I would be calm for periods and then become hyper-aware of my heartbeat and breathing. My first panic attack happened in May I just remained hydrated fighting the headaches that come with not eating. I thought I was coming down with something, a stomach bug perhaps. The build-up of a lack of sleep, stress, and low self-esteem had finally manifested itself into a panic attack that lasted for over 24 hours.
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It happened in class. The pit in my stomach continued to grow and grow. I left the room to get water.
When panic attacks - Counseling Today
I felt the urge to run as fast as I could, to sprint, to scream, to cry, to hide, to burst. I could feel my heartbeat down to my toes. Harsh salt. I felt like I had retreated to being a 5-year old, crying and scared, searching for something, anything to hold onto as my body was shaking. I went home. I crawled into bed and still was crying. I had a violin performance in a few hours and had to muster the strength to make it.
I was visibly shaking the entire time, and it almost felt natural, as if there was no other option.
My body involuntarily shook the whole night as I tried to sleep. I was squeezing my eyes shut, trying to focus on an image to distract myself. The image was the ocean. I wanted to feel like I was floating, and the water was blanketing my body. I wanted to be an ocean because of how strong the sea is.
I wanted that strength to fight whatever anxiety was trying to do to me. The following days were me with red-ringed eyes at school. My state was my situation. If I had to go into a bathroom stall for toilet paper to wipe my eyes, no one had to know why that was the case.
How to Spot and Treat Anxiety in Children
I started to not wanting to leave my house. I was afraid to. Home was a safety net. I felt incredibly vulnerable outside, in public. What if another attack happened in the car or a store? There was a lot of pressure to succeed and do the best that I could. Holloway said that her anxiety also developed as the strain of AP and honors courses, coupled with fear for the future, became overwhelming.
That all just contributed and made it worse. As the number of students like Holloway and Marinelli grow, school nurses and counselors across the country have seen more cases of panic attacks, headaches, and stomachaches come through their offices each year. Cindy Zellefrow, a nurse at South-Western City Schools in Grove City, Ohio, has not only seen the number of these cases multiply, but said their severity has increased as well.
While Zellefrow said she usually sees three to five suicidal kids each year, during the school year she said she treated 12 students whose anxiety was causing suicidal thoughts. Lutz, a counselor of 12 years, said that with the rising prevalence of anxiety, she has had to become more knowledgeable about the illness and more connected to resources that can aid students and families.
Sevier agreed that constant education is key. I want to bring as much knowledge and expertise to my students and their families as I can.
Bradley similarly attends various workshops and conventions to combat changes. Devin Dinkel, meeting planner for the National Association of School Nurses NASN , organizes an annual nationwide conference to keep school nurses, like Zellefrow, continually educated on rising health issues.
After arranging the conference for four years, Dinkel said she has started hosting more talks on mental illness, and has noticed more requests from attendees to address the topic. Through these conferences, conventions, and workshops, Zellefrow said she learned how to help students calm their bodies when feeing anxious and how to teach students to recognize their symptoms so they can soothe themselves before having a full-on panic attack.
She said these resources also helped her create a safe atmosphere for students to get help. Finally, they taught her the importance of distinguishing the physical symptoms of anxiety—such as chest pain, quickened heartbeat, and difficulty breathing—from more serious heart conditions, so as not to overlook dangerous medical issues. School counselors stay in a constant state of learning, so you take the changes in stride. Bradley added that his job has not become necessarily harder, just that he has to manage his time better today than he has in the past.
Lee shares a story about his student, Mark, who is typically in a great mood. Mark loved math and the class was going to participate in a game of math bingo, which he usually was excited about. Mark would always ask if he could pass out the pencils before the game because he liked having the chance to get out of his seat and move around. However, this particular day, Mr. Lee received a very different reaction when he asked Mark if he wanted to pass out the pencils to the class. Mark jumped out of his seat and strewn his desk contents on the floor. Lee was shocked and had no idea what had gone wrong.
This is a perfect example showing why it is so important for teachers to receive training that will allow them to identify students with anxiety and depression and to be equipped to handle such situations. Anxiety and depression are complex disorders and how they affect people depends on many variables. One minute a student could seem fine and the next they may experience and outburst or panic attack.
Teachers and staff need training to be able to properly handle these unexpected occurrences.
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Disorders like anxiety and depression are constantly being researched and new breakthroughs are being made every year. While scientists and doctors continue to explore this, there is evidence that suggests depression could be a combination of both nature and nurture. On the other hand, a number of variables can lead to an anxiety disorder.
When panic attacks
An anxiety disorder may be prevalent if the following occur:. Since there are different kinds of anxiety, teachers should be trained to understand how to work effectively with each one. Common types of anxiety disorders are separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, OCD, panic disorder and PTSD. Even factors like what you are eating can impact stress, anxiety and depression. It is extremely important for students to eat healthy meals regularly and pay attention to the ingredients in their food.
Research has proven time and time again that what you eat affects your mood. Different food can even change the chemical balance of the body. For example, Tryptophan is found in poultry, oil-rich fish, beans, baked potatoes, oats, nuts and seeds and it aids in serotonin production, which helps regulate mood. The longer anxiety and depression go without treatment, the higher risk students face of a worsening condition, academic disengagement and a steep decrease in academic performance.
Students who have these disorders are at risk of suffering from poor academic performance and resistance to anything school-related. This can include lack of engagement in the classroom, poor relationships with peers and teachers, and disinterest in pursuing passions and planning for the future.