Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Panic Attack near Posh Shops

We went to Clifton yesterday. Clifton is a THE posh suburb of Bristol with the some absolutely gorgeous Georgian and Victorian architecture, including the world's largest crescent of houses (there are 46 of them in the crescent). And, of course, the world's first suspension bridge over the impressive Avon gorge. And a lovely, large, interesting park. Want to live here? In the best streets, you can pay around £1,000,000 for a pad, and that's for a sixth-floor one bedroom apartment suitable for a non-claustrophobic, easy-to-please midget with the bathroom in the basement!!! There are also lots of hotels, posh or nouveau riche natives and rich American tourists (poor Americans go elsewhere).
Enough of the travel writing. Marie likes Clifton village very much. It has small, interesting shops full of exclusive items and super designer shops. Of course, it has shop prices to match! (Now you see why poor American tourists go elsewhere!)

I'm not that comfortable when we visit Clifton. Firstly, when I look at what those around me are wearing (...jeans £150, top £150, shoes £150, coat with leather & faux fur £600...that's over £1,000 ($2,000)! Excluding jewellery!), I feel like the poor cousin coming to visit.
Even though I have polished up my Doc Martins. Then I see Marie hovering over the designer tops and visualise my next credit card statement...ouch!!

But most of all, Marie likes Clifton village because you can park on the street outside the shops!


Well, that's if you can find a space...

We were really lucky and quickly found a parking space big enough to accommodate our car, and then Marie began to explore the shops with the purpose of buying some Christmas presents (only for special people - we couldn't afford to buy many presents here!). Marie ooohed and aaahed and said "Look Robert, isn't that really cool/nice/sweet?" at various intervals while I stood around trying to be unobtrusive. Also, hiding yawns and my bored expression took lots of concentration. In this way we spent an hour quite pleasantly.

Clifton has an unusual café/shop. It's the chocaholic's heaven. All things chocolate are sold here. Nearly everything on the menu in the café is chocolate based. For Marie it is a "must" to visit when in Clifton. We were making our way there, about 100m from the car and about 30m from the café (near the posh shops in the picture below) when Marie had a panic attack. A full-blown one - the worst I've ever witnessed her having. When the panic subsided somewhat, Marie dragged me back (literally) towards the car and, for her, safety.
In the safety of the car, we discussed the panic attack. Marie told me that it was the worst one she'd had for many years - the one she had spent the last several years trying to avoid. She had really wanted to scream, but because she was in the middle of the street, had managed to stop herself. I tried to put the positive side of this to her - she had survived the panic attack, it hadn't killed her, she had coped with it without fainting, screaming or otherwise making a complete fool of herself. I suggested that she remember this when she felt another one was a possibility. This seemed to relax Marie. She still wanted to go to the chocolate café, so I drove the car that way, hoping to find another parking space.

Again we were lucky and found another parking space closer to the chocolate café. Once there, Marie had a hefty sugar and fat fix. (How does she keep her stick-insect figure? Just looking at all that chocolate forced me to loosen my belt a notch...) This fortified her enough to continue exploring the shops.
In fact she did really well after lunch, and we managed to explore shops on five nearby streets! Big achievement for Marie and a very successful day out for her. She managed to find a few affordable, trendy gifts, so as a shopping exercise the day had been successful too. I saw an attractive stainless steel watch - a Breitling Bentley, (I had never heard of this brand before) but even though the price was only £4, 850 ($9,700) - very reasonable (lol!) - I decided to wait for another day to purchase... Yes, Clifton village is that sort of place.

Friday brings Marie's first EMDR appointment. I'm hoping this will be successful too.


Aff said...

I love reading about Marie's successes. I love reading about you two having a good time together. I love that posh shops make other people uncomfortable and nervous!

Well done Marie. I'm glad you guys had a good time. It always cheers me up when I read such news.

Robert said...

And your blog has been cheering up Marie & me too. You're doing so well! There's hope for other p/a sufferers. I hope that your life is still improving. Is relocation to the antipodean land getting closer?

MrsC♥ said...


High 5 Marie for me will you :)
(I do them a lot with Stinky...it's show him that i am VERY proud).


Coffeecup said...

I visited Clifton briefly to visit a friend in a cafe (pre anxiety days) it's lovely isn't it? I'd be lost in all that expense now, have to pretend that I was Bohemian or something to get away with my shoddy attire!

Well done Marie! Goes to show that panic does not have to spoil your day. Feeling the ure to do something highly embarrassing is just the worst, and in a place like that too. She coped admirably, well done guys! X

Coffeecup said...

Ure? Sorry that was meant to read URGE, lol x

lady thinker said...

I'm so sorry about the mega panic attack but it sounds as if maybe your reassurance about how well Marie coped with it did help her to relax and go on to enjoy the trip out after all. All's well that ends well.

That choco/cafe sounds wonderful.

Ruby said...

So sorry to hear about the full on panic attack Marie had. I am so proud of her to get straight back into the shops, thats awesome - huge step forward.

MrsC♥ said...

How did the therapy session go?


Coffeecup said...

What happened with the appointment Robert? We're all in suspense here! X

Coffeecup said...

Hello again! I've been tagged to list seven weird and random facts about myself and wondered if you are up for giving it a go too? I know it's not the flavour of things here, but we're all friends and it would be gentle way of sharing some links. You simply have to list 7 random facts about yourself, link back to me as sender, and ideally pick 7 more people to link to. It's upto you if you or Marie want to give it a go?

Hope all is well?

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tonybrookes99 said...

what a heartlifting blog....I clicked a link here from coffeecup's blog and am I glad I did!

Aimée said...

I am very proud of Marie, not just for making it through the panic attack, but for not giving up then and going home. She managed to have a really great time despite the attack and that is what its all about! Learning to control your attacks, and not letting them control you! Very good job, and I wish I could visit there someday. It sounds wonderful!