I feel paralyzed. My anxiety and pani... - Anxiety and Depre...

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I feel paralyzed. My anxiety and panic attacks are making me feel useless and think about giving up on school.

Looking4help1 profile image

I was supposed to leave for college last night, my mom and I were going to spend a few days driving from my home in Chicago to the school in Arizona. I was confident yesterday morning, had a good session with my therapist and went o lunch with some friends, but when I got home everything collapsed. I tried to calm myself down, I took my prescribed medication and started using some breathing techniques but nothing could stop it. I had wave after wave after wave of intense anxiety, full body shaking, goosebumps all over, chest tightness, shortness of breath, pretty much everything. I began to realize that maybe im not well enough to go out to school, I felt like I couldn’t handle all the change, living on my own away from my family. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to make it out there, as the anxiety would only push me deeper into the pit. I became a sobbing mess and felt utterly paralyzed. I was terrified to get in the car. I feel like this is only worsened by the fact that last year I also attempted to go away to school but to a school in Alabama. This was during a time where my dad was still severely disabled from a stroke he had 4 months prior. That stress combined with the realization the the school was a glorified community college and that it was a horrible fit for me prompted yet another massive multi day panic attack and my parents and I to decided it was best for me to take a gap year to work on my mental health and help my dad recover.

I thought I had made a ton of progress this year and I was confident I was ready but then it ambushed me and I’m doubting my ability to even fit into society.

I spoke with a therapist over the phone last night and him and my parents decided to not push it and wait until this morning to see how everything feels. The problem is it doesn’t feel any better, I slept a total of 3.5 hours last night and have been up since about three with the same panic attack.

My mom and Dad and therapist have suggested going and trying it out for a few days but I don’t even think I can do that. I’m still petrified of getting in the car or even waiting a few more days and getting on a plane to go to school. I just don’t know what to do. I’m scared that the anxiety will only continue to get worse. I just wanna stay home with my family and my dog and be comfortable. To continue to work on my anxiety but I worry that doing so will only delay the inevitable panic attack when I try to go to school again. I just wanna curl up in a ball and cry until this all blows over. I’m just in my own head too much I can’t do it.

16 Replies

Oh my gosh I know that feeling!! I started an internship on Thursday after a year of working on myself and even though the first day went well I’m having major panic attacks. I woke up at 5am just surging with anxiety. I keep doubting myself and if I can actually do this. I am terrified. I know that feeling and it’s truly awful. It’s all self doubt and terror from the unknown, not thinking you can cope.

hunter4ransom profile image
hunter4ransom in reply to

I’m sorry your struggling lynnalice. You sound so much like me. I’m switching elementary schools this year and school starts in less than 2 weeks. I’ve been at my old school 7 years and have my routine down. It’s my comfort zone, but very toxic place to work. The teacher I work under is incompetent and unkind. She stresses me out. The staff and admin are horrible and I’ve been unhappy for long time. This new school has an amazing staff, a wonderful principal and asst principal, and the teacher I’m working under is a friend of mine and...... I’m scared to death!!!! I hate change. I have a new staff, new students, new routine, new curriculum, and no longer pull students into my own room, but work with them in their regular classroom (I am a K-6 special education para).

We will pull through this. It might be uncomfortable for a bit, but we will find our comfort zone once again and do just fine. If you hang in there, I will too.


in reply to hunter4ransom

Yes anything new throws me into a tailspin of anxiety and self doubt. I’m convinced I won’t make it and I’ll self destruct before everyone. I totally understand your fear.

hunter4ransom profile image
hunter4ransom in reply to

You and I are 2 peas in a pod! That is EXACTLY how I feel. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Looking4help1 profile image
Looking4help1 in reply to

Once you get in that tailspin how do you get out of it? Even after I took my prescribed medication I wasn’t able to get out for hours. I am about 24 hours removed from when it started and I still have that pit in my stomach and occasional waves of anxiety.

in reply to Looking4help1

I’m still struggling so by no means have I mastered how to do this, but I realized today that fundamentally this is about me not being ok with myself. If I don’t feel ok with myself, if I think and tell myself that I am not enough, that I need constant reassurance from outside of me, then the anxiety takes over. If I tell myself I am enough, I am ok and truly believe that, a calmness comes over me. I think it’s good to express our feelings of inadequacy to each other so we see that we are not alone and these feelings are very very common.

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to

lynnalice, so much truth in what you say. xx

in reply to Agora1

Thank you, it’s easier said than done for sure. I’m so used to seeking outside of myself for validation

Can you go to a college closer to home?

Anxiety is a beast and not easy to overcome. You know your body, mind, and soul better than anyone else. You have to take care of you. The wonderful thing about life is that there are always other options/alternatives to what seems an impossible situation. Don’t give up on your hopes and dreams. You sound like a very intelligent person with a bright future, anxiety and all.

