Panic Attack. Who gets those right? Everyone experiences anxiety and has likely experienced a panic attack during a repetitious and highly stressful event in their life. If you say you haven’t than I would propose perhaps you may not properly understand what anxiety is. Anxiety is often fleeting, quick to appear and then disappear. But a panic attack? That is something else, it is the feeling of absolutely losing control of everything in our life and our defenses are down, leaving us vulnerable to an attack like one we may have already experienced.
My name is Dominick Juliano and I sometimes experience mild panic attacks and general anxiety. I wasn’t always so prone to this, rather it developed through a series of events that have affected my life and I eventually was no longer able to cope with things on my own. Once I lost my ability to cope with my circumstances I entered a perpetual state of denial, fear and anxiety that only improved after systematic elimination of the overarching causes as well as the powerful and evil medications I took every day and mixed with alcohol. I still experience anxiety every day and about once a month I experience a panic attack. I have been dealing with this aspect of my life for so long, not only have I rediscovered my coping mechanisms but I have also developed an understanding of the symptoms so I can do what is best for myself and everyone else around me. I stay home. Honestly, I can tell a couple days prior what is going on with me and I take a day shortly after to get my shit together. I often try to meditate and I talk with my mentors. I am trying to make my panic attacks less and less of a deal every time they occur and I will discuss the successes and failures my wife and I have encountered in a future blog post. It is perfectly okay for all of us to experience anxiety and even a panic attack. It is not okay for us to make our problem someone else’s problem when we experience anxiety or a panic attack.
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. Not all experiences with anxiety are to the level of PTSD and I do honestly feel elements of our American media have exaggerated and given a satirical view of what PTSD is. From my experience, we hear more about PTSD from people who do not understand it than we do from people who deal with it every day. For me, I have encountered extreme bouts of anxiety from the feeling of helplessness, not so much the fear of death. Although I really do enjoy living, I do not fear my death. Not even a little bit. The anxiety in my case stems mostly from unresolved fear of losing control of my life due to circumstances I simply could not remove from or change for one reason or another and I had to develop a successful mindset to be at peace with. I realize it will take time for me to develop a further understanding of the inner peace I desire.
The primary causes of my uncontrolled anxiety were/are the following:
- The constant inconsistencies in my early development environment prevented me from establishing many lasting and meaningful social relationships as a child. I constantly lived in fear of losing my home from the early age of 5 and on. My mother was young when she had me and although she did not make the wisest choices early in my life I will never forget for a moment that she worked her ass off to try and keep us together. The fear of losing my home was resolved 12 years later at the age of 17 when my father kicked me out on the street (go figure right?) During my time living in my car was when I resolved to never allow anyone to remove me from; or make me uncomfortable in my own home where I belonged. I was then able to extinguish my fear of losing my home. A source of anxiety that affected me for over 10 years.
- My rape. (Individual #1) The terrible things I knew were happening at age six were wrong and hurt me, but were not the worst part of my experiences. Not understanding why it happened or that I wasn’t a horrible person when it finally stopped, that was the killer for me. I thought I did something wrong when it stopped because at that point I was taught sex means love and therefore the love I wanted can only be felt through sex. He would start things so gentle and get violently angry at me toward the end before he would finish. As a child it was impossible for me to understand what happens to the human body during sexual activity. I just wanted him to be nice to me like he was around my mother. It wasn’t until years later when I returned home from the invasion of Iraq with the experiences I shared with other human beings, I faced the way I felt about my body. I shared incredible experiences with others during that trip that transcended things I had ever dreamed. It was after my first experiences in Iraq I faced the truth about my sexuality and why I will always look at myself differently than most other people. I am honestly at peace with what happened to me and my only hope is I can ease others to one day feel the same way about themselves and be who they want to be free of judgement about what they may have been led to believe about themselves. The measure of my worth is not what I can provide to someone, but what I and another person can choose to provide to one another. Sex does not mean love, Trainwrecks. Sex means what you want it to mean.
