I Guess What I’m Trying To Say Is That… I’m Sorry, Twitter

Today, for the first time in years, I suffered a massive panic attack.
(I blame Carbonite. More on that later…)
In 2003, I suffered from severe depression and almost debilitating panic attacks. Things got so bad, that I had to take an unpaid leave of absence from work and attend out patient group therapy.
One of the things that I learned in the weeks of therapy was how to deal with panic attacks. So, when I felt this panic attack coming on, I knew what to do.
I tried calling friends. No one answered.
I talked out loud to myself, saying things like “this is JUST a panic attack. You’re going to be fine.”
I took deep breaths.
Then, I did something I kind of regret.
I took it to Twitter.
I’m sure that people probably thought I was being a drama queen, but it was a genuine cry for help. Lucky for me, someone heard and called me. Unlucky for them, I was in the midst of the attack.
If you’ve never suffered a panic attack, you have no idea how awful and frightening they can be. I had hyperventilated to the point that my entire body had gone numb. My legs, my arms, MY FACE. I couldn’t speak, I was shaking, my heart was pounding.
When the phone rang, I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered anyway. As humiliating as it was to answer the phone WHILE HAVING AN ATTACK, I knew that talking to someone could help calm me down. I won’t go into the details of the call, but I will tell you that I was embarrassed and apologized a lot. This wonderful soul was kind and understanding and I can never thank her enough for her kindness.
It took me a couple of hours to recover fully from the emotional and physical effects of the attack.
Of course, I am now slightly alarmed that this could happen again. It’s been so long, I thought perhaps I would never have one again. Now, I’m wondering– do I need to see my psychiatrist again? Would it be wise to ask for medication to prevent this in the future?
I don’t want to overreact. I know this was brought on by a very specific event. (Losing a TON of photos that I *thought* were backed up on carbonite, but, apparently, NOT. Because did you know that if you delete files from your hard drive, Carbonite then deletes those same files 30 days later? Which makes me ask the question– BACKUP SYSTEM, HOW? I suppose it’s my fault for not reading all of the fine print. I suppose I shouldn’t have assumed that a backup system meant all of your files were backed up, even the deleted ones. But, seriously, isn’t that the point of having a backup of your files? So if they are lost or deleted, YOU HAVE A BACKUP OF THE FILE? Stupid, me!) But I can’t help but wonder if this is something I need to speak to a professional about again. Maybe?
We’ll see.
If you follow me on twitter, I do apologize for the trainwreck tweets. I truly wasn’t trying to be a drama queen, I was legitimately reaching out for help. But, even still. AM EMBARRASSED.

48 thoughts on “I Guess What I’m Trying To Say Is That… I’m Sorry, Twitter

  1. Cindi

    No need to ever apologize for trying to get yourself some help–no matter how you have to get it! And this was a good thing to post. I firmly believe there is always at least ONE person out there that is going through the same thing, so it’s a good thing to share what you are going through. Hope all is well and that you have a peaceful and wonderful weekend!

  2. Mrs. Flinger

    oh babe, I had one two nights ago. Sitting in bed swearing I was dying. I haven’t had one like that in years, either. The thing about being so connected is that we’re so used to reaching out and you do what you know you need to do: Reach out. Twitter, Phone, Facebook. Whatever.
    It’s the most scary thing in the world (literally, I thought about calling 911 for a few minutes) and anyone who knows you knows you’re not a drama queen. We’re here, babe. Even if we’re having our own attacks. XO

  3. schoolofmom

    I totally, 100% understand. For what it’s worth… I was panic attack free for over a year. Then, all of a sudden, I had one. It had been so long that I actually forgot that I could get panic attacks and thought I was literally dying. I even called my PASTOR. Yeah. That was awesome. Anyway, after that I didn’t have any more attacks and it’s been 18 months. So, if you don’t feel like going into see the psych right away, maybe you can wait a little while. I mean, that was a major, majorly awful thing to happen. I felt sick for you.

  4. MFA Mama

    Don’t be. It happens. I’m glad someone called you and it helped, and as I said in the random g-chat I threw your way, I feel your pain on this one. So sad 🙁

  5. Sugared Harpy

    I’m reading at the Carbonite site, and I see NOTHING about this 30 day and gone bullshit you’re going through.
    Don’t be embarrassed, my heart dropped when you said this on twitter! It’s horrible. I’m so so so very sorry.

