I have had severe anxiety since I was 11. It wasn’t diagnosed officially until I was sixteen, and got given medication for it just after my seventeenth birthday. The only reason I was approved for medication was because my anxiety was affecting my concentration in school; not because it was cripplingly debilitating and limited my ability to function as a human being.
“According to the DSM 5, a panic attack is characterized by four or more of the following symptoms:
- heart palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- excessive sweating
- trembling or shaking
- sensations of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or smothering
- feeling of choking
- chest pain or discomfort
- nausea or abdominal distress
- feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
- fear of losing control or going crazy
- fear of dying
- numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesias)
- Chills or hot flushes
- (list taken from https://www.verywell.com/anxiety-attacks-versus-panic-attacks-2584396)
I started thinking about this this morning because of the incident that happened yesterday. I arrived about two minutes late to school because I had to turn around and go home since I forgot to take my anxiety medicine. We had a substitute in my first class of the day so I decided to play it safe and go to the student center and get a late pass. Instead I got sent to the op room, which I guess is the equivalent to a detention during class.
I’ve always had a huge problem with getting in trouble, always. So instead of going to the op room I ended up shut in one of the bathrooms trying to work through a mild panic attack.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve had an anxiety induced meltdown whilst at school, but it is the first time I’ve been able to think about it and understand it afterwards. Which means that this is the first time I’ve realised the problem I have with getting into trouble.
Understanding what sets off an attack can be helpful in avoiding them all together. Some attacks are just random. For me I occasionally wake up and just feel slightly sick and twitchy, and at some point that day or in the next day or two an attack comes and I just have to deal with it. All I know of that sets me off is getting in trouble, being at a hospital, or being in places I associate with negative memories/experiences etc. I imagine that that is the basis of most peoples anxiety ‘triggers’ (I hate that word).
All this is well and good but I really don’t know where to go from here. I can’t avoid being in hospitals, I can’t avoid passing my old high schools, and I can’t avoid the times it just happens. Nobody can, even with medication. So the question that then comes up is where to from here? What can you do?
Anxiety isn’t really one of those illnesses that make you feel alone, at least in my experience. (especially since people like to say “this gave me anxiety”. The word you’re looking for is anxious. This made me anxious). So no comfort can be derived from knowing that other people have it. So what the fuck.
There isn’t a point to this post at all, it’s just my personal musings on the subject because it’s bothering me since yesterday morning.