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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 03:58 PM

Here's a new one - I am suddenly afraid of the parking garage at Macy's.

I had this experience Friday, and went back again today to see if I still had the same reaction. I did.

I work across the street from a big mall. Friday at lunch, I decided to check out Macy's and Nordstrom for brown or tan shirts. I usually park in the surface lot at Macy's, but it was really full, so I followed the line of traffic to the back parking garage.

When I pulled in, I got very tense, a feeling of apprehension and a "fight or flight" type adrenaline rush. And I felt pretty spooked the whole time I was in the mall. Not a basket case, but unsettled/uneasy.

Same reaction today, but I literally whistled my way through it and made myself calm down.

There isn't anything pe se unusual about it, it's just your run of the mill parking garage.

Ok, I know the answer why - this garage is very similar in appearance, layout, and orientation to the one I parked in for three weeks in September at the hospital. It was just too much memory for me.

But seriously, afraid of a parking garage? Well, I don't intend to let something that trivial get to me, or where will I be when the big stuff hits? In trouble.

So, if I have to go over there every day for a week to desensitize myself I will.

Weird, huh?

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Reply Here's a new one - I am suddenly afraid of the parking garage at Macy's. (Original post)
Denninmi Jan 2013 OP
hollysmom Jan 2013 #1
Denninmi Jan 2013 #5
get the red out Jan 2013 #2
libodem Jan 2013 #3
valerief Jan 2013 #4
hunter Jan 2013 #6
fizzgig Jan 2013 #7
intaglio Jan 2013 #8
2theleft Jan 2013 #9
ellenrr Feb 2013 #10

Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:02 PM

1. no

There are a lot of attacks at malls, the malls just don't publicize them. I was walking to my car outside Menlo Park Mall a bout 20 years ago, when suddenly a police car drove up and slammed their brakes on/ There were 2 guys in a van following me and they had rope and tape in the car. The police took my name and said I would probably not have to testify because there had been several kidnappings from that mall and they had other witnesses.

Always be very very careful in any mall.

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:35 PM

5. That's really not it. Broad daylight, a lot of people, good neighborhood.

I have no qualms about that. This is strictly a reaction to the layout, which is bringing up memories of September.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:06 PM

2. "Just too much memory for me"

I think that must be the deal. I have "too much memory" locked up in associations from as far back 20 year ago. It isn't as suddenly in my face as it was years ago, but it shows up. There's a certain kind of damp day in winter that will slam me like a rock with dread sometimes; and I know it comes from the darkest winter of my life when I was in and out of hospitals and no one could help me.

Walk through, I tell myself it's past, memory now (I won't say just memory, because there isn't any "just" to it when you have to feel it).

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:19 PM

3. I think you have a good handle on it

Keep affirming that you can overcome the fear and anxiety, now that you know what triggered your dread.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:31 PM

4. I always feel that way in big parking garages. I figure it's best to be wary. nt

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:42 PM

6. I have a bunch of associations like that I can't kick.

Best I can do is remain functional when they sneak up on me like a mugger.

The worst thing is they are unpredictable. I can usually figure it out in hindsight, but I can't say to myself looking forward, "careful now, there's going to be trouble."

Some of it is hardcore PTSD. There's a street in Berkeley that sets me off, but only if it's dark and the air smells a certain way. That panic attack has slammed me hard twice, once when I was still dating my wife, and another time when I was visiting a friend. (Something bad once happened to me there.)

Others are more random than that, combinations of things, and not directly related to any particular place, situation or experience.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:15 PM

7. i've gone through some strange, but temporary, phobias

first it was the garbage disposal and that i was convinced i was going to get my hand stuck and liquefied in there. then it was electrical outlets and being convinced i was going to electrocute myself.

the brain works in strange ways.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:51 PM

8. You know the routines

Breathing - even regular; not too deep and not too shallow and fast

Relaxation - take it body area at a time if you can't manage it all over; shake one hand, let it fall, jiggle your shoulders let them drop. If questioned be honest say you are feeling really tense but, if you like make an excuse like you are meeting somebody new.

Bring on the beauty - think of a lovely piece of music, an attractive person, a lovely view (think DemoTex's firewatch photos a butterfly, a kitten) a favourite poem.

No need to do it all at once or even in that order, just identify the stress indicators, shut them down and don't worry if it doesn't work immediately.

Once you are a bit more calm, try to identify the triggers - a good place to start is the lighting, I find fluorescent tubes that are just starting to fail have a barely perceptible flicker. Shadows are another trigger or a bad sound environment. It need not be any of these and you may not spot the trigger or triggers immediately or even after multiple visits, but one day you'll stop being affected by that environment anyway.

Come On!! You can do it!

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:58 PM

9. What works for me with my anxiety

is to start making a list. Of anything. I don't even have to write it down, just think about making a list of something. Books I want to read, places I want to visit, etc. Calming stuff, not a list of things to do... Something about focusing my mind on one thing and really focusing on it can calm me down pretty quickly.

My trigger is bridges. Was on the Delaware Memorial Bridge the first time I had a panic attack. Didn't know what it was, though I was dying. Thank god I wasn't driving. Now, I literally have to talk myself over it. "It's just a bridge, you've been across this one tons of time, you are always fine, etc." Have not had another panic attack on one, but I can feel the anxiety creeping up.

Hang in there...keep keeping calm. You have made so much progress since September, you will get through this as well.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:50 AM

10. I hate parking garages

I will walk really far in bad weather rather than park in a parking garage. I think for me it is bec. I am a little claustraphobic-
I can ride in elevators, I don't like it, but I can do it.

But something about pulling into covered parking makes me very nervous.

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