  6. rachel

    panic attacks are real and they are scary. seriously. i ended up in the hospital with one ages ago that shot my (usually low) blood pressure up so high that i got broken blood vessels on my body. what i am trying to say is, f the apology, and if i had been home to see the tweets i would have called from australia because i get it.

  7. Carol Schiller

    You don’t have to apologize to Twitter or anyone else. Panic attacks are horrible – frightening, debilitating, and most importantly – not your fault.
    I’m so glad you were able to reach out to your community and get through it. That is the only part that matters.

  8. Madge

    I don’t think you need to apologize. You were dealing with a panic attack, and needed help. I used to suffer from horrible panic attacks as a child. I didn’t even know what they were, I just knew that I felt like I was going to die. My daughter suffers from them now. I would hope that if I’m not around to help her through one, that someone would be as kind as the person who helped you.

  9. Jessica

    Do not be embarrassed. One, you were experiencing something completely out of your control and needed someone to help. Two, I almost cried along with you. I can’t imagine losing all those pictures. I’m so sorry that happened.

  10. Madge

    Also, REALLY? Carbonite deletes after you delete? I can kind of understand why, because it is BACKUP and not STORAGE, but I never thought of it that way and had planned on using it as a storage for photo files and then deleting them just as you describe. Did you get your files back? I’m so sorry for such a mess 🙁

  11. Randi

    You’ve got nothing to apologize about – I would’ve been far more ticked than you were!! And I’ve suffered panic attacks before (Lorazepam has a home for forever in my house LOL), and I’m so, so glad that someone was able to call and talk to you to calm you down!

  12. Heather

    Panic attacks are scary stuff, I know. I’m sorry you were having such a hard time today! The loss of photos would be extremely frustrating. Is there not any way of rescuing them at all? What a silly thing for a backup system to do!!

  13. Mary Jo

    I have issues with Anxiety attacks too, no need to apologize. It’s completely understandable. I’m sorry that you couldn’t reach anyone before it got bad. HUGS

  14. Lesley @Avalea

    Love you, Ms. Y. If I had your digits, I would’ve totally called. I did tweet you, but I’m sure it wasn’t helpful. DO NOT be embarrassed! Everyone understands the sick feeling that would come over them if the same event happened to them. I was horrified for you! I wish I were close enough to grab hold and squash you with a big hug! A cyber one will hafta do for now. (((((( HUGS ))))))
    As far as calling your therapist, you do what you feel is best. If you want to just check yourself, call him/her. Certainly wouldn’t hurt, ya know?

  15. Christina

    Do a search for “undelete” online- there are several programs that can help you get your files back. *personal experience ahem*
    Even if you delete things from your computer they are still there, lurking unless you have a system in place(most don’t) to completely wipe them out or you reformat your hard drive.
    Good luck and I’ll help if I can.

  16. Rose C.

    After a traumatic incident, I began to suffer panic attacks for the first time in my life. From the outside, they may look like “nothing,” but for me, they meant being transported to a different time and place. Panic attacks steal your perspective, and you are coping logically with what you see, experience, hear, and feel in your body and mind. There was a time I used to feel so ashamed when I had one, gasping for breath, feeling my heart race, falling apart emotionally. Let me reiterate, though, there is NOTHING shameful about them. You are a strong person and demonstrate that on your blog and Twitter and to everyone you meet. Panic attacks don’t involve choice–and they don’t mean anything about you. Whatever the origin, they’re simply your brain and body believing you’re in danger–so if you react like you would in danger, those reactions are not strange or at fault at all. They’re working correctly–it’s just the perception that’s off, and we often can’t totally control that either.
    I learned to “ride” panic attacks out, not to fight them or berate myself for them as it’d just make them worse. Some tips: look upwards and say the name of objects you see, state the date and time, imagine your favorite color of light protecting you, try Rescue Remedy (you can get it at Whole Foods) or Calms Forte pills (all-natural and calming). Also move away from anything that’s triggering you and try to do something nice for yourself. That’s my $0.02! And quit apologizing–you’re awesome and we love you!

