Experiences: Understanding Mental Illnesses 2: Anxiety Disorders

Jun 12, 2017 by Alexandra Haily

Alexandra Bezborotko-Gfrerer

Psychology 20

Mrs. Haase

June 9th, 2017

Understanding Mental Illnesses 2: Anxiety Disorders

Dear Abby,

The past couple of months I have been experiencing similar experiences to a panic attack. They are common in busy, public places. Also during important events, exams, small spaces, around new and a lot of people. I’ve started to fear having a panic attack in certain places and/or situations and that tends to cause one to occur. I am a 16 year old, female, high school student who has been suffering these attacks since the age of 12. I have no safe place at home or anyone I can trust to talk to. I am scared to tell my friends because I don’t want them to think I am crazy. I don’t want to seek professional help because I fear that I am actually crazy.

I first noticed these attacks when I was in 6th grade. I became responsible for the schools morning announcements and mc of school events/assemblies. I noticed before and during these I would uncontrollably shake and stutter my words. Everyone just thought it was nerves and so did I. The more I did them the worse it got, I started to sweat, loss of feeling in my fingers and toes, and sometimes I couldn’t even stand or even vomited before. This continued till the end of 8th grade because I was too scared to drop out because they would’ve asked for a reason. Also around the 6th grade I noticed that my tests grades were starting to get lower. I thought I was just starting to get dumb but I realized that as soon as I got the test in front of me I lose all information in my head and feel so overwhelmed so I won’t even finish the test. This still happens to this day, grade 10, final exams are the worst thing in the entire world to me. I rush through the exam so I can leave in the hour and a half because I can’t stand sitting in that room for that long I silence, with the stress of failing the class. I wish I could talk to my teachers about it but if I don’t have diagnoses they could think I’m faking it to get special treatment. But if I get diagnoses, I will be treated specially. All I want is to be normal.

I go everyday praying I don’t fall into a situation where a panic attack will occur. I’ve tried for years to stop them but when I try, they get worse. I am tired of suffering with this anxiety. I’ve lost sleep, missed important events, lost opportunities and pushed away people I loved. I know I need help but I am too scared. Can you give me some advice?

Sincerely, anonymous


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