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Coping the best they can ...

We have heard some very different coping stories. Here are a few ..
PS. These coping skills were an individual coping skills ...?

Although some of us curse the day that mobile phones were invented, Terrianne considered it a blessing. Previous to buying a mobile phone she was housebound with a specific avoidance to driving in the car. Now, with her mobile phone on hand she zips from here to there knowing that if the "what if" ever did happen, help is just a call away.
Yasmine had been a keen traveller before Panic Disorder seemingly ruined her life. A few months after she was diagnosed a driving trip to Melbourne had been organised and she was terrified. Her mind reeled "What if I stop breathing in the middle of nowhere?" She reassured herself with the fact that there would be semi-trailers on the road with CB radios and people with mobile phones. They would be able to contact a helicopter to evacuate her out of Agoraphobic hell! Three years later, Yasmine is completely recovered and can travel again on ........ planes, trains and automobiles.
It was examination time at the University. Violet had experienced her first panic attack a month earlier and had since been having severe attacks on almost a daily basis. She was required to sit for an important university exam. Her terror of having a panic attack was so intense it had translated itself into extreme physical agitation and an inability to remain in one spot for long. A three hour sit down exam therefore presented a little bit of a problem. On the day of the exam, Violet came up with an ingenious solution. She went to the university medical centre and told the doctor that due to a sporting accident, she was having severe back and neck pain. This pain, she told him, was exacerbated by remaining in one position for long periods of time. Not only did the doctor provide her with a certificate to the effect she needed to stand up and walk around at regular intervals during the examination, but the examiners themselves allowed her to sit the exam in a private room. Violet could stand, sit and move around at her leisure!
This lady had a lot of planning to do before she left home on an errand. She had to know where the nearest doctor, hospital and veterinary surgery were. Veterinary surgery.. you ask ... well, she knew that a vet would be able to resuscitate her if need be.
Fiona called the telephone support line asking for help because she was in the middle of having a panic attack. Half way through the support call she interrupted the person counselling her .. "I have another call coming through, I'm at work" she explained. When Fiona got back to the counsellor who was on hold, she revealed she worked part time at a Crisis telephone line ....
Strange and quirky .. what about the following. A lady (no names) uses knitting as a focus during panic attacks. She is so conditioned to her knitting she now takes her knitting with her everywhere. The other day a friend invited the lady to her hens night out - to a male revue (we all know what that is .. wink wink nudge nudge, say no more). This lady spent the whole night sitting in the front row, her knitting sitting politely on her lap .....
A lady related the story of when she had Panic Disorder many years ago. At this time her Agoraphobia was very severe. Basically she was housebound. She said the only thing that kept her going in those years was her addiction to ... the Australian TV soap Prisoner. Very symbolic don't you think.

Vonnie worked in the local hospital as a caterer. Her job was to deliver the meals for the patients. All the meals were stacked on a large steel trolley which could be wheeled without much effort. Fairly simple .. not a problem ... unless you've got an Anxiety Disorder. Vonnie had only one avoidance. She avoided the elevator for fear of having a panic attack there. Here lies the problem. The kitchen was located in the basement area, the patients were on floors 2 through to 6. How will she get the meals up to them? Vonnie explained her "technique". She simply put the trolley of meals into the elevator, chose the appropriate floor and dashed out of the elevator before the doors closed. Now all she had to do was charge up the flight of stairs to the appropriate floor and hope the elevator was there waiting for her. One time she got into trouble, someone got on at an intervening floor and the trolley was going up and down like a yo-yo. She finally caught up to it after much chasing. Yes, Vonnie looks very much like a marathon runner, fit as a fiddle.
Seems the nursing profession is one of the hardest hit by Anxiety Disorders. It is a very demanding job and a high level of professionalism is required. One nurse described the "hand-over" period as being the worse for her. Her concentration had been demolished by General Anxiety Disorder. She is always second guessing herself as to whether she received the instructions correctly. When she is on the job she is fearful that other nurses will discover she has an Anxiety Disorder.
Teresa experienced one of the major fears of an Anxiety Disorder. This fear created extensive avoidance on her part until finally she didn't go anywhere. Which of the major fears? The fear that she would have a diarrhoea attack when she went out - anywhere. This fear is full of shame and embarrassment .. of what would everyone say. The trouble with this fear for Teresa was she had never actually had a diarrhoea attack AT ALL - plenty of Panic Attacks though. It was the "What if" of this major fear which created the problem. So if Teresa had to go out and do the grocery shopping she had much planning to do before going. She had to know where all the toilets were in the facility. She had to know how many individual toilets there were ... just on the off chance that if she had to rush in there. The "what ifs" consumed her. What if .. IT happened and I wasn't near the toilet. What if .. IT happened, I get to the toilets and they are all being used. What if ... IT happened and I don't get to the toilet in time (SHAME feelings). In the end Teresa figured she was better off just not going out at all. And so the avoidance cycle gained more energy .. and her quality of life is decreased ...

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