Explaining Panic Attacks to school counselors/teachers (?)

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NoVaMom
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/11/2007 7:07 AM (GMT -7)   

 

My son has had severe panic attacks for a few years now. Last year, we found a school that is a good fit for him (about 100 students / 5 or 6 per class).  Teachers love him, he got along with everyone, made friends, etc. and he was doing his work and making A’s and B’s,

Despite all that, the Panic Attacks came back around December. He always has some anxiety (like most PA suffers do, I think) and tries to function normally.

 

I can’t seem to get people to understand the difference; the physical things that happen that, at that moment, you can’t control (the heart pounding, throat closing, sever back pain or stomach pain, nausea, etc.). All those symptoms that have caused so many people to end up in the emergency room thinking they were having a heart attack and going to die.

 

 I hate the things that teachers and counselors say in an attempt to (be helpful?). For example, I just received his (Individual Education Plan) in the mail that I need to sign and return, it states, in part: “Johnny needs to find a way to face and overcome his fears if he is to function successfully in society”.  NO ****!!

That just made me think he’s going to get a bunch of lectures when he goes back.

“You know it’s really important for you to be here everyday”, etc.

 

I’m trying to think of a what to say that would cause a light bulb to go off  in there heads so they will stop thinking he’s just not trying hard enough or he’s lazy and doesn’t want to go.  

(I read something that did it for me but I can’t remember what).

 

Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying there’s nothing that can be done to help.

We’re doing everything possible. He’s on medication (the 4th or 5th attempt at finding what will work for him) and has had 5 or 6 biofeedback sessions.  

 

I just hate the attitude people have about Panic Disorder and him.

 

He first tried Paxil and Zanax which did absolutely nothing. When I told the truancy officer this, her response was, “Well, he should be back in school then. Lots of kids are taking Zanax and now they’re fine”.

 

Any ideas?  


Danxiety
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 322
   Posted 8/11/2007 10:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow, i wish i could help or lend some advice. I really feel bad for your son. I think you're a great mom though and thanks for posting, i hope someone here has some good advice to share.

best of luck to both you and your son.
Dan
---
Anxiety and Panic Disorder.

"Breathe! You Are Alive"
- Thich Nhat Hanh


freezinginAK
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1052
   Posted 8/11/2007 1:36 PM (GMT -7)   

  Hi NoVaMom and wecome to HW

 It sounds like you are doing the best you can with your son and they are the one's that need to be ed. on this problem as this is a medical condistion, I know that my doc asked me if he could come down to the shop I worked at and see what I was dealing with when I frist came down with A/P. I know it's just a thought but maybe your son's doctor maybe willing to do this and sit down with the teachers and counselors to help them understand what A/P is really like for him.

  Cowboy up


   Forum Moderator A/P
 
  Happiness is sitting around a warm campfire with no worries or cares as day turns to night.
 
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Danxiety
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 322
   Posted 8/11/2007 1:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow, thats amazing advice. I never thought about something like that. Great suggestion! Wouldnt it be great if there were mental heath consultants that went around to schools and business and educated people about this type of stuff. How to detect symptoms, how to deal with someone in crisis, etc. Knowledge is power. It would be awesome if people knew more about this stuff, because there are so many kids and adults with issues that just keep getting worse because they dont know where to go or what to do. Or when, let say a minor, needs the proper guidance and help they often get shoved into the corner and their feelings are not regarded as serious. Thats not to say there arent wonderful people out there that understand this stuff, but there are a lot of uneducated people out there.

Anyway, great suggestion! Sorry for my rant. Best of luck to you and your son!
Dan
---
Anxiety and Panic Disorder.

