Monday, July 14, 2014

panic attack

"Let's go on a trail ride," they said.
"It's super simple, just up the road," they said.
"You will be fine," they said.
"We will be in front and behind you," they said.

So I agreed. It was hot, Shyloh was in a great mood, and I had just hopped up on her bareback in the round pen and walked around a bit. I tacked her up while Jaime, Kyle, and Terry tacked up their horses and got ready to go. I had visions in my head of us walking down the street and through the seasonal road that we were going to take. It was actually quite perfect and nice. Then, I mounted Shy and my heart started beating hard.
In the realm of All Things Scary, this has got to be the least scary thing there is, right?
Off we went. . .well, off they went. Shy wanted nothing to do with walking down the drive way. In fact, she walked me right up to the mounting post. I told them, maybe I'll just head out back instead, so they came too. Halfway down the back driveway, my head started spinning, I was hyperventilating and I had to hop down. I was having a panic attack. For no reason.
Prepare for random photos of Shy eating things. . .Low hanging branch of the mulberry tree
Shy was not being bad and Shy was not feeling tense. She was testing me and sensing my hesitation. She was not walking forward but planting herself in one spot. It's like she knew I was not mentally ready and she was protecting me from myself. 

"Get back on," they said.
"You will be fine," they said.
"Make her do what you want," they said.
"She is playing you," they said.
Clover
So I got back on. But I was a wreck. For no reason. I walked her back over the bridge then got off. I just couldn't do it. My head was spinning. I told Jaime, Kyle, and Terry to go on their trail ride and I would stay back. Once they left, I cried. I can't even remember the last time I cried.

Then I did some serious thinking. What is wrong with me? Shyloh did nothing to make me react like that. Should I sell her and get an ancient horse to ride around on? No, I think I would still be that same way on another horse. It is not Shy, it is me. It is all me. I feel if she did do something, I wouldn't be able to control or stop her. I feel that I don't have the tools I need to feel comfortable taking her out.

Then I got mad at Shy. Look at her, standing in the far corner, napping in the sun, like I didn't just have a major panic attack. I wasn't like this before her. Why did she make me this way? But, quickly getting back to reality really, it is not her fault. It is mine. 100 percent.

Is it weird that the better she is, the worse I am? Shy has given me no reason for months to even feel the way I did.
Corn. . .
I put a lot of work and time and effort into Shy on the ground. She has made some great progress on the ground. Hell, she has even relaxed under saddle. I have gotten worse.  I rode her more when she was tense and scooty than I have been while she is relaxed and in a good place in her head. I had a serious talk with Terry on the way home and I think we may have a solution. I'll keep you posted. . .
Also, Shy being super attractive. . .as usual
***And don't forget about the Guess the Breed Contest for a chance to win something from Two Horse Tack! ***

21 comments:

  1. I'm exactly like that too sometimes. Ypke will be in a perfectly good mood, but then I go and have a panic attack for no reason... it really does suck! I will be interested to hear the possible solution :)

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  2. My sister has been struggling with fear with her new horse Dante, and he hasn't given her much reason this year to be fearful at all. On a ride this weekend, he put up a fuss about going up a hill, and she handled it beautifully. Later, she told me she thought she crossed a threshold. It didn't matter how good he was, she worried about thim being bad. Once he was bad and she realized she had the skill to deal with it, her confidence got a great boost.

    When she starts to panic, she immediately dismounts so it doesn't escalate. You were smart to dismount.

    It will get better--it just takes time. My sister gets mad a frustrated with herself all the time. I think it is those feelings that makes this so tough for her.

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    1. Yes, it really is getting mad at myself that is really so self-defeating. There is no logical reason to feel panic, yet it comes on anyway.

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  3. Awwww, don't worry just take your baby steps as long as you want/need. You're doing fine.

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  4. Sometimes we have to work on our horses, and sometimes we have to work on ourselves. Take your time, you'll get there when your ready!!

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    1. The horse is ready. I seem to be sliding backwards. But I'll get there, one step forward, two steps back, right?

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  5. Nerves are funny things. They frequently appear for no logical reason whatsoever. It's also weird that, once someone has their own horse, they're far more nervous with that horse than they ever were before. You've made such high progress with Shy that I'm sure you'll get past this.
    As an off-the-wall suggestion, have you ever considered hypnotherapy? It helped one of my friends a lot years ago.

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    1. Actually, I never thought of hypnotherapy. I don't even know where I would go to get it! But an interesting idea. . .

