Hello again, I am back with the second ‘episode’ of my panic attack series. This weeks guest is Johnzelle. He has written quite a funny post about the time he had a panic attack on holiday – you’ll have to read the post to find out the rest.
I have been really enjoying reading the feedback that I have received from the last post. Remember, if you would like to take part and share your panic attack story just comment below this post or send me a message and I will sent you all of the details.
Together, let’s break the stigma of mental health.
1. Where were you/What were you doing when you had a panic attack and how did it make you feel?
This particular panic attack happened at a time I least expected it. My wife and I were on a vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to celebrate both our one-year wedding anniversary and my 26thbirthday. Given that I’m an introvert, I chose Gatlinburg because you can do touristy things, then retreat to your log cabin away from everyone.
While my wife and I did a great job at saving for the vacation and paying for everything with cash, our actual spending budget was modest. After blowing a good chunk of the budget on my first tattoo (a wave on my wrist to represent “riding the wave” of anxiety) and a piercing for my wife, we were limited on funds for the remainder of our trip. #noregrets
Then like magic, we stumble upon a brochure stand at the front of a grocery store that was offering discounted tickets to a dinner show that we had planned to see. Being the type to always look for a good deal, I inquired. To my surprise, the lady said the tickets to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede would be absolutely free!
We went to a simple two-hour-long timeshare pitch and “a short tour.” While I’ve never been to a timeshare meeting, I’ve heard enough horror stories to know that they’re a scam. Being both an assertive and frugal guy, I was certain that I could survive the meeting without getting conned into buying a timeshare. My wife and I would enjoy a free lunch (again, saving us from using our budget) and get show tickets valued at $120!
The con artist, er, agent started by guaranteeing that this timeshare pitch would be, “a no pressure situation.” So, we watch the flashy PowerPoint and listen to the blah blah, “exclusive opportunity,” blah blah, “own your vacation instead of renting it” mumbo-jumbo. When it ended, we went on the tour and nodded to look impressed.
Just when I thought it was over, they bring us back to a cubicle…
Two hours later, I was in the midst of a horrible panic attack.
2. How did you deal with it and did anyone/anything help you/ease how you felt?
No, I did not buy the timeshare. With that being said, the con artist, er, agent was very aggressive. He went from being super sociable on the tour to being a complete jerk! He would not take no for an answer!
I explained that I wasn’t going to buy anything and even tried to be polite with the, “We’ll think about it” brush-off. I recall even being honest that I have an anxiety disorder and that his aggressiveness was making me feel overwhelmed.
He eventually stormed off and we finally got our free tickets with a promise that we would follow up tomorrow after reviewing the options.
We didn’t, haha!
My wife tried to be supportive; however, once my panic attacks start, they’re hard to come back from. My panic attacks are often followed by a depressive episode.
The panic attack ruined that day of my vacation and had me feeling somewhat depressed for a few weeks after that, surprisingly.
3. Have you/would you do the same activity/go to the same place again despite this?
Hell-to-the-no-no! No more timeshare presentations for us. The dinner show tickets, while awesome, were not worth that blow to my mental health or the remainder of my hard-earned vacation.
4. Despite what happened, take three positives that you learnt/experienced from what happened.
1) I got a free lunch, which was pretty good. 2) We got tickets to a dinner show that we really wanted to see, couldn’t afford, and really enjoyed experiencing. 3) I stood my ground and didn’t become the agent’s bitch; I mean, sucker.
5. What is your top piece of advice to people going into similar situations who might also be anxious about it?
Don’t go to timeshare presentations. Not much more I can say than that.
6. Is there anything else you would like to add/include?
I like to think that every panic attack teaches me a little bit more about myself. I live with anxiety and function well. My mental illness has given me the empathy to understand my clients and their struggles (I’m a therapist.) I’m able to use what I’ve learned along the way to help others.
If you struggle with mental illness, remember: you are not broken, you’re just designed differently. Intense emotions are like a “check engine” light. Pay attention to the warnings and be prepared to manage them in the healthiest way possible. Options include therapy, medication, blogging, journaling, art… The list goes on. Take care.
Thanks for reading! You can find me over on my blog perfectlyimperfect92.wordpress.com and on Twitter @perfimperfect92