  17. cindy w

    I’ve had panic attacks before, they’re horrible. I saw your tweets & didn’t realize that’s what was going on with you, I just thought you were really angry (which I would be too in that situation). I’m so sorry you went through that.
    As for meds, I have no idea. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a little stash of xanax (or something similar) on-hand just in case it happens again.
    But seriously? Don’t apologize. There is no need for that.

  18. Jessica Davenport

    Oh geez. you have no idea how much I needed to see this right now. I feel like I’m losing my mind today, and I unfortunately let the crazy out on Facebook. I know it probably doesn’t help that it makes me feel better that you struggle too. But it does.

  19. Gina

    You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. If you can’t reach out to people on twitter, then what’s the point?

  20. Jen @ lifelove'n'wine

    Do NOT apologize for this! It is so great that you reached out for help, and I’m so glad that someone was able to call and help you. Panic attacks are horrible and scary and you did the absolute right thing reaching out to people.

  21. Karen Sugarpants

    ugh. i totally would have been there for you if i was home. instead i was experiencing the same damn thing in a mall parking lot. fun! (seeing the doc tomorrow – maybe you should?)
    love to you.

  22. DogsDontPurr

    It’s so good that you posted this. I too have gone through episodes of panic attacks. It’s horrible. And it’s so much worse when people around you don’t understand….and brush it off, saying “it’s all in your head!” Like you have some control over it. Argh. But by sharing this post, it helps us all. It’s something that needs to be talked about. It is real, and scary.
    Hugs and hugs and more hugs. I totally know what you were going through.

  23. Kelly

    I love that you had the courage to post this. Because even though it’s 2010, depression, anxiety, and *panic attacks* are still so horrible misunderstood, and at times, stigmatized.
    I’m a long time sufferer of depression and anxiety. I have my degree in Mental Health Counseling because I wanted to help others sort through the shit I’ve been through.
    I hadn’t had a panic attack in years, but had one on the train on the way home from work this week. No amount of training or relaxation techniques could’ve calmed me down. It was HORRIBLE. I’m planning on visiting my doc on Monday for some Xanax in case it happens again.
    I know we don’t know each other in ‘real life’, but I so love your blog, and love how REAL you are. Please feel free to email/IM me, etc if you ever need to talk. Sometimes we just need someone to be with us, to help us stop things from spinning so horribly.

  24. mouthy_broad

    no need to be sorry.
    also, you have a lot of little things going on (son almost a man, husband’s job been in and out {effing economy}, weightloss {even losing weight is a mental battle on many levels} and probably many others that you don’t share) that might be adding to anxiety that led to this one small thing becoming an attack.
    but as i tweeted you–WTF? how is it a backup if it doesn’t back up? confused. seems there is no magic bullet for keeping digital files. we have an external harddrive, but who says that won’t go defunct?

  25. Melissa @MBonn

    In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss “Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter!” All that matters is that you got the help you needed. And as for the Carbonite deal? That seems like TOTAL bull-ish to me. What’s the point!?

  26. Lar

    I just wanted to say I’m sorry you lost your pictures. That’s heartbreaking, I know; my daughter recently lost a memory card that had some videos on it I’d not uploaded yet, and I’m having such a hard time getting over it. I can totally see how that could push you into a terrible place.
    So glad you’re feeling better today–

  27. Neil

    I would have to join the Catholic Church and pray with the Pope to atone for all the times I freaked out on Twitter. Don’t worry at all. We care about you. Take care!

  28. jennifer, playgroups are no place for children

    Don’t be embarrassed. Your tweets didn’t sound trainwreck at all, or like you were overreacting. I’m sorry it ended in a panic attack, I hope it was just situational…
    I’m sure it’s hard not to worry that it will happen again. No advice for that. Just sorry it happened and sorry you’re feeling embarrassed about it now.

  29. Mahala

    I’m sorry that happened to you. I know it’s embarrassing. Yes, get some meds to keep on hand, then cut them in half and keep a few with you all the time. It does wonders for your peace of mind, even if you never have to take one.
    Feel free to DM me on Twitter if you ever need to vent (@Mahala) or email me..
    Been there done that and I know how bad it sucks.

  30. Kerru

    Did you know that panic attacks and anxiety are thyroid related? I’m a fellow Hashimoto-ite with a history of anxiety, mostly in the past thank GOD. Maybe your attacks have been under control because your thyroid has been also. Keep an eye on your levels 🙂

  31. Christy

    Oh, I HATE panic attacks…so glad you reached out. I hate when they reoccur after several years…the last time I had one I was worried I was slipping back into depression. I remember thinking, “Oh no, is my life going to fall apart again?”