"Breathe! You Are Alive"
- Thich Nhat Hanh


Sarita
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 8/11/2007 1:52 PM (GMT -7)   
As a former case manager for tons of kids with emotional disorders, I think the most effective way to get through to the teachers is to invite your child's individual counselor and perhaps psychiatrist to attend the next IEP meeting.  Does your child receive any services from a local non-profit program (i.e., does he have a case manager)?  If you are on Medicaid, for instance, you should be able to find a suitable program for him with a DSM-IV Axis I diagnosis of panic disorder.  The case manager can help you advocate for him at IEP meetings with teachers.  I would also involve the principal of the school.

Co-moderator - IBS Forum


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/11/2007 3:11 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi

This is Kitt and Welcome to Healing Well and the A & P forum.  Sarita has offered the same advice I was thinking. She is wise. I would suggest that meeting with these people would help both the counselers and you to have a chance to understand each other.  IMO you are a wonderful Mother and advocating for your child is admirable.

We are here to support and and listen to you, so please keep posting.


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
******www.healingwell.com/donate******
_____________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

 


debaser
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 8/12/2007 10:50 AM (GMT -7)   
People are IDIOTS. That letter they sent is just so insulting. If I had a kid and a letter was sent like that I'd be down at that school in five minutes just tearing into them (verbally). Educators need to be familiar with all this stuff. It's recognized as a disability under ADA, which is the first thing you should bring to their attention. The HIPA laws these days might make it difficult to have your doctor talk to the people at the school (if you're in the US), but certainly there's some paperwork you can sign to authorize it.

These people should have educated themselves, but since they haven't, I guess it's up to you and your kid's doctor to do their work for them.
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorder
anxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/


NoVaMom
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/12/2007 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all the feedback! I wasn't expecting so much! Dan, thanks for the "great mom" comment, I always need to hear that... And debaser; Thanks for the emotion and the outrage! You reassured me that I'm not crazy and it is insulting!
I have more to say, but I have to run right now. I just wanted to make sure you knew how much I appreciate it. I’ll be back :-)

Silver Artemis
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 8/12/2007 4:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I always tried to hide the fact that I had a personality disorder but when I had a total breakdown at school there was no way of disguising it and I had to go down to the nurse. The next day that I returned I noticed how the kids in my classes were treating me a bit differently, kind of nicer (kind of, not asking for a miracle here). That was the whole reason why I didn't tell anyone! I hate pity, hate it so much, and when I was like that the last thing I needed was for people to give me pity.
-So now I'm going into college and I'm worried about what I'm going to do. If my paranoia becomes too overwhelming it's not like I can go hide down at the nurse's office and wait for my parents to come get me. No, I'm all alone on that campus and to be that vulnerable scares me.
I have Crohn's Disease, panic disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and major depression. Fun.


Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 8/12/2007 10:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Silver, I think it's great you're heading off to college.  It might seem intimidating at first, but you will find some of your closest friends there.  I still keep in close contact with my old roommates from 10 years ago!  These will be some tremendous growing years for you and you might find that this change will be the best thing that you can do for yourself.  Best of luck to you.  Definitely find advocates on campus; there are a million support networks out there, and a good start is the college health center.  You can ask to speak to a counselor and they can get you in touch with others who will be able to help you through. 
 
It's important to self-advocate and to learn how to rely on yourself.  You can do it - it's part of human nature - so just trust in that.  Keep truckin' when the going gets rough. 
Co-moderator - IBS Forum


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/13/2007 7:19 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Silver,

I am so proud of you for going off to school.  That takes a lot of guts and by golly I think you will make it. Just remember to try not to anticipate the what ifs?

Your in college now and your right you don't go to the nurses office and wait for your parent. You can simply leave the area for a bit, take a walk on campus and regroup. Remember you are a good and kind person.  You care about others and no one is better than you.

Your more anonymous in college as each class is full of strangers and it will switch continously.  The instructor will not be your keeper and you will be responsible to take care of your self.  So learn to be a bit more assertive in your rights as well as your responsibility for you. :)

I wish you peace and happiness in all that you do. Gentle Hugs.


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
******www.healingwell.com/donate******
_____________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

 

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