I finally get the support I wanted... from my father...

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 934
   Posted 10/14/2006 1:59 PM (GMT -6)   
For years me and my sister have suffered with panic disorder.  She has suffered with it for 11 years, I have suffered with it on and off for 8 years.  My sister is more closed off and reserved, and doesn't like to talk about her panic disorder, whereas I tell everyone I have it and not to be frightened if I start having panic attacks, only that I just have to ride it out.
My father always tried to shrug our disorder off like it didn't really exist, until I got really bad a few months ago.

Finally over the past two weeks he started opening up.
Yesterday he told me he had a panic attack in Cub Foods two weeks ago, and that his sister used to have panic attacks all the time and would have to breathe into a paper bag. (hypervenelating I imagine, his sister just passed away in December at 80 years old)
He also told me that many of my great aunts and his own mother suffered with severe panic disorder, one of my great aunts was institutionalized for 11 years with it.  I'm sure back then they didn't know what to do with us anxious souls, so we were just thrown into a psyche ward.
I think he just didn't want to accept the fact that his daughters also suffer with such a difficult disorder, but now he has to as I just kept getting worse and had to get on meds a few months ago.
I talk openly about how I feel and when I feel anxious and why, and now he just started recognizing that it isn't just "an excuse to get out of events and family things" but rather a debilitating disorder that I can't help but deal with and try to get better.  I told him of my fear of Target yesterday, and how I'm taking steps towards getting used to pushing myself forward, even if I feel panicky.
I feel really happy that I finally have some sort of support from him, and now it makes sense to me.  The disorder is hereditary, and he told me the majority of the sufferers in his family were women, which makes sense because they say 80% of all panic disorder/anxiety disorder sufferers are women.  He tried to hide this from me and my sister all these years but for some reason just started to talk to me about it over the course of a month.
Strange that he now just decides to recognize it. 
But helpful to me.
Just thought I'd share that all with you.

"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."

Post Edited (Twiggygal) : 10/14/2006 1:18:53 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 10/14/2006 3:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm glad that your father has become supportive. Having family members understand what you are going through helps a bunch. My father is kinda the same way and when I talk about it he trys to change the subject pretty quick. It's interesting to see how many of your family members have suffered with anxiety and panic. I believe there are quite a few people in my family that also suffer but alot of them have turned to drinking.


Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 10/14/2006 8:38 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Twiggygal

I'm glad your father is finally recognising your A/P and is trying to be helpful by talking about it. My sister and I both suffer anxiety and so does my father, we all discuss it, it makes it easier to deal with, knowing it runs in the family. I just wish other people could undestand it. Thank-you for sharing.

Take Care Jude smurf

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 789
   Posted 10/14/2006 9:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Twiggy,
(((Big Hugs))) I'm so happy you and your dad have begin to talk about this. Don't feel so bad about him not accepting this earlier maybe he carries around guilt or feels responsable for passing it on to you two girls. It's funny what a parent will do to protect there children. May he felt he was protecting you in some way. I'm so sorry you have this illness but now at least you know where it came from. Bless you
I have an illness, My illness don't have me.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1449
   Posted 10/14/2006 11:16 PM (GMT -6)   
panic attacks often do run in families, my grandmother had them, called turns back then but nobody, including me, realised that my panic attacks were the same as hers
when my agoraphobia was eventually diagnosed, none of my family wanted to hear about it, this sort of thing being not discussed
an aunt was obviously having panic attacks but strongly denied it and was insulted when I told her. such is the stigma and fear of being labelled as mentally ill
familys that do discuss their fears and feelings do better, IMO
recovered former longtime anxiety and panic attack sufferer and helper of other sufferers  but no training or  qualifications in medicine or psychology, any remarks that may be taken as advice must be confirmed with doctor or other health professional

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 10/15/2006 12:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Twiggy-
I'm so happy for you! Yeah! Maybe your Dad was in denial of some kind, but you know what? Now that he's acknowledged it, hopefully he will be a big support to both you and your sister.
Take Care,
    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
  DX: ankylosing spondylitis, periferal neuropathy, chronic migraines/headaches, depression/panic attacks, probable Bi-Polar, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, orthostatic hypotension, sleep apnea
  RX: synthroid, estradiol, cymbalta, xanax, proamatine, inderal la, neurontin, torfanil pm, celebrex, sonata, aspirin, relpax, phenergan, esgic plus
  Surgeries: hysterectomy 1997, tonsillectomy 2001, deviated septum 2005, cataracts (both eyes) 2006

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 10/15/2006 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Great news Twiggy and Harry is so right families HAVE to dicuss this and other things IMO
Kudos for you and your Dad
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1268
   Posted 10/15/2006 1:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi twiggy, good news, but i think he had to have one himself before he could recognize them. I hate that he had to have one, but it is good for you that he has opened up. I agree with harry also, you have to talk, my kids are my biggest support, although my mom acts like they dont matter, my kids know, they have had to watch me.....:( but........am so glad you have more help now, it will get a lil easier maybe ;)
" Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now, in this instant of time. From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."
Eileen Caddy

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 934
   Posted 10/15/2006 2:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Well the story just keeps getting more interesting.
Now I'm wanting to trace the family history because I want to know where it all began.
Only one relative is left that has all the information about the family history that doesn't have Alzheimers. 
Thank you all for your kind comments :)   They're much appreciated.
But my question is, how to fix something that is hereditary?
Apparently my grandmother used to pop anti-anxiety pills.  They were "pre-xanax" (so I don't know what the med was called) and extremely addictive.  (as my father told me he used to swipe him when he would have panic attacks as a kid, and then my aunt Marianne got hooked on them too) 
I mean, I want to get better, but can you get better even though it's been passed on from generation to generation?  I hope so, I feel I'm getting better, and then I have my doubts.
Because when I get a panic attack I feel I'm at square 1, like yesterday, when I was so anxious before I got out the door of my house to go drive 20 minutes to the store, so I didn't.
"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 140
   Posted 10/15/2006 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey TG,
I think that you CAN get better, even if what you suffer from is hereditary. The medications are different today, there is more research and there's some more acceptance than there was. No, it's not a perfect world. Far from it. As we gain the tools we need to help us get through, better things will come.
I have my doubts too somethimes. When I have a PA, I feel like all the therapy, CBT, etc. have gone out the window. For me, the CBT sounds great in theory, but I have a hard time using it when I really need it.
Remember how well you did going to Target? Yes, it was scary, but you made it. That was a HUGE step for you. That means that you're on the road to being better. Keep looking up. I'm glad that you have your dad on your side now. Nothing is worse than having someone think that you should just "snap out of it".
We're all rooting for you!
Life's a journey, not a destination ~ Aerosmith
A good friend is one who thinks you're a good egg even though you're half-cracked.

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