatever else, but I'm going to say it anyway and hope you know that's not how I'm meaning it: much sympathy for what you're dealing with. Panic attacks seem just awful.
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