Panic Disorders/Attacks/Do you have any suggestions for this problem?
First I would like to say that I am in my late teens and in the planning for college stage. I hear that this is a very stressful time in life and that my thing (which I will get to in a minute) is normal. My parents and other people I told said it is common for my age group and that it will get better as I get older and more settled. But I don't know. I think I may have a problem that goes beyond the "normal" anxiety found in my age group.
I have this extreme "fear of the week" thing. I pick something and then worry about it on a panic level anywhere from a day to a few weeks. I don't wake up with a goal to do this, it just happens. I'll think of an issue that faces society and then blow it way out of proportion or I'll be reading or watching something and a word or an idea will trigger a panic response in me. I then get an impulse to do research on the isse that I can not resist and I do it, which results in me scaring myself further. Sometimes I stay up till 2am doing this "research."
Fears of the week are never related to me personally. It's always on a national or international level. Panic "topics" for me have included climate change, robots and automation taking all the jobs in the future, severe moral decay, the world ending in 2012, the collapse of the United States in various scenarios, an invasion by China or cyborgs, genetic engineering, AIDS and other diseases, the New World Order from conspiracy theories, society's over-reliance on technology, a society that changes so rapidly and will ultimately spell doom for itself, the collapse of social security, natural disasters, poverty, unsustainable population growth and on and on and on and ON. Do you know of something that might ruin the world and spell doom for all of mankind in the future? I have probably had a panic attack about it.
I know a lot of the above is just RIDICULOUS. I know that it's stupid to worry about extreme future scenarios because no one knows for sure what is going to happen in the future. I am only borrowing grief for myself. I know I should be spending my time preparing for my future rather than worrying about extreme most likely not gonna happen theories of the world's future. I know I should look at the positive in the world and not just obsess on the negative. The "fear of the week" is a waste of time, nerves and energy. But it's like I can't help myself - I have to complete the cycle. I have to initiate the "fear of the week," go through hours of panic and then weakly reason myself out of it, have a few days of peace, and then start all over again.
I wasn't always this way and I think I know what started my "fear of the week" condition. I went to a religious private school that held this belief about the future: "everything's going to trash. There's no hope. You all will be fighting for your lives, the end is near so fear, fear, fear." The teachers would bring this up everyday and point to events from the news to prove their points. I have always liked to be in control and I feel best when I have a plan and when I know what is going to happen, so this out of control, universal devastation my teachers were so sure of drove me nuts. I was there for the majority of my school life so this attitude was drummed into my mind pretty deeply. I didn't tell my parents until late highschool and then they ripped me out of there immediately, but the damage was done.
It has gotten better in the last year - I can resist the urge to research in some cases. I have been able to resist some of the fear topics that would repeat in the past. In the middle of a research frenzy I can sometimes remember to evaluate the validity of the source rather than just blindly read every word and panic. I have also managed to limit myself on how often I read the news. But I can't seem to totally get rid of the fear thing.
I am worried about what this fear may do (or is doing) to me. I worry about the impact it may have on my compassion, my social ability and my general ability to think and be happy. It has already made me afraid to try new ventures. It has already caused periods of depression. I have also at times reached the point of yearning to live in the past during a less complex time.
I feel that if I can just get a handle on my stress - if I can just resist the urge to start the research and thus avoid the fear of the week cycle, things would be a lot better. I think if I could learn to master and manage it, I could free from the fear of the week. Do you have any suggestions? I'm ready to move on from this.
P.S. I apologize for the length.
Where to begin. there are so many things I want to say but worry that i will ramble on.
It never ceases to amaze me just how many people out there are happy to dump there beliefs onto other people, especially children. I think it is a modern disease , whereby we are overloaded with information to the point that our brains can't cope with it any more and so dwells on the negative and pointlessness of it all. Completely blocking out all the good stuff.
In you case you have been programmed to think this way, negatively and compulsively. It is not your fault at all, It has simply became habit for you. I am similar I was brought up by a negative family, moaning was always their favorite hobby and it has been a struggle all my life not to fall back into these ways.
Let me say though, you are already on the road to recovery. why? because you realize that you have a problem and want to sort it out. This is 90% of the battle believe me. So well done and feel good about that.
At your time of life you are indeed at a cross roads which can be both very exciting and stressful at the same time. Your body is also going through lots of changes hormonally and this can add to the confusion etc. because of this , you need help and support, you cannot cope with all of this on your own. So in your case I would definitely recommned going to speak to your doctor about this and asking about being referred for some counseling. I really think for you, at this time in your life you need guidance outside of your family. It will booster your self confidence and help you to concentrate on the good things in life.
I know you may snigger or roll your eyes at this, I know I would when I was your age. But , you really are at the most exciting time of your life and you should be grabbing it with both hands. You have your whole life ahead of you, you need to have fun, learn, experience life NOW. before you have things like mortgages and family etc to have to put first. I am quite passionate about telling teenagers this, because i wasted mine and boy do i regret it.
So don't worry about how your feeling, do something positive about it by seeing your doctor and speaking to someone. yes it is normal to be stressed at this time in your life, especially if you are preparing for college etc. But what you describe is holding you back and this is not good for you, as you know. Take action. You will get through this, I did.
I have a web site about stress relief etc. take a look through it and put into action some of the advice. find some relaxation techniques, eat better, get some exercise and sleep more. Simple advice but oh boy does it really help. It makes you more able to cope with life's stresses and will aid in your recovery.
My site is
Good luck and don't forget to have some fun.
best wishes Kate