What is wrong with me?!

by Anonymous

I used to have anxiety attacks as a kid while trying to sleep. I still have them sometimes, like when I get really stressed or worked up. I was getting my schedule changed on the first day of 9th grade this year, and my counselor told me i might not get the one class I wanted. Out of nowhere I just couldn't breathe and got all frustrated and started bawling.

Today, in art, my teacher took the paintbrush and put black in a space where I needed it for me. I was completely fine with it and started painting again, but or some reason I had a complete panic attack and couldn't breathe. My eyes teared up and I was freaking out. My teacher was like, come on, don't cry? Your doing fine. And I didn't know what to say cuz I WAS fine. I had no idea what happened. What is wrong with me??!

Dear Anonymous

I am so sorry you are having these difficulties. Many people report that when they have a panic attack they feel an overwhelming urge to cry and so my best guess is that's what is happening to you. Panic attacks cannot hurt you. Your fear of them is what makes them powerful. There is nothing wrong with you.

Many people struggle with panic and it has it's basis in our evolutionary survival. When we lived during times that we were often in physical danger , for example from a saber tooth tiger, we would have to mobilize our physical resources to fight that danger. Now, in modern day, our bodies still haven't outgrown that tendency and are sometimes tricked into believing they are in danger. There are treatments for panic that might help you , and you can look up a local therapist who may be able to do that for you.

The most important thing to remember is:

You are not crazy or going to go crazy or lose complete control
The panic can't hurt you
Being afraid of the panic is what perpetuates it

Please update us on how you are doing

Kristen McCLure

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