Panic Disorders/Attacks/Fear of thunderstorms
Hi Carolina. I need your help! I am absolutely terrified of thunderstorms, and where I live unfortunately we do get a lot of them. I watch the weather channel incessantly, check Environment Canada on-line several times a day etc. I can't eat, sleep or concentrate. That is all I can think about! I am a loner, who keeps to herself for the most part and is estranged from my family. I only have one close friend (who I met on-line many years ago) but she lives in another province and she only visits once a year because she lives far away. My mom works at a demanding job, and neither of my parents (especially my dad) take my phobia seriously. They simply do not understand it, and think it is silly and ridiculous at times even teasing me about it, which hurts and makes me feel very frustrated and angry. This is a VERY serious thing, that has a profoundly negative impact on my life Carolina. It's awful! I have full blown panic attacks, and sometimes it feels as though I am having a heart attack. While I HATE thunderstorms, my real fear is that one of these storms will spawn a tornado! Those things are scarier than just about anything in the whole world to me! I have seen the destruction, death and devastation that they have caused in just a short period of time. I am convinced that I am going to do in a violent tornado. The next three months are going to be brutal! I already suffer from depression (at times very severe and debilitating depression) anxiety and OCD, in addition to several chronic health problems(diabetes is one) and chronic pain. My life is quite miserable, and there have been many times when I have contemplated suicide because I feel like I just can't take it anymore. My mom used to be my best friend, but since starting work (she was a stay at home mom for many years) she and I seem to have grown apart. She is under a lot of stress and tired and cranky most of the time, and all we do when we are together is bicker back and forth. I feel so alone and hopeless. Before I used to be able to call her and she would come and spend time with me during the storm, or talk to me on the phone which was soothing but I can't call her at work. So I am left to deal with it on my own. I honestly don't know how I am going to make it through the summer. Can you please help? I don't want to be told that I need counseling. I know that would be beneficial for me of course, and would love to do so. However I am on a fixed income and simply can not afford to pay $100 an hour (or more!) to see a therapist. And I had too many bad experiences with the local agency (Canadian Mental Health Association) that provides free counseling. So basically I just want so advice and perhaps some suggestions on how I can deal with this problem. It is ruining my life! At the first sound of thunder I am paralyzed with fear, no, TERROR! It's an awful feeling! Please help! Thanks for your time. I will be eagerly awaiting your reply.
First of all, a lot of this must stem from you being OCD and your other health issues. As far as answering this question the way I would like to, it is hard for me to do. Weather has been bad all over the world and as we all know, people are starting to take note of that and ask....why? So, my point is there that some of your storm fears are realistic and not made up as you have a right to be afraid. UNFORTUNATELY, just being terrified will not give you the rational help that you need. You need to do your best to find a group that talks about the fear of thunderstorms and what other people do about it. It is very scary to be alone and have that fear, I agree with you there. The realistic thing though is not to just sit in your house and keep in a scared mode all of the time. You already know where that will get you....only more fear!
Try your best to get your relationship back with your family. If they do not understand you or, if they feel they have done all they can for you but you are not trying on your own then, you must prove to them that you are reaching out for help with others that are living the same fear as you are and then, they may offer to help you more than you think. There are places you can go for people on a low income. And, there are a lot of good counselors out there to offer you help. REMEMBER, you were born into this world and you, just like everybody else on this earth, have to learn to deal with storms and every other kind if devastating thing on this earth. That does NOT mean that you will EVER experience any of it though. You are fearing the unknown and you are fearing things that you have absolutely NO control over. One of the first things you have got to get clear in your mind is that there are MANY things that happen in this world that we can never control. And, believe me Dawn, I feel your pain with all of this. I have been through the fear of storms and even other irrational fears that I have not mentioned. You just Have got to find a way to get comfort with it and learn to cope with it and like I suggest, find others in groups that have the same fears. It helps to talk things out, sitting in a place alone will only make you worry more. If you are computer savvy.... Write a Blog on it and get some followers. You need to get more of a life for your own good. Laughter Is the best medicine and you will only get the laughter by having another to laugh with. If you will reach out of your comfort zone, the answers will come to you and you will work most of this out on your own. Please try to reach out and do not be afraid to do it. I am sure you are a great person and through all of that, you will find yourself helping others along the way!