Panic Disorders/Attacks/Anxiety and school


Hello Ms. Little. I am a 28 year old woman who has recently returned to school, trying to improve the quality of my life. I have been diagnosed with a number of learning and mental disabilities, but sadly it seems there is little support and help for someone without insurance and the means to get it. So I press on regardless. I have to maintain a certain grade in order to pass my classes, I am only taking 4 this semester. Now I expected it... but I didn't expect to be given such little breathing room for it. I have to maintain a B grade. I am not a A or a B student and barely made C's because I struggled with school all my life. Luckily, I have straight A's from the first 2 weeks.

But I find myself in a constant state of panic and uneasiness. One of my grades dropped a little because I had some stuff incorrect on a homework assignment. The grade drop a whole letter!! I asked my teacher and she said I only got 3 things wrong, and because its so fresh in the semester, so there are not many points to take away. But I was sent into a horrible panic attack over it and I have been in such ever since. I want to enjoy my time in school... not freak out and worry over everything... that's one reason I was reluctant to go back. I knew I'd struggle and have a horrible time with my anxiety... but this is ridiculous. I am even considering quitting though I do not want to because I feel extremely overwhelmed. I cry every night now because I'm worried I will not pass.

Everyone tells me just do my best, sign up for extra credit when it's given, but I know it won't be enough. I don't expect myself to get straight A's... but there is such a small breathing space, I feel I have to in order to pass. I've been doing my very best, putting all my effort into it, been losing sleep and weight as a result, but I still feel my Grades show my effort(or lack there of) and people will judge me just on the grade instead of the exertion I've been putting myself through. It's always been that way in my life. No matter how hard I tried, if I got a D or a F, everyone assumed I just flaked out instead of running into such a problem with the class and could not get help to better understand.

I am enrolled in the disability center at the school, but I feel I can't rely on them to help make this transition a little easier on me. I had a full blown panic attack just over Financial Aid when I met with my case manager, so she knows I am in bad shape. But I feel like just a number, and no one will really help...I've gotten this treatment many times.

I want to do good, enjoy my time so I can look back and say I fully did not regret it and look back with anxiousness again and go "it was really rough and I would never do it again!" I hate being myself because I have such a hard time with this stuff...

any advice?

Hello C,
I always try to remind people that I am not a doctor BUT, I can give you my opinion. Here it is:
First of all, let us talk about when you were going through 1st through 12th grade. Do you remember the struggle you had with that? Do you remember how your self esteem was low because of it, not quite making the grade like most of the other kids? Do you remember thinking you were just "different" from the other kids? Not really normal feeling? Were you shy and bashful????
If you answered YES to some or all of these questions then you should know that people like US that struggle with Panic attacks just can not take extra pressure like other people can.
I totally understand that you want to go back to school. I totally get that. BUT, you can NOT push yourself by taking to many classes and stressing yourself out.
I would guess that what will happen is, you will get totally overloaded and not finish any of the classes.
You MUST take it slow and not worry about accomplishing  too much, too quick just to make someone else proud of you :(
The best thing you can do for yourself is SLOW down. Pick out maybe 2 classes that you want to take.... Maybe even one class for now.
AND....if school gets to be too much on you along with your life then, do not beat yourself up for not going. I am NOT saying to quit! You sound like a very good person and you are trying to better your life... That is awesome that you are motivated like that. If you are not taking a medication then, ask the doctor for something that may help you to feel better and not be so nervous all of the time.
Ask yourself this also! What is it that you are trying to accomplish? Are the subjects you are taking REALLY going to further your career or, are you just trying to prove to yourself that you can do this?
Usually panic attacks are brought on by too much stress in our lives. If we bite off more than we can chew, so to speak.... we can set our-self up for failure... Then we say "I just can not do anything right" :(  Then, that can lead to depression, etc.
My suggestion to you is this... REALLY think about the school thing and if you can fix it where you can really handle it without all of this anxiety and panic.
If you can... then go for it!
BUT, if you can not, then you may want to take a class on something that you REALLY enjoy... Something you feel that you may already be good at.
An example is... I did awful in school. I had panic attacks and constant anxiety. They knew NOTHING about it back then. You just simply went through hell. Somehow...I managed to get through 12th grade. I found out as time went on that I was real good in sales. Sooo, that is what I did and, made WAY better money than all 3 of my sister's did working hard full time jobs.
They were blown away at the money I brought in and I would tease them and tell them "Mama didn't raise no fool"...LOL
It is very hard for me to answer questions on here sometimes because, I really have a very small amount of information to go on. I do hope however, that I have helped you to look at things in a different perspective.
Remember...doing what you enjoy will benefit you way more than trying to push yourself into something that may burn you out.I am here if you need me.
Much Love!

Panic Disorders/Attacks

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I am not a doctor. I have however been on this site since 2008 and have answered many questions and helped a lot of people. You are welcome to check my stats. I love to know how you are getting along in months to come after talking with you. I do Care. I answer many questions about panic attacks from living experiences. I believe that I can save some other person from symptoms that I have been through myself. Having someone to talk to about this terrorizing experience always helps. Someone that has been through it and understands! You may ask me anything related to this subject, no matter how awkward you feel. There is nothing funny about anxiety or panic attacks and you will understand a little more about those feelings and, I will give you ways to get it under control.


I have suffered with panic attacks for the over 45 years. I have overcome many obstacles in regards to panic disorder and can answer many questions of how I overcame them. There is nothing you can ask me that I will not understand.

High school, Real Estate professional, School of hard knocks :)

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