Anxiety Attacks

  1. Many years ago I used to get these very bad anxiety attacks when I lived with the roomates from hell. I haven't had ANY until Wednesday during my med surg II final and then I had another one in my evening community class.
    The final was great until I reached the half way point on the exam and then I started getting this pounding headache, I couldn't breathe and I forgot everything in regards to the most recent set of information.
    What was the outcome? The A I was on track for went out the window and I didn't receive and A on my final. My community class, I didn't feel confident either. Anxiety is hateful to students. Once it starts, it's like it doesn't goes away for days. All of the hours I put into studying and preparing for these two 6 credit classes, went down the tube when i should have been performing at my best!:uhoh21: was such a horrible feeling and so disappointing.
    Just want to vent about it because I can't seem to let go of it yet.
    Anyone have any advice on how to make it go away once it starts?
    Last edit by CityKat on Dec 22, '06
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    About CityKat

    Joined: Apr '06; Posts: 587; Likes: 427
    Registered Nurse
    Specialty: Trauma, Trauma, Trauma


  3. by   tutored
    That's happened to me. And it never happened to me before until I went to Nursing School (I went back as an "adult" learner. I'm almost 40). I used an old trick that was taught to me in a public speaking class I had the first time I went to college. I imagined that everyone taking the test (including elderly instructors proctoring the test) were either a) totally naked, or, b) wearing silly underwear. It was the injection of humor, a way to see a situation as silly from another angle, that helped me. A little, anyway. My attacks were huge and so I got a prescription for valium, which I take ONLY during unit tests or final exams - NEVER on the clinical floor, or at any other time or place in my life. And I plan on dumpin gthe bottle when I'm done! I hope I helped a little. Hang in there!
  4. by   tutored
    Oh, one more thing I forgot. The school psychologist suggested that we decrease test anxiety by not studying the day of the test, and spending the evening before the test doing something relaxing and non-academic. It caused a little anxiety just following his directions, but it worked as well as the valium!
  5. by   amybethf
    Close your eyes, take some deep slow breaths and clear your mind until u feel better. The feeling will pass. If u find yourself having them outside of the class and they are increasing, it might help to talk to your doctor. They offer sublingual tablets that stop the anxiety from overtaking your mind. I suffer from panic attacks but with some breathing exercises and meds I was able to overcome it. I feel for u! Hang in there and don't let this take away another 'A!' Good Luck!
  6. by   Dabuggy
    I have the same problem. I'm fine until the instructor walks in, then it hits. With me, my throat closes, feels like I'm choking or drowning on my own spit, sick isn't it. My mind shuts down and I can't remember anything. I went and told my doctor, who put me on a low dose Lorazepam, that I take only on test days. Found out 3 other students had the same thing going on as I do. My doctor had it also.

    Funny how we can make ourselves sick over a stupid test.

  7. by   Finally2008
    I feel for you. Yes, I have the same problem and have for over 20 years. Those darn things creep up at the most inconvenient times.... In my first dosage calculations test, all of a sudden I felt like I couldn't breathe and felt like I had to get up and run out of the room. If anyone could hear the internal dialogue in my head, they would think I'm crazy..."I can't breathe--I've got to get out of here!" "No, you don't. Sit down and act like a grownup--it's just a test like dozens before." I literally talk like that to myself and then I put down my pencil for a minute and take a nice slow breath-- in through my nose, hold it, and then exhale slowly through my mouth. I do this a few times until I settle down. Then, I think about what my body is doing, physiologically. It has really helped. And, as far as the A goes, I know that is a real bummer, but years from now, you really are not going to care about it. After I get my grades, I get so excited, but then about a week later, after all the adrenaline wears off, I realize it's really not that big of a deal...
  8. by   locolorenzo22
    I imagine myself on the beach or in the mountains sitting at the desk with my exam in front of me...anxiety is not bad during tests, but clinicals are a WHOLE other story...I keep reminding myself that I'm not the A) worst student in the class and B) every single nurse goes through this, including instructors...
    It's the fact that I know some pretty BAD nurses and if they can do it, so can I....
  9. by   Achoo!
    If you are able to leave the room, go out in the hall and stomp your feet. It helps you feel more grounded ( well for me anyways) HTH!
  10. by   CityKat
    Thank you for your advice everyone....

    Yes, indeed it is disappointing to lose my A because of it. It's over and hoping for it to NOT happen again. Imagining people naked is hilarious. I think I will try that next time. The breathing in and out although it has worked in the past, didn't work for me this time. It got to the level where I felt like I was floating above my body and felt this sort of light feeling come over me. It sucked, I am disappointed, yes. But, I am finished for a month and am going to relax now instead of worrying anymore.

    Thanks again
  11. by   jov
    Quote from StudentNurseBean
    Anxiety is hateful to students. Once it starts, it's like it doesn't goes away for days. was such a horrible feeling and so disappointing.

    Anyone have any advice on how to make it go away once it starts?
    Panic attacks are a two part process. One part is the actual "triggering" event, which often is not the real trigger but is a stress point. The second, and perhaps more crucial, part is the backlog of stress that builds up residually, sort of like water behind a dam. Builds, builds, builds, builds, then a weak spot in the dam occurs and it all floods out. If you remove the built up stress in the first place, it is unlikely the panic attack will happen in the second place.
    Try to take better care of yourself especially when you can identify stressful events. Use everyday stress management techniques like vigorous exercise, meditation, spending time with friends, far as a developing panic attack, there are specific techniques to ward them off. One proven technique is an eye-rolling technique which you would have to learn from a professional. Another is the self-hypnosis mentioned by another poster. Also try stretching. Once a muscle is stretched, the following cue is to relax. So along with the deep breathing and self-talk, you could do some long stretches which really wouldn't be that noticeable in class. Remember not to fight a panic attack, but rather float through it...until you come out the other side. They eventually end, usually within 10 minutes. If you stopped taking the test and sat quietly in your chair, floating through it, you would have it managed with plenty of time left to resume taking the test.
    Let us know if any of this has helped you and good luck next semester.