My daughter is a senior in high school this and looking at colleges. Some are nearby and some far. She and I both have anxiety. I need medication and therapy, she manages through exercise and meditation and my support. If she were in your shoes, I would tell her to continue her college education close to home and if/when ready, venture out a little further. It might not be the “dream” college, but still a place to get your education and continue to grow towards a career path.

There is no shame in reworking your plan to better fit your mental and emotional health needs. You can and will be successful when you feel safe, stable, and confident. Maybe going to college close to home is good starting point.

Hang in their. Trust me when I say you are not alone, you are not crazy, and you will find a path that works for you to be successful.

(((Hugs))) Eileen

Yup, I agree. Is it possible to attend an accredited school closer to home.

Don't give up the dress just modify it a bit.

Try drinking chamomile or lavender teas.

Find that something for redirecting your thoughts.

Continued Deep breaths;🦋

Which school are you going to? I live in AZ. Will you know anyone there? If not, I suggest finding a support group. Message me and I can share resources if you if you are in the Phoenix area.


Here is an important thing to know about anxiety in highly anxious people; it’s always trying to protect us. Always. And it’s always watching to see what you do in response. When we listen to anxiety’s unnecessay messages(and most of them are of course unnecessary!) and then avoid as a result, anxiety says “wow- he/she listened. I must have been right about this one. Phew! We really dodged a bullet this time!” Anxiety gains confidence this way. It pats itself on the back for protecting us, and then it cranks up the volume- after all, that’s its job- to protect us from this big, bad, scary world. And now it has confidence to do even more of that. So it starts giving us more frequent messages - don’t go here, don’t go there, don’t talk to those people... all the while, it thinks it’s doing such a good job! And meanwhile, our world starts to shrink. Suddenly we’re home all the time, afraid of anything and everything.

So what’s the answer? No one can tell you what to do- especially big life decisions! But I’ll say this- you were all ready to go to college until anxiety woke up and started kicking and screaming- and getting you to believe all of its lies. Are you going to let a little panic and anxiety stop you from living your life? It’s just anxiety. It won’t hurt any of us! We can learn to tolerate the discomfort while we Move forward with the things in life that are supposed to be uncomfortable and frightening. Going to college is scary for just about everyone! When you move forward DESPITE anxiety and panic and all the discomfort it brings,

You will find 2 things: 1) you will not miss out on amazing life experiences and growth opportunities 2) anxiety will start to shrink and fade more and more. It realizes it’s been making mistakes and it learns not to be so impulsive and twitchy! Oh it learns....

But only if we teach it!

I know how you feel, I had to retire from my job early. I wasn't ready in any way, my job was pressuring me to work longer hours than I could, I'm in my 60's in a factory where temperatures can reach in over a hundred degrees, no AC, only a fan and small swamp cooler type.

I sometimes get heat exhaustion being there. Sometimes 12 hour days and 7 day weeks. If I didn't, I'd get points against me, 8 points I'm terminated. I was 3 points away, so I left on my terms. So now I'm struggling financially having to file bankruptcy. My new medication has helped my anxiety, maybe you should change your medication? I'm using Mirtazapine and new counselor. Sometimes you have to do that? Take care, we're here for You

I have been there. You are blessed to have your parents otherwise you'd be like me and forced to face work, going outside my house. God only knows how long I'll last in society but I get you! This is the perfect place to find support

Thanks for the kind words everybody. The last few days have been really difficult. On Saturday my mom and I met with a Therapist and basically realized I needed to put school on hold for a bit longer and seek some more treatment so that when the time comes I will be able to be confident going into school and be successful. It was an incredibly hard and disappointing decision, however it is ultimately the right thing to do. In the next few days I will be contacting the school to medically withdraw from this semester and try to work out a plan with them that allows me to study there in the future and keep my scholarships. I also plan on switching therapists, possibly changing medications and looking into treatments I have not tried before.

All in all, it sucks to have to stay home, especially after I was so close to going to my dream school, but it is what I need to do to get my feet back under me and set myself up for success in the future. I know this is a treatable disorder and I am increasingly confident that with some help I will be able to kick Anxiety's ass.

Yes you will! (be able to kick anxiety's ass) just be a little careful re: kicking it's ass, because:

Anxiety is so disconnected from much of the brain. It operates on a few inputs but it doesn't really communicate well. If you are fighting anxiety (ie kicking its ass) it will simply perceive a fight. It doesn't have a clue that you are fighting IT specifically- just that there's a fight somewhere and it has to jump in and do its job of protecting you. Boom. Whoosh. Anxiety swoops in if you are fighting IT or anything!

Maybe you are just using a cliche, but do your best not to get into a fighting mindset with anxiety. It responds much better to acceptance and understanding. Be gentle with anxiety. It is so very sensitive :) Be patient with it, and kind to it. Understand that it's just doing it's job- it just needs a little guidance. When you perceive of and treat anxiety correctly, it settles down so nicely :)

This will be your year and with your positive attitude nothing will stop you :) best of luck!

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