Panic at the eye doctor

I have no idea how to explain what happened or why it happened. It’s not abuse related but I honestly have no other place to just talk about it.

I went in for my annual eye exam at my regular place today. Towards the end my doctor wanted to dilate my eyes. Now, I’ve been able to avoid this for the past several years by agreeing to come back for it later and then forgetting to do so. It wasn’t intentional, I really did forget every year.

This year the doctor suggested that I just get it done today, so I agreed. No biggie right?

Ok, so the room is darkened and he puts all the drops in and then sits my chair back up and tells me that I can’t open my eyes and that someone will be in to get me. This is where it got awful. I’m sitting in the chair and my eyes are shut but I keep hearing noises where the door to the room is. Now I know this place. I’ve been going there for years. There was no reason to be scared. But I kept thinking that I could hear someone breathing right in front of me. But, I couldn’t open my eyes because I was told not to. Oh my god, it was so awful. I got more and more frightened and I was becoming desperate to open my eyes but I was afraid that I would mess it up if I opened them too early. My ears were straining to pick out where I was hearing the sounds. I kept wanting to call out to ask if someone was there but I felt foolish. Then I became obstinate and I lifted my head and pointed it in the direction the sounds were coming from so that if someone was there they would know that I knew it. Paranoid right?

It got worse. My head was screaming for me to open my eyes but the doctor’s warning rang in my ears. Then my head started to feel funny like it wasn’t sitting on my body properly anymore. I literally couldn’t figure out where my physical head was at.

I was so scared and I just got more and more frightened because I couldn’t open my eyes. My anxiety reached epic proportions that I didn’t know was possible. I thought I was going to claw my eyes out or scream or something. It was terrible and it was worse because while all of this is happening I was confused about why I was reacting so strongly.

I had the thought that I will never be able to go through that again without my husband coming with me to be in the room. I just can’t and that sounds crazy. You’re talking to someone who has been in an MRI machine with no trouble whatsoever. If I could be encased in that thing there was no reason for me to be ready to be committed over sitting in a dark room with people right outside and the bright light of day blazing outside a few yards away.

It felt like I was there forever. Eventually I had to crack my eyes open just a slit or I really was going to scream and fall out of the chair into a blubbering heap of Crazy.

There was no one there. The door was actually mostly open and the sounds I’d heard had been the staff walking back and forth. Once I saw that little bit I was able to try to calm down.

Do you know how long it took for someone to come and get me? Just five minutes. That’s all. All of that happened in five minutes.

I don’t know what my mental deal was but I’ve been bedridden since I got home. This is the first time I’ve been up since I got back this morning.

What. The. Hell?


About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
This entry was posted in depersonalization, derealization, dissociation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Panic at the eye doctor

  1. Pandora says:

    Oh, honey, that sounds horrific 😦 I’m so sorry you had to go through it.

    I think that abuse survivors are particularly prone to this kind of thing. In a way, odd as it may sound, it reminds me of my phobia of phones. In either circumstances, you have no visual clues on which to lean in order that you may work out another’s motive(s) towards you. You have to be more on guard than ever because if they’re going to do something bad, you won’t have had the opportunity to work that out first.

    All sub-conscious, I’m pretty sure, but I think (hope?!) it makes some sense.

    It sounds like maybe this was an extreme version of that – that in the absence of your sight, you could only rely on aural clues for what was going on around you. And the mind can be such a traitor at times, meaning that it over-amplified ordinary sounds into potentially terrifying ones.

    Or maybe I’m just spouting a load of psychobabble shite – it wouldn’t be the first time 😉

    Seriously, though, I don’t think you’re going mad – though that not mean that this incident was not excruciating for you. Clearly it was, and if it’s any consolation, I’d have completely freaked out too.

    Again, so sorry 😦 Hope you will be feeling much, much better soon, lovely.

    *safe, squishy hugs*

    Take care

    Pan xxx

    • CimmarianInk says:

      It didn’t sound like psycho-babble to me Pan. 🙂 All good thoughts and they make sense. It’s actually better to hope there’s a reason behind it than me just being crazy.

      Maybe it’s that whole over-alertness thing. Being really aware of possible danger at all times and having to sit with my back protected etc.

      Thanks for the squishy hugs 😀

  2. Broken Girl says:

    That would have freaked me out too. I freak out internally like that all the time, so don’t feel like a weirdo. You couldn’t open your eyes and you probably felt really vulnerable. It might not make sense to the rational adult part of you, but I think it goes back to the feeling memories you talked about with your therapist.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Also an interesting thought. I told my husband about it and he suggested telling my therapist what happened. It’s so hard to know if panic has deeper meaning or it just happens you know?

      At least I’m not a weirdo 😉

  3. Alice says:

    I hope you’re feeling ok after all that, take care.

  4. That sounds scary. So sorry that happened to you. It must of felt like hours sitting there, I know how that goes. Why does everything seem to slow down when we’re in panic? Actually, I bet our minds are racing so much faster than usual we have that many more thoughts zooming through. It must of been horrible to feel so trapped like that. I hope you were able to relax and do some nice soothing things for yourself afterward.
    Is it possible someone inside was triggered?
    Take care,

    • CimmarianInk says:

      That’s true. Panic does seem to make time seem completely off in a bad way. It just draws everything out.

      Good question about the trigger. I have no idea honestly. I’m not good at internal communication which is too bad on many levels.

      Thanks IP, you take care too.

  5. Freasha1964 says:

    I am sorry that you had this terrifying experience. You aren’t crazy. Far from it.

    A few years back I was in a women’s group. It was mildly therapeutic in nature. One of the leaders was trained in Hakomi and she tried to do some Hakomi exercises with us. A couple of the women who had been abused got triggered when we closed our eyes to listen to the guidance from the leader. So, I have heard of this before. I suspect it is common for abuse survivors to get triggered if they have to close their eyes for an extended time.

  6. castorgirl says:

    Hi CI,

    Wow, this sounds awful!

    Having to close your eyes can be a huge trigger in itself – especially if your in an unfamiliar environment where you feel the need to be hypervigilant. I can’t even close my eyes for meditation when I’m in my house by myself with all the doors locked!

    Then, there’s the fact that closing your eyes heightens your other senses… so you would have been hyper alert with your hearing and trying desperately to sense where things were around you… That can be disorientating and increase any sense of panic that was there to begin with.

    I avoid dentists and optometrists for this type of reason… I just can’t do it.

    It’s easy after the fact to remind you to do breathing exercises and other coping mechanisms to help ease the panic… harder to do it in the middle of the event.

    Take care of yourself,

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hey CG,

      You hit on every part that made it scary. It’s funny isn’t it how you can be in a situation and all the coping techniques go out the window?

      I think I was so wrapped up in trying to figure out why I was freaking out, that I never got around to thinking about how to deal with it.

      I will never do that again without someone with me! I don’t blame you for avoiding those situations like the plague!

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