  32. Issa

    I’ve had them off and on since October. Sometimes for big reasons, but mostly for small stuff. I have the two most amazing, patient best friends in the entire world. And a great therapist.
    I think what you did, going on twitter, was brave. Sometimes reaching out is the hardest thing. I hope it was a one time thing. Hugs Y.

  33. lildb

    my first impulse is to ask you *why* you would feel bad using a resource that’s easily accessed to get the help you needed, but my second is to note that i would probably feel the same, and in fact *have* felt the same in moments of desperation, and behaved similarly.
    my third is to offer hugs of solace and to point to a feeling of total understanding. i get really panicky when driving now. the first time was the very worst, a few years ago, driving over this bridge that crosses the river to Portland, it’s always made me nervous but this specific time i was sure i’d forgotten how to drive and was going to lose control and fall over the edge of the bridge in a splendid, breathtaking spiral, down, down, down into the water. it makes my head spin just telling you about it. i get flashes of that fear on occasion even now, two years later, and it’s like i suddenly know i can’t really drive. never knew how. and my hands feel like air and sawdust and my face is suddenly on fire and my guts are a mess and it’s a disaster. i have to talk to myself to get through it — but you know what? talking to someone else is better. it makes all the pieces go back where they should inside. and i can drive fine.
    i’m so sorry you were so scared. it sucks.

  34. Beth

    I’ve had panic attacks in the past and my heart totally goes out to you. Mine came on as a result of the shit my ex was putting me through. I even had an attack at my son’s school once, and a kind mom was willing to stay with me until it was over. After that, I went on antidepressants (also helps control panic attacks) and I keep a small stash of Xanax at home and in my purse in case I need it. I find that just having the Xanax with me at all times helps me feel more secure and prepared, and I hardly ever have to take it. When I do take it, though, I take only .25mg (a quarter of a tablet) and that helps me sidestep an attack. I hope you at least consult your psych to see what options you want to pursue. alike I said, *just knowing the Xanax is there* helps me a lot. I’ve even taken out a tablet and held it in my hand if I feel panic coming on, and then I take a few deep breaths and put the tablet back in the bottle. At this rate, my tablets will expire loooong befoe I do. ;^) Big hugs to you, and good for you for getting the help you need(ed). You are lovely!

  35. Laura in Michigan

    I had panic attacks about 20 years ago after my grandma died. Someone suggested breathing into a brown paperbag and that helped immensely. I took to carrying a bag with me everywhere, and that helped me feel in control. THEN about 6 months, I had another one in a restaurant. I couldn’t believe it. Thankfully I knew what it was and just sort of breathed through it. They are awful!!

  36. christine Gill

    it’s been a few months since I’ve had one, but I tendto get lots all in a row and then be alright for a long time. I hate them. It doesn’t matter how much i tell myself, “It’s ok, this will pass” I am still terrified the whole time. Still certain that i shall die any minute. What was awful once was lying beside Jeff in the night – I woke up feeling so scared, this cold rush going through my veins, i couldn’t breath properly, I felt like i needed to get up and run and run and run and yet I was paralyzed, too paralyzed to get up, to paralyzed to even shake Jeff awake to help me through it, I couldn’t even speak to wake him up. I just lay there, gripped in this awful terror.
    They scare me so much… : (

  37. Baby Favorite

    Don’t apologize…you’re certainly not alone.
    I can’t survive without my Effexor (for anxiety), and I don’t plan to. Not worth the risk.

  38. Lena

    Um. I’m a total asshole. I’m sure I was one of the people who wasn’t there for you. Aaaand what’s even more telling is that I’m just now reading this and it’s the…16th.
    I’ve been busy. Stabby. Hyperventilatey myself.
    I win, Yvonne. Don’t even try to out asshole me.
    I’m sorry. I love you. I’ll call you later.

  39. sam {temptingmama}

    I LOVE YOU. I am so happy that someone called. XOXOXOXOXO
    ALSO? WTF!? I am now panicked because I deleted all the pictures off my hard drive assuming their safe on my time capsule. FREAKING. OUT.

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