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2nd panic attack, stronger than the first one
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An_247796 posted:
The first panic attack I suffered was during undergrad after taking a chemistry midterm that i didnt do so well in. I mean I did have a passing grade, but not the grade i have anticipated.I remember after seeing score, my chest feeling extremely tight as if someone was giving me a bear hug of my life. And then I remembered carelessly crossing a busy street wishing I would get hit by a million cars. I also remember feeling like my life, hopes, and dreams were over. All these negative thoughts and feelings compelled me to make the worse decision in my life:to QUIT PHARMACY School. I then decided to get my B.S. in psychology.This degree at the time was fun, exciting, easy, and less stressful and anxiety provoking, yet after graduating I realized there was nothing out there FOR ME to do with such academic knowledge AT THE TIME. I had noticed that all of the careers I was interested in having required a masters degree. So then I decided to earn my MSW (masters of social work). So, now I am in my last year and I just had my 2nd panic attack. The panic occurred after my field instructor told me that i had to complete a difficult task in a short time frame and after he told me that I would be talking in front of people. After that decision, my chest tightened, I couldn't breathe, and I cried hard. I felt so weak and confused. I didnt understand why my body was acting this way. It was like a ton of bricks sitting on top of me taking my breath away one by one. I hated myself and questioned why couldnt i be like others who can take on those roles with no problem, why was these things a problem for me.Why can't I be who I want to be. When I had this panic attack today, it was so severe that I actually thought about QUITTING SCHOOL. Here it is my last year and I want to quit school.WTF! This is how I know its severe. I did this something once before, QUIT Pharmacy school. I just wish I had the guts, self confidence, self efficacy, or whatever it takes to do these things that I want to do, but cant do because of the panic attacks. At times, its almost a phobia. I am 29 years old and I am starting to notice that I don't speak much in large groups they way I do in small groups. I really want to know WHY ME? I would really love some help because I am contemplating Quitting school because of this and I really dont want to. Please help.
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JuiceeDamn responded:
p.s. anxiety, panic attacks, and depression run in my family. My mother was on xanax, klonpin, and ambien at one point in her life and I couldnt really understand that, I thought she was overreacting, but now that I am a full fledge adult, I beginning to show those same signs and symptoms. Also my uncle has depression but I think its situational depression that he suffers after his first son died in 2008. Also, I plan to sit with a psychiatrist, tell me what you think?
 
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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
One thing I always told my students (doctoral level) was never to make major decisions on Monday mornings or when they were particularly anxious or depressed. That's what I'm telling you now. Panic pushes us to poor decisions and you don't want to do that to yourself.

You have done the work, you have progressed in your program and now you are ready to receive your reward; your MSW degree. You will do it. This is one of many challenges you will face in life and right now you want to begin to utilize whatever itis that helps you to stop and makes good choices.

I think you would be surprised to find out how many FAMOUS people feel as you do and who have admitted that they have extreme difficulty speaking to a large group, or even a small group. Dr. Zimbardo wrote a book on shyness that talks about them and some of the most beautiful women in the world also suffer from this (he talks about them in the book, too). So, it's not uncommon, but it can be fought and you can win.

You want to achieve and the fear of failure is what is fueling your anxiety. Think of your goal and use some self-help techniques (see relaxation breathing video in our Tips column) and also let your instructor know about your difficulty. You deserve all the support and help you can get or give to yourself.

You can do this. It will be difficult, but each time you feel that anxiety coming up, breathe, stop for a few second to collect your thoughts and then go on. Keep a few small filing cards with you with bullet points when you have to speak before a large group and don't be afraid to refer to them. Ever see the President speak? He has a teleprompter and some of them carried large books with their speeches to the podium.

Don't quit school. You are almost at your goal and you can do it. Just give yourself a little relief from all the stress you're feeling.
 
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kimnegra responded:
I am so glad I found your post.

You are NOT ALONE. I feel like we share a very similar story. I have suffered from anxiety all my life but it didn't really take full force until college. I would get terrible test anxiety. Now I'm in law school, and I not only have terrible test anxiety, but I have serious panic attacks whenever I have to speak in class. No matter what I do to try and calm myself down, I still get so anxious I can barely speak. It's so debilitating, especially for being in law school. Lawyers are supposed to be master communicators and I can barely say anything without my voice trembling. I keep asking myself how I got this way, because I used to speak in front of people just fine. Law school has just killed my confidence. It has killed it so much that I am now in my last year and I feel like quitting. It's extremely hard going through this anxiety EVERYDAY.

It's comforting to know someone else feels like I do. If you feel inclined, we could chat more about our experiences. Maybe we could help each other.


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