Understand something, you don’t see what I see in the mirror. I do.
- My molestation. (Individual #2) Out of the frying pan and straight into the fire huh? It’s like these Assholes can smell their leftover toys. Well, what can I say other than yup it began to happen again. The major negative takeaway from my second set of experiences was the anxiety I would feel every time I would get close to someone. This anxiety would surface when I would realize I am now vulnerable to a family member or any other person who has the ability to override the desires of my own life in favor of theirs. I put this anxiety to rest when I moved away from Delaware and joined the military. Self-entitled family members no longer had the ability to soak up my time and pester me with their problems solely to be a burden on me and make themselves feel important. This was not a problem in my life again until my overbearing and out-of-control in-laws shoved their way into my marriage. My father in law, Jonathan would take pleasure in visiting my home and roughing up my son until he cried. he would cackle with glee and laugh at me as I would choke back tears, listening to my son’s pleas for my father in law to stop hurting him. I never touched that man for a reason.
- The feeling of helplessness I developed over 8 days of madness in Camp Bucca, Iraq. I think around day 6 is when the circle walkers showed up. Those were the people who would walk around in circles lost in fear because they were stuck in a compound getting attacked every day and any second for a week an explosion might take their life. I’ll be honest, I saw nothing wrong with their odd behavior. The circle walkers would appear immediately after the last explosion rocked a sector and were usually comprised of people from said sector. These people would slowly wander to different parts of the installation afterward and begin their slow pointless walks in a circle mumbling incoherently and wondering what it was they did wrong in life to arrive at a place like this. I was used to a monster bursting through my door any second when my mother wasn’t home to use me like an object so I guess was used to sitting with the feeling of fear and anxiety. It wasn’t until my trip to Camp Bucca my anxiety turned into a mental trap I couldn’t escape until years later in my kitchen when I decided to take my life. Yes, unfortunately that is how I separated myself from my panic attacks about a rocket landing next to me and almost losing my life, I almost shot myself in the head in my kitchen in Springfield Illinois. Fucked up, I know. But somehow it worked. That anxiety came to an end. This is literally one of the biggest reasons why I chose coaching as part of my future profession, to try and help people lost in a cycle of insanity step back from the madness I know everyone can get caught up in. After all, I too walked in a circle at Camp Bucca shortly after that explosion. My friend Marcus found me and asked what the Hell I was doing and I snapped out it. He had a way with words.
- My moron Father in Law trying to ruin my marriage and harm my son. As my wife and I were recovering from the events that occurred at Camp Bucca, my father in law retired from his desk job in the Air Force. He was a supply clerk. If you needed a pair of boots, he was the guy you filled out a piece of paper and handed it to and he would fetch the boots and then wait until you made sure they fit. Jonathan decided (without consulting my wife and I) when he retired, he needed to live near us and from day 1, promptly sandwiched himself between my wife and I for 9 long years of his narcissism and arrogance. Rest assured, Trainwrecks. In my first book I will be including an entire chapter explaining in detail how I had to save my moron father in law’s life from his own actions because he chose to be a selfish asshole.
This is why my wife and I had to take him to court to get him out of our lives. Because all else failed.
When discussing my father in law, my intent is to convey not only why I chose to respond to Jonathan in a non-violent way despite his harassive beta-male behavior, but how my perspective is vastly different from his uneducated one. I truly understand his cognitive and familial limitations, which is why I ultimately responded the way I responded. Although he is a monster I felt sorry for him. It was difficult to put up with Jonathan but I swear to you, I never laid a hand on him because I knew how devastating the impact of getting violent with him despite his ignorance would have been to my wife. We reached the point his selfish and irresponsible behaviors were no longer tolerable and we agreed it was necessary to remove him from our life. I have no doubt the upcoming discussion about Jonathan alone will be reason enough for people to flock to this blog and I honestly encourage that. I encourage that because I implore you all to PLEASE learn how to deal with narcissistic people in a non-violent way if possible. I was able to mostly eliminate the anxiety attacks that resulted from the family chaos (colloquially referred to as: “Medford Madness”) my in-laws perpetuated by “finally” meeting with Jonathan (historically he runs from the problems he creates, hoping others will get frustrated and forget about them) and a judge, explaining my situation and having him instruct the clueless narcissist to stay away from my family and my home where he is unwelcome. This action is often referred to in legal terms as a “FINAL WARNING.” I don’t need a piece of paper to get my point across to people like him.
