Panic Disorders/Attacks/Phobia taking over my life!
Hi Kate. My question is related to a severe and debilitating phobia I developed about a year or so ago. I am absolutely terrified of thunderstorms, and this fear is slowly taking over my life. I check the Weather Network and Environment Canada's website SEVERAL times during the day, and if there is even a possibility of a thunderstorm occuring in my area that particular day I can't eat, sleep or otherwise function. That is ALL I can think about. And if a severe thunderstorm watch/warning is issued by Environment Canada I have a full blown panic attack, and begin to cry and scream! My heart begins to race, I get cold and clammy, I get nausea, headaches etc I usually call my mom and ask her to come stay with me which she usually does, but I feel bad for inconveniencing her. It's gotten to the point where her life revolves around the weather report too! She is not the least bit afraid of storms, and thinks my fear is silly but trys to be supportive. But she doesn't understand my fear at all, and tells me to just not watch the Weather Network. But I can't do that! That will just make my anxiety even worse, if I do not know what to expect and am caught off guard. It's not necessarily the thunderstorm that scares me per say (although I detest them!). It's the fear that they will spawn a tornado that terrifies me. I don't want to live in constant fear anymore. This is ruining my life, and I don't know how to stop it. I don't feel it's something I can control. I feel absolutely certain that I am going to die in a tornado! We are in the middle of storm season right now, which makes it worse. It's not uncommon for us to have several days in a row of thunderstorms, many of which turn severe. I am just physically and emotionally exhausted. Can you please help? I told my doctor about it and he prescribed Adivan for me, which takes the edge off a bit. But there has to be something more I can do. thank you for your time Kate.
Your Phobia has certainly now got to a level whereby you need to tackle it properly. Unfortunately doctors are not really the best people to help as there knowledge is not specialized enough and all they can really do as yours have is to prescribe calming medications. this does not tackle the actual phobia. Its time to talk to a properly trained therapist who treats people with phobias all the time.
You need to speak to your doctor and ask for a referral to a councilor or specialist in this area. i don't know what is available where you live. However it is better to get a referral if possible from your doctor as then you will be assured that the therapist is genuine etc.
I used to suffer from phobias myself although mine were not that severe. I did have one year where I got panic attacks from the sound of howling wind and we were going through a particularly windy winter that year. i remember how awful it was and how it took over my life for a period of time. Luckily for me this was s short lived problem which I no longer get.
However in your case this does sound rather severe if it is effecting both your and your mothers day to day life. especially as you live in an area where these storms are common.
Medication will help temporarily and will help you in the early stages but at the same time you also as i say need professional phobia help. This has to be done face to face.
Lisa i know how you must be feeling and I bet you think theres no way out, i remember that feeling too. But if there is one thing i can give you in this email is this. There is a end to this fear and evening though you do not believe it right now, you have to know that this is true. I've been there and done that and there are many many others who have gone through similar experiences as you and come through it.
So many things can affect why you react this way and this is why a one to one approach has to be taken. Don't be afraid, be pro active and get your life back. Sending me this email is your first step, now keep walking you will get there.
best wishes Kate
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