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  6. Horses often can sense more about us than we even realize about ourselves. Which is what can make this kind of anxiety even harder to cope with. It's harder to work on ourselves than with our horses. I know exactly how you feel! And you've done such a wonderful job with your girl that I don't doubt for a second that you will be able to get through this too. Keep us posted on the solution you came up with while talking to Terry.

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    1. Thanks! I will keep you posted, whether this works or not. :)

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  7. Panic attacks are awful no matter why they are happening or where! I'm sorry you had one, but I'm glad you dismounted. Panic attacks are not caused by any rational fear and I personally think it would be totally counter productive to push through them in a situation like that (as opposed to pushing through normal fear or anxiety, panic attacks are a totally different ball game!). You were right to just say no for today. There are plenty of other days to try again. :)

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    1. I have slight anxiety most days, but I can always work through that without a second though. But this was something new to me. And I don't like it.

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    2. Yeah I have anxiety everyday, but the panic attacks have happened to me several times. It's no fun at all. Just remember that panic attacks can cause more panic attacks so don't be scared of them. Always remind yourself that they will pass and they can't hurt you. As long as you have that mentality they don't happen often and usually pass fairly quickly. The people who get so afraid of them they are scared all the time just cause them to happen more often. It's hard, but it can be done. :) Hugs!

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  8. I know that exact feeling. You're definitely not alone in that. I've been that way on Orion in the past. Ironically, I was not feeling that way the day he bucked me off, and he was fine in every other way until it happened. Since it will be 3 months between the fall and when I can finally get back on him, I'm anticipating a LOT of these feelings. :( I'm interested to hear what you've come up with!

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  9. I've owned Simon, my half-a-Haflinger for 11 years- and have been calling him my learning experience. Trust your gut feelings and if you need to take baby steps- that's what you need to do. I've just looked into EFT -which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique- which is acupuncture without the needles that you do yourself to calm down negative thoughts. Google How to do the EFT Tapping Basics- the Basic Recipe for more info.

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    1. Funny thing about the tapping, there is a relatively new form of therapy out that is similar, called EMDR. Basically, any type of bilateral stimulation (tapping on both sides of the body, eye movement. . .) has been shown to help people who have experienced trauma heal faster. I also just had an accupressure training at work. EFT sounds interesting, thanks!

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  10. Acupuncture is an excellent idea but in some cases, medication can also help. I have a friend whose horse ran out of control after being pursued by dogs. She fell off and was injured. Two years later she was still unable to ride much due to panic attacks. A mild antidepressant helped her immensely. It might be worth talking to your doctor.

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  11. I spent the first year and half, at least ~ of being scared to ride JoJo on my own... "unleashed" as we have come to call it. He's never really done anything wrong to cause me to be afraid.... He's a pony, so he'll "test" for sure.... and take advantage, but not in a mean or out of control way. I have a wonderful friend who literally "walked" us when we were not inside a round pen. (I probably owe her a pair of sneakers!) I was in control of steering him, but she "had" us on a long lead, if anything went wrong. It was a HUGE comfort to me, and really helped me to learn to be more confident. The last few months, as she has been busy with other things, I have gone out (with other horses/people, NOT alone) as I want to keep progressing... ~ and we have been doing it on our own, unleashed. I still work myself up (in my head) before we go, but once we are in the groove and riding it's o.k. ~ he's spooked (mildly) a few times, and we've even gotten thru that o.k.
    I wish you all the best horse riding vibes ~
    p.s. I am NOT a cryer.... and as my Hubby will tell you ~ I weeped uncontrollably quite often for quite a while.... knowing it was ME who was the problem, and not knowing how to fix it, and wondering if I'd made a HORRIBLE mistake to get him.
    I love him ~ and 99% of the time we have a wonderful relationship ~ and I think it's because we just did baby steps.
    P.s.s. Sorry to babble so much ~ but I really can relate to your stories.

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  12. You are definitely not alone and I can totally relate. I have suffered from a few panic attacks and tend to be a slightly anxious person even on the best of days. I hope you find a good way to work through it. Definitely nothing to feel bad about.

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  13. Somehow missed this post!!

    Anxiety is a bitch. And it does seem crazy that while things move forward with the horse, we move backward without knowing until one big moment. I've definitely been dealing with things like that with Q this summer. I turn it over and over in my head trying to figure out the how and why of it. Thinking too much really kills me.

    OKay...now back to finish your post about Reba and see where the rest of this story goes! ....

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