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Panic Attacks are coming back and I need advice
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Cyerralea posted:
Hi guys,
As you know I was diagnosed with OCD and Anxiety last summer. I
am still on Sertraline at 200mg and during panic attacks I take .5mg of
Clonazepam. This week has been pretty bad. I am a college student
and I went to the career services on campus to get some info. She
was explaining to me about the different events for people in the
animal science major like me. In my mind I was thinking "oh, this is
not what I want to do." Then all of a sudden I began to cry uncontroll-
ably. I tried to hold it in but it came so quickly and unexpected there was nothing I could do. She huged me and comforted me. I couldn't stop crying so I eventually left and went home. The previous day I was ten minutes late for class. As I was walking to class, I was think-
ing "Why am I always late, I have to get it together." Then it turned
into "I can't do nothing right, I lose money all the time, I spend too
much money all the time, can't control my dog (chihuahua), barely passing my classes, can't handle taking a math class without almost crapping in ur pants." I completely broke down and cried as I was walking. I managed to compose myself a little before
I got to class. Professor asked whats wrong and I told him I got
pulled over by the cops. I was okay after that. I usually carry around
Clonazepam with me but not on those two days. I also want to change my major to Art Application/Visual Arts with a minor in business, but mom says "no, you are going to be a doctor." I drop all of my math and Chemistry courses before the deadline because my grades were
already rather low. She says "you can be whatever you want to be" but why won't you let me focus on my strengths and make a career out of
that. I am very artistic and I love to draw, sketch, and paint. I would
love to make clothes or get into the fashion industry somehow, but she thinks I will be making the biggest mistake of my life! She is the one who encouraged me to get help for my OCD and anxiety, now when I start stating my own opinions and likes and dislikes, she doesn't like it.
I don't know what to do...I might just change my major and not even tell her, its not like she ever see's my grades or school records.
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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
It sounds like things have been pretty rough for you in school and, unfortunately, your mother does not understand that although she may wish you to be a doctor, that may not be where your interests or your talents lie. A young woman I once heard of had parents who decided she was going to be an attorney. They refused to pay for any kind of schooling other than law school, so she went, hated every moment of it and when she finished, she refused to be a lawyer.

What she did then was decide that she wanted a different career and she went for a Masters degree in business. It suited her just fine and she was quite happy. Her parents eventually did realize that although they wanted only the best for her, their pushing her into a career was not the solution.

Perhaps what's happening to you is that you are under a lot of stress because of your mother's aspirations, not your's. If you're not really good at math and chemistry and really are not interested in becoming a doctor, wouldn't this be a foolish pursuit? College takes a lot of time, effort and a great deal of money and if all of that doesn't result in your having a career which matches well with your skills and interests, what is it worth?

I don't know if you are currently in therapy, but I don't think that medication alone is going to be the solution for you. If you are in therapy, perhaps you and your mother can have some sessions together so that she can come to realize where the problems lie.

Choosing a career is not always easy because, unless we have some experience in that particular area, we really don't know what the career will be like once we have finished our studies. I hope that you have managed to get some experience in either design or fashion so that you can see if it will truly match well with your idea of what it might be.

It sounds like your mother is trying to encourage you to do your best and to do well in life, but everyone needs to understand there are limits and your mother is really not listening to you. When she says, "You can be whatever you want to be," is she listening when you say what you want to be? You've told her you don't want to be a doctor because it's not where your skills and interests lie. Yes, perhaps you can be what you want to be but it must be in an area of interest to you.

I hope things get better for you and that the coming term is not so stressful. As I said, I think that therapy would be a good idea and several sessions with your mother might be helpful.