You have been through a very traumatic experience so I wouldn't be surprised if you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
(Original post by Soph.Jade)
Last month my house was broken into and I was attacked, I quit my job and moved straight back home as I was having a bit of a rough time, and honestly couldn't have coped with life if I'd have continued to live there.
Since then I'm back with my parents, looking for a job and applying to go to uni. I should be feeling calmer as I'm not under any financial strain and have no real commitments until I get a job or (hopefully) get accepted to uni. But I'm feeling really anxious and I get jumpy at any slight noise. I can't sleep, I'm tearful, and get panic attacks over things like track, and job interviews whereas before it happened I was confident and had never had a panic attack.
I've been to see the doctor who basically palmed me off and told me to wait 6 weeks to see if things calm down but I don't feel like I can cope, does anyone have any suggestions of how I can calm down and stop panicking over everything?
ANY help would be appreciated
If your doctor isn't being very supportive at the moment, I would recommend contacting Victim Support. I have never used their services personally but I know they provide a lot of help and support to victims.
The symptoms you describe are very common to victims of crime. I have been mugged and physically attacked and I've also had my house burgled and I was on edge for a long time after those incidents. It gets easier with the passage of time but you'll never be the same person again. That might sound frightening but in hindsight I am glad of those negative experiences because they made me more streetwise and they made me a stronger person.
To give it a label, you are basically feeling fear at the moment. I felt fear every single day after my second attack and even bought a bullet proof vest for stab protection. I was extremely paranoid and would get panic attacks if I seen anyone dressed in black.
I bought a book on fear called 'Fear-the friend of exceptional people' by Geoff Thompson and that really helped me to understand what I was feeling and the reactions in my body. Fear is a natural survival mechanism which has kept us alive as a species.
When we confront a dangerous situation or anything the mind tricks us in to believing is dangerous when it isn't, we go in to 'fight, flight or freeze syndrome'. This goes back to our cavemen days. Huge amounts of adrenaline is pumped in to the body to make us stronger, faster and anaesthetised to pain. We either fight, flight (run away) or freeze (some predators detect movement so we use to free to stay alive.)
Our bodies are hard wired to do the above to keep us alive. After a traumatic incident like you have been through, you could be walking around in fight or flight syndrome on a very regular basis even when there is no danger present.
I got tired of being scared all of the time so I decided to confront my fears which is the only way you can overcome your fears, in what psychiatrists term 'exposure therapy.'
My biggest fear was physical violence but I couldn't overcome that without starting fights with people so I decided to overcome my fear of heights as that made me pretty scared and it would trigger similar responses in my body as fear is the same regardless of the situation, it just has varying degrees of intensity.
Once you understand fear and overcome some of your fears, you get a better grip on it and it decreases the intensity of the feelings.
Another important part in my recovery was becoming streetwise to make sure I could avoid being attacked again. I have read a number of self-defence books and I recommend reading the following:
'Dead or Alive: the choice is yours' by Geoff Thompson.
'Streetwise' by Peter Consterdine.
'The Gift of Fear: survival signals which protect us from violence' by Gavin De Becker
'The little black book of violence' by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder.
'Home Security' by Heather Alston and Calvin Beckford.
You can pick up pretty cheap copies second hand on Amazon and I am not exaggerating when I say that taking the advice in some of those books has literally prevented me from being attacked again because it has.
Please note that those books are not about how to fight or physically defend yourself. They do touch upon it in parts but they are primarily about how to avoid violence in the first place or how to de-escalate a situation before it becomes violent. If you want to learn physical self-defence, you need proper tuition.
Last edited by advent2; 28-03-2012 at 20:53.