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Don’t dismiss my anxiety, Mom!

I get so anxious that I find it difficult to breathe, but my family says I’m being melodramatic. 

Keep talking to your counselor, says our elder, and find the methods that work for you.

 

Dear EWC

I am from England. I am a teenager living with both my parents and my younger sister. I have told them about my anxiety before, but they just disregard it for me being melodramatic. I find it hard to breathe sometimes, it’s like my lungs aren’t accepting any more air into them and I have to force myself to yawn to take in enough air which usually takes up to two minutes at the best of times. This, as you can tell, is very impactful on my life because I have GCSEs coming up and during tests, I have to focus on breathing for much of the duration of it. It results in me being even more stressed before because I know it will happen and I hate it when it does. I’ve been seeing a therapist for the past couple months privately at my school because they offer a really good program for people like me, and it’s for free as well which I find amazing. I get to talk out my problems and they actually listen to me. However, as much as this helps with my stress, the breathing is forever ongoing. I’ve become desperate to get rid of it during the past year. And it’s only getting worse. I know we all have our demons, but mine are especially vicious and I just want them gone. 

OmaSue replies

What a wise young woman you are! Thank you for writing to us here at Elder Circle. Listen, having any sort of illness whether it be emotional/mental/physical is usually poorly understood by others and we can’t really expect family/friends to understand. Illness can be so lonely and feel so isolating. So if you are able, try to look past your family thinking this anxiety disorder is melodrama. You have taken a big step in getting personal counseling. In reality, you are not alone in how you feel. 

A second step may be to see your personal physician to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your lungs. I believe it is very important to make sure that nothing else is contributing to this very bothersome symptom. Can you do this without your parents? Or, can you work with your school to make sure you get a proper physical exam? 

There are many ways to deal with these demons of anxiety. What is especially good is that you have recognized the symptom and sought help. There are other self-help methods to study and use. Here is a lovely article from Canada: https://www.anxietycanada.com/help-resources/cbt/self-help-cognitive-behavioural-therapy

Life, school, tests, relationships all equal uncertainty and stress. Sometimes our poor brains just can’t cope and then our bodies react. I am confident that you will learn how to better understand this anxiety and learn methods to help yourself. Keep talking to the counselor. It also may be a good thing to have a trusted friend that can help you during an acute attack. I had a girlfriend at work a few years back who also had terrible anxiety disorder. She would call me to walk her through acute episodes. Once, she was driving and panicked on the way to work. I had her pull over and give me her location. I found another employee and we both took my car to go get her. I was able to allow her to vent, breathe, and ultimately have a good day at work. So if you have a very close friend, it might be a lovely thing for you to open up and share what is going on and to reach out for occasional help. Do not ever feel ashamed by this symptom. Most likely, there is a genetic component that can’t be helped just like you cannot choose the color of your eyes. 

Here is a last helpful website; https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cbt

I am thinking of you with great hope for your success. I can tell you really want to succeed in life and I am sure you will do so!!

Best Regards,

OmaSue

Self Improvement

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