The anxiety attacks I have encountered the most throughout my marriage have mostly stemmed from my in-law’s rude and disgusting behavior and the CONSTANT instability it created in our marriage and in our lives for almost ten years. Once my wife and I permanently eliminated Jonathan and his wife from our family and our home, my alcohol dependence quickly disappeared, as did my persistent anxiety attacks related to my fear of those disgusting people continuing to destroy our happiness. I am currently discussing with legal representation what further information regarding my court case I am permitted to share and how I must prepare my professional opinion as well as my personal perspective about Jonathan’s anti-social behavior. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of trying to solve our problems in as non-violent a way as possible despite the ignorance of others. He knew I have been studying human behavior longer than he has known me. And I told him I will find purpose in his hatred and his jealousy he and his wife have shown toward my family. More to follow.
- The feeling like “my bubble is going to pop.” I’ve come so far since I fell hard and I genuinely sometimes feel like things are gonna go off the rails once again. I’ve gotten this far but sometimes I get dragged down by imposter syndrome or I feel like no one will ever think my work will be worth anything or maybe I am somehow intimidating someone (again). Maybe I can’t remember what I did with some money or I forgot to write down where I parked because I didn’t park in my usual spots. Any number of daily stressful incidents are as trivial to me as they are trivial to everyone else. Throw too many trivial events together and we now have a stressful situation. Too many stressful situations back to back and I am not a happy camper anymore and much worse, neither is anyone near me. This is why I frequently give warnings to people overwhelming me with information or what’s on their mind or doing things that affect me and I do not wish to be a part of. I am to the point in my life I will tell you once to chill out and afterward I simply ignore you and begin to walk away. This would not be such a big deal if I did not have a history of people throughout my life taking advantage of me in these and other ways so forgive me (or not, I don’t care) if I have developed into a rather straight-forward and “try to be” very little bullshit type of person. I just don’t have time for it anymore. Believe me, it doesn’t always work.
Anxiety is not always our enemy. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD most often begin within three months of the event. In some cases, however, they do not begin until years later. The severity and duration of the illness vary. Some people recover within six months, while others suffer much longer.
Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into four main categories, including:
- Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
- Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
- Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Negative Cognitions and Mood: This refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event.
Just because we experience a tragic event or experience does not automatically mean we should expect persistent negative symptoms. It has been my experience however, repeated negative and unchangeable circumstances as well as a poor support system will greatly increase the stress factor an individual will experience after significant life events.
A positive support system, reinforced sense of belonging and cognitive stimulation are all vital features of a proper environment for someone experiencing high stress and anxiety. Diffusing periods of increased tension as well as eliminating the source of attention will permit the healing to begin.
Let’s have a discussion:
- What are examples of a panic attack or anxiety (no matter how big or small) has affected you?
- What do you think the biggest causes of stress and anxiety are in our lives are we could eliminate with some work?
- What are some instances where you have overcome periods of anxiety?
- What was the most important thing you helped resolve your feelings of anxiety?
Please leave your comments below. Be sure to Like and Subscribe to this Blog so you can be notified of future updates on every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I hope you all have a great day.
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Symptoms of Panic & Anxiety Attacks. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/anxiety-attack-symptoms
Symptoms of Panic Attack. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/panic-attack-symptoms
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder#1
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
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