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Hello. I'm a teenage girl, seventeen years old.

I know I have anxiety, so to speak, but I'm not sure if I technically have anxiety disorder or panic attacks. For the last year and a half, things have been happening to me that have never happened before in my life. I started getting physically anxious before/during doing certain things.

For example, last year, I was once with a tutor alone in his office, and I was thinking about becoming anxious and, I suddenly became extremely tense. My heart was pounding and I couldn't focus; I felt like I couldn't do anything at all, I could hardly speak to the tutor. I stood up to go to the bathroom then came back and the feelings were all still there. I couldn't wait to leave, I had to endure these symptoms for a half hour until I was finally out. I couldn't focus on the work. I think this one event may contribute to the way I feel now, nearly a year later.

Anyways, since then, I haven't comfortably driven a car without feeling tense or at unease. This sort of "panic attack" occured while I was driving a car, it was extremely terrifying because I felt so alone and was afraid my mental state would lead to an accident. This experience has stuck with me, and ever since, I have not been able to drive a car comfortably. I went through a phase where I worked through it, and drove my car far distances for hours on end without experiencing a "panic attack" (so to speak), of course I was always fearful of it in the back of my head. Then recently, I was driving and pretty on edge, and I was thinking and thinking about becoming panicked, and all of a sudden I started shaking uncontrollably, there were butterflies in my stomache and my fingers were tingling. I got very dizzy. I had to pull over in the middle of the street and call my mom crying! It was very intense; I haven't driven since.

On top of this, I was in the school show this year, and during every single one of the four performances, at some point on stage, I would randomly start thinking about such "panic attacks", and naturally, I would begin to have them. There was one horrible scene where I was onstage sitting on a bench for five minutes, and by the last two performances, while I was sitting on this bench, this uncontrolable butterflies in my stomache, shaking, fingers tingling fear came over me. I started to fidget a lot and wanted to run off the stage. Of course I couldn't because it was during a scene. It was very uncomfortable, and now, theater, something which I have loved my entire life, I don't even want to take a part in anymore!

Simple things like class presentations, which I used to do easily (because I'm a theater kid), I think about and worry over weeks in advance. Just because I don't want to have to endure the inevitable uncomfortable sensations of anticipating speaking in front of the class.

Basically, my anxiety is my own analytical mind overthinking everything; whenever I start thinking about it, I start to become anxious. Its horrible. It normally occurs in situations where I feel trapped. Thus, cars, school plays, class presentations, even one on one dinners with friends!

I don't know if this is really anxiety or not, because when I have these "panic attacks" I don't have any chest pain or shortness of breath, I just have extreme butterflies in my stomache, shaking, and (if its intense enough) my fingers start tingling and become numb.

don't know if I should consult a therapist or what. I don't really want to. I'm leaving for college next year and really worried about this situation. I don't know.

Sorry this was so long. Thanks for reading this!
It sounds like you are having a lot of anxiety come out which then would lead to a panic attack.

Panic attacks are horrifying. For the most part, you feel like you are going to die. Most people are sent to the hospital because they think they are having a heart attack. Many times its the tightening of the throat, hyperventilation and then tightness of the chest that are the common symptoms of a panic attack. Heart palpitations are another. The numbness and tingling you feel are also symptoms of not only anxiety but panic attacks as well. Once you start to think of another episode, it usually manifests into being another episode. They are scary and can lead you to think there is something else physically wrong with you.

I would definitely say you are going through a lot. You found the right place because I find a lot of help on these boards as well. I currently take medicine because of my panic attacks and anxiety. I also just had the doctor take full blood tests on me to make sure I am ok.

That means, I had a celiacs disease panel done (wheat gluten intolerance) because sometimes an underlying allergy may trigger the panic. I also have to find out if I am allergic to dairy because about a week before my episodes I started eating dairy again for the first time in years (I was vegan). I also had a full thyroid testing done (meaning not only TSH, FT3, FT4, TPO, TSI but antibody tests and others) because sometimes a problem with the thyroid gland can cause anxiety and panic attacks.

I no longer drink caffeine because I felt that would be a trigger for me as well (the day I had the panic attack I drank some really strong coffee and days prior I was taking excedrin for my migraines which has caffeine in it). I dont drink alcohol because that can be a trigger as well. I dont smoke (havent since I was your age) and stay away from sugary and refined foods.

I know it sounds like a lot. I would say talk to your GP (family doctor) about what you are feeling before going to a therapist. See if they are able to do blood work on you. You may be lacking a vitamin (B-12 is common) or something else. Most of the time it is nothing and panic attacks can seem like they come out of no where. They just target people at random even if you are having the happiest days of your life!

To tell you, I found out I was going to get the reception place for my wedding cheaper the day I had the panic attack. I was so happy and I went to work excited and then 3 hours later, Boom! I got the first anxiety issue I have ever had in my life. I was losing a real lot of weight which was concerning for the doctor (even though I had 2 full blood tests done in the hospital) so he put me on Lexapro. I am still struggling to put on the weight, but it seems as though my medication is starting to work for me. I am also starting my wheat free/dairy free diet today to rule out whether or not these are the culprits in my case.

Good luck to you and if you have any more questions feel free to ask. I know there are other people on here with stories who will be happy to help you. These boards really do help ease the mind a lot (at least I know they do in my case!). God Bless you and Ill pray for your well being =)

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