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MandoMarbles February 12th 2017 07:53 PM

Anxiety Support
A few months ago I started having panic attacks. I would sit in my room, sometimes for hours, crying and terrified. I felt like I couldn't breathe and I was shaking. I became depressed. During my panic attacks would would feel like I was going crazy and sometimes I would even think about killing myself. After a few weeks I finally talked to my mom about it. She said she would help me, but she never did. I ended up having to work through it myself. While my friends were supportive of me, they've never gone through anxiety and just don't understand. Then my mom began telling me that I wasn't having "real" panic attacks and my dad insisted that I should just "suck it up" and "stop acting like a three year old". But I began to do things to prevent my anxiety. I brought a stuffed whale with me wherever I went. I wrote out my feelings through the form of stories whenever I was upset. And I seemingly got better. But, I had another panic attack earlier (in front of everyone at church too) and I don't know what to do. I feel overwhelmed. My parents won't help me, and my friends just don't understand. What should I do?

Celyn February 13th 2017 01:39 PM

Re: Anxiety Support
Hey there (and welcome to TeenHelp!)

I'm sorry to hear that you have anxiety and panic attacks- they aren't nice to deal with at all! It also must be difficult when you feel you don't get much support either.

Firstly, it's okay to have a panic attack and cry. I know it's a horrible feeling, but it can't hurt you and it will pass. There's also nothing to be ashamed of either, even though panic attacks may make you feel crazy, you aren't.

I'm wondering how you cope with your panic attacks? What did you do during the times you had to work through them yourself? Something that can help some people is breathing exercises- such as taking a deep breath from your abdomen in for three seconds and out for three seconds, until you feel calmer. Other things can involve gently moving around your environment and noticing things- what can you touch, hear, smell, see etc. I find that just sitting with a panic attack, acknowledging that you are having a panic attack and drinking a cool drink can help to calm down (the opposite of focusing on the panic causing more worry which can feed the panic attack).

It sounds like you've found some creative solutions for preventing panic attacks like carrying your stuffed whale and writing stories- they are great coping methods!

I'm really glad that you were brave enough to open up to your friends and family, even if you didn't get helpful responses. It can be difficult for people who haven't gone through anxiety themselves, to really understand how you are feeling. Though it sounds like your friends can be supportive, so perhaps you can let them know how you feel when you panic, and things that they can do that might help, or things that they should avoid doing?

I'm saddened to hear your mom and dad's reactions to your anxiety. They may also not know what anxiety is like and sometimes when people don't understand things they may try to dismiss it, especially if they don't know what they can do to help. Do you think it's worth trying to talk to them in general about anxiety, perhaps print off some information about anxiety and show it to them?

I'm wondering if there are other people in your life that you can talk to....perhaps another relative or someone at Church? Also, does your school have a counsellor? Counsellors can be really helpful in helping to treat and manage anxiety, as well as just being around to talk to about anything that bothers you. It may be worth looking into counselling, either from school or through a referral with the doctors.

Hope this helps a little :)

MandoMarbles February 16th 2017 11:40 PM

Re: Anxiety Support
Hey! Sorry I took so long to reply.

Anyway, to answer your question, during my actual panic attacks I have several things that help me calm down. There is this really comfy chair in my room that I usually sit in. And, even though I'm usually sweating/super hot, I like wearing sweat jackets. They're just so comforting. I have one that's really soft as has the logo of my favorite rescue team on it, so there's just something special about it. And I listen to music. Lots of music. Ever since I started panic attacks I've noticed that I've really started to love music. It's so relaxing and just helps me to drown out the screaming/fighting/noise/insanity of my household. I also like to sit at my laptop and write/read/watch Netflix. It helps me take my mind off things. Just, it becomes a problem when I'm somewhere public and I have nowhere to go.

I've talked with a woman at my church and she's quite supportive. Unfortunately, I only see her on Sundays and she doesn't have much personal experience. As for my school, I homeschool, so not really. Speaking of which, being at home all the time is one of the things that has contributed to my anxiety. I'm around my family all the time, and it's nowhere near quiet. My little brothers (all five of them) are screaming and fighting all the time. And, recently, my mom and dad have banned the use of my laptop in my room most of the day, meaning that I have to do all my schoolwork, writing, editing, etc downstairs and in the view of everyone. It's so loud and wild and crazy, and I have no privacy anymore. Ugh.

And, my mom has experience with anxiety. She has occasional (like once or twice a year) panic attacks over sickness, but she thinks that she's an expert on this kind of stuff. When I started getting them, I thought she would actually get it. But I guess I was wrong... she just doesn't take me seriously most of the time.

Celyn February 19th 2017 07:52 PM

Re: Anxiety Support
No worries!

It sounds like you have come up with some very good coping techniques to help calm you down and keep you grounded during a panic attack. Sweat jackets are definitely comforting, even if the anxiety makes you feel warm. Music and Netflix are great distractions too, though I understand it can be difficult when you are out in public. Something that my counsellor recommended to me was to play games in my mind like finding things beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet when I'm out as this distracts me from feeling self-conscious and focuses my feelings elsewhere rather than on panic.

I'm glad to hear that you have spoken to a lovely woman at Church who is supportive, even if she doesn't have much personal experience. It's nice just knowing she's there for you anyway. I'm sorry to hear the chaos at home, especially if you are home schooled. I'm wondering if there are any libraries, cafes or parks that you could go to and work instead, or if your parents would let you do that? It's unfair for you to do school work in a noisy environment, so it may be worth talking to your parents about this. Also, perhaps you can do some research and see if there are any anxiety support groups or charities in your area and see if they can provide counselling or some form of support to you?

I do understand you approaching your mom, especially if she has had panic attacks before. I'm sorry she wasn't helpful and it can definitely be devastating to find you haven't got her support. I'm wondering if your mom has her anxiety under control? I find that when people struggle with things, they may be reluctant to help others struggling with the same thing because they may feel they do not know how to help. Perhaps you can share with each other your coping techniques for when you feel anxious? It can be a start to trying to get your mom to be more supportive.

MandoMarbles February 25th 2017 02:29 AM

Re: Anxiety Support
There is a library down the street that's really nice. Maybe I can convince my mom to let me do some of my school there every now and then.
I tried talking with her again, and I get to work in my room more (but I have to keep the door open) and it's a lot quieter.
And I never thought of mind games before. That's a really neat idea! I've also picked up drawing again recently and I'll start bringing my sketch pad everywhere. It's small enough to fit in my purse. Just, I have to remember not to stab myself with pencils. Funny story, I was at the airport once and I reached into my purse to get something (my phone I think) and I stabbed my finger with a pencil. So my dad went to grab me a tissue or something and I stabbed myself again. That's when we decided to put all the pencils face down in my bag. ��
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Thank you so much!! I feel a lot better now that I've gotten that off my chest. I'm gonna try a bunch of the things you suggested. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Always * February 26th 2017 05:19 PM

Re: Anxiety Support
Hey, so I see a lot has already been covered, so I won't reiterate it; it sound like you have some good self care stuff going on and I hope you will continue to do things that make you feel good (exercise is a really good mood booster too fyi!) and hopefully that'll help.

If not, I would suggest researching therapists in your area. Your mom said she was willing to help, but sometimes parents don't follow through the way you think they will and it can be really helpful to tell them what you need from them like "mom, when I have a panic attack, can you do this" or, going back to my other suggestion "mom, i need a therapist, I did the research and think that this person or this person would be a good fit for me". Your mom might be overwhelmed with her own stuff and unsure of what you need, so I think that being clear this way could help. Also, therapy is awesome.

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