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Keep calm and don’t panic

Monday, May 5, 2014

Exams are just around the corner, and I know the stress that brings to many students. What no one ever seems to talk about are those students who actually suffer panic attacks while studying for or taking an exam. I know they happen, and I know that many students will suffer in silence. My hope is that more students will recognise the symptoms of a panic attack, admit to them and seek help from their parents, teachers or doctors.


No one should suffer in silence. Everyone should know that there is a way to deal with them and lessen their impact. If you’ve never suffered from a panic attack, count yourself lucky. If you have had one, you know that it feels like a heart attack. I can vouch for that. The first time I had a panic attack, I was walking down the hall at school. I felt nothing out of the ordinary: no stress, no fear. I had no problem I was aware of, and then suddenly it hit me like a shovel slammed against my chest.  


Here’s what a panic attack feels like: You can’t talk. You’re lightheaded, faint. There’s intense fear—usually of suffocating or dying. You feel like someone is holding a pillow over your face or punching you in the chest. Expect heart palpitations. There’s nausea, numbness or tingling, hot or cold flashes, shortness of breath, dizziness and a strange, horrific feeling of being disconnected from yourself. Worst of all is the feeling that you have totally lost control of yourself.