Anxiety is taking over my life
I'm 16 years old and I'm scared. Of what, I have no idea.
The anxiety started in around October last year. The panic attacks and depression came later. I don't know what started it, the whole thing was sudden. I remember waking up one morning and feeling like I could barely breathe. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack and that I was dying. This didn't stop for another two weeks and during that time I think I made around 4 or 5 trips to the doctor and I went home from school early twice. I was so scared, especially since I'd heard that a 15 year old boy had died from a random breathing problem just a week before.
The next two week period was better but I still had trouble breathing. The symptoms of barely being able to breathe came back for another two week after that. Ever since then, I've had a constant 'heavy' feeling in my chest. I started getting panic attacks in around February this year, and that's also when I started becoming depressed, mainly about school. I hate feeling depressed, I know there are so many other people out there that have nothing and yet they still smile, but I can't help it.
A few of my teachers started to notice me getting distressed in class (when I'd have panic attacks) and told me to go see the councilor but I only get to see her once every 2 or 3 weeks because there's other girls that need to see her and she's only in on Mondays.
Because my stress levels rise as it gets later at night, I find it really difficult to do my homework. I'm starting to fall behind in my VCE and I wish I could just leave, I hate it. If anything, I just want to be home schooled so I can get away from the people that go to my school. I feel invisible there and like I'm worthless.
I just want my old life back. I used to be so carefree and now I feel like I'm trapped in my own body.
Sorry, I know I write a lot but I really just needed to get this out.
Hi I'm Scared,
I won't pretend to be an expert on anxiety and depression, however I feel as though I can offer a bit of support because I am in a similar kind of situation. I am 16 as well and I have anxiety. I haven't had it as long as you, and I don't think I have depression, so I don't know exactly how you feel, but I do know, and can sympathise to a certain extent.
I'll talk more about the anxiety part of it, because thats what I know more about. It is difficult! Very difficult! It is great that you are seeing a school counsellor, in fact it is good that you are hanging in there and you are still going to school. If you feel as though you're not able to see the school counsellor often enough, I think you should try and make an appointment to see a counsellor/occupational therapist or psychologist outside of school. I am currently seeing an occupational therapist and I've only had 2 sessions but I think it has helped a little, I certainly feel more comfortable going out, as I have a few techniques that I could try to help me get through anxiety/panic attacks. Out of those 3 options for people to see, I'm not sure which one would be able to give you the most help, that may be something to discuss with your GP.
As for school, don't give up! I know just how hard it can be but just try your best. Don't give yourself too high expectations, just try your best. I posted something a few weeks ago and I'll share some of the advice I got. One was to see the movie "After Earth". I don't know whether you've seen it or not, but the underlying message of the movie is to control your fears and anxieties. It is a hidden message, and most people probably wouldn't have picked up on that unless they were told about it before hand or were looking for that message, but even if you have watched it, I think you should try watching it again. In one sense it won't help, because you don't have to literally run away from a monster chasing you and trying to kill you like Jaden Smith does, but you have to try and control your anxiety like he does, and while it's a movie, it shows that this is possible to achieve.
Another piece of advice I got was to see someone, which you are doing, and that is great! As I mentioned earlier, consider seeing someone outside of school as well if you think thats right.
And thirdly, you may have the option to split your VCE into 2 years. I'm not sure about that, as I'm from NSW so we do the HSC, but apparently we legally have up to 5 years to complete the HSC, so there may be something similar for you and your VCE.
I know what you're going through and so do many others. I have panic/anxiety attacks as well. For me, I get extremely bad stomach aches/cramps, headaches, dizziness and my chest tightens up big time and my heart starts thumping very hard. I find it a little harder to breathe, and even if I'm starving I won't be able to eat.
Just try not to give up. As clichy as that may sound, thats the best advice I can give. Whatever you decide you want to do with your life, just think that your future success will be even sweeter after you have overcome these problems! Just please hang in there. You seem like a very brave person to be able to come on here and share your story, so I believe in you! 🙂
I know where you are coming from, sweetie. This stuff can come from no where, you don't need something bad to happen to cause anxiety. The last reply you got bothered me for the simple fact that it is so far from that easy just to go to school, do your best and be ok. Because you're not ok, you're scared, and you're lost in a world you don't understand. It's impossible to concerntrate with all these thoughts of being affraid, of your class mates, and yourself. I am NOT going to tell you that things are going to get better soon and to keep going and hang in there, because it's not going to be easy and it's going to suck. But there is always a spark of hope. I truly believe that, though it may take a really freaking long time, that anxiety can be over come. You'll still get scared, and be worried about things, but there are coping devices that CAMHS and BB teach you to take yourself away from those thoughts and find ones that make you feel safer. Next time you're in class, and having an attack, try to think about something else, put your hand on the deck and feel that it's cold, smooth and just think about how it feels. Be mindful of things around you and notice things you wouldn't usually notice because you are stressed out about other things. Take yourself away from whats happening. It might not work instantly and you have to be open to thinking differently. All i can say to you is that, me? i can't leave the house on my own, i can't even go to woolies without getting nervous and having to leave. I know it's really scary and i know how terrifying it can get... but seriously, the best thing to do is the know that, even though i know it's hard to see in the short term, you WILL reclaim those days when you were free and happy.