Yesterday, the teen son Dennis came to me and said that something was wrong and that he didn’t feel right. I was washing dishes at the time, but he looked unwell when I glanced over my shoulder. He was sweaty, and his hands were shaking.
I quickly made my way to him and helped his chair at the table to sit down. I asked him what happened. Dennis explained that he had been working on school assignments in his room, and he started to feel his heart racing, and he got all sweaty. I quickly gave him a glass of water and asked him if something hurt.
My son explained that he felt like his thoughts were all over the place. He said that before getting sweaty, he was having difficulty concentrating. He discussed that he was worried that he was not going to finish his project on time. He told me that the project is worth a lot of points.
My son said that he has been feeling overwhelmed with his school work and has just been having a lot of trouble.
It then hit me. I was watching my son have a panic attack. I was all too familiar with these myself from my young adult years. I had not had one in many years, but I immediately remembered how awful they felt.
I told my son that he would be okay and told him to close his eyes and take some deep breaths. I told him to breathe in through his nose and out through his mouth. When I could see him start to relax, I had him take some sips of water. He said that he was feeling much better. The color had returned to his cheeks, and he was no longer sweating.
I sat down with him and talked to him about what a panic attack is. I explained that I have had them before and know that they are not fun. He said that he had just been feeling overwhelmed when it all started and didn’t know what to do.
I shared with him some things that I had learned when I had anxiety. We talked about how removing yourself from the room or taking a break can help. We talked about taking a few deep breaths or counting. I spoke to him about always being able to come and find me if he feels like that, and we can work through it together. My son then said he was feeling much better and said that he would take a hot shower.
I hope that this was the only time my son would experience this level of anxiety, but I am definitely going to be keeping an eye on him. I am going to need to remind him of taking breaks and not getting so stