Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dealing with Panic Disorder © Megan Snider

"Nothing is wrong with me except myself."
--Franz Kafka

Panic Disorder can literally destroy lives, especially when it is accompanied by Agoraphobia. It is crippling and destructive to people and their souls.

Derealization and Depersonalization with Panic Disorder destroys the core of a person. Conflicting experiences with reality and "unreality" are terrifying and traumatic. These experiences can lead to self-imposed confinement and extreme fear and anticipation of the next attack.

What can family members do to help people with Panic Disorder and these accompanying illnesses?

Don't be spontaneous. Follow a plan and don't "spring a new plan" on a family member with Panic Disorder.

Allow them access to their "safe places".

Remove them from a frightening location if they ask to leave because of overwhelming terror and sensations.

Listen to them and try to imagine their symptoms. Don't get hung up on the technical issues of the disorder.

Allow them to carry their medications with them if they so desire.

[Warning: DO NOT take pill bottles without the prescription labels on them with you. Xanax, a popular medication for Panic Disorder, is a controlled substance. If you are caught carrying Xanax with no prescription, you may be charged.]

Let them know that they can leave the situation if they need to. Feeling trapped is a horrible side effect of agoraphobia. So, allow them to be comfortable.

Be willing to listen to their description of symptoms without judging or becoming angry. Remember that your family member is suffering--no matter how they describe their symptoms,
try to have an open mind and heart and do not label them automatically as seriously mentally ill.

Do not become angry at the family member because of their limitations [which may be severe.]

Always remember that Panic Disorder is a monster, but it should not be hidden in the closet; it needs to be examined in the light and not quickly labeled and shoved aside. Try to pray, heal,
and destroy the negativity of this roaring monster that is Panic Disorder.

Never lose hope. Even on the dark days.

© Megan Snider


  1. "Never lose hope. Even on the dark days."

    I think I've mentioned before that the only "hope" I can find on dark days or panic moments is the statistical fact that every attack eventually comes to an end. That's what gets me through it.

    For those of us who read you and feel what you describe, it's all very familiar. I sometimes wish all those who DON'T have such symptoms could experience it just once so they'd really understand the lack of logic behind the feeling. You cannot reason with a monster. You can only endure him and wait for him to go away.

    Wonderful writing, Megan.

  2. Yeah. This article is centered right at the core of my problems right now. Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia is something I've lived with since elementary school. But there's seems to be years where I'm okay and years when I'm not. But, you are right; every panic attack DOES end and that's what you must tell yourself. My fear is the feelings will last forever, but they don't. I don't want to tell people to lose hope. I think that makes things worse. There will be a better day. You just have to find where it's hiding between the months in the calendar. Thanks for your insights. You're correct, as usual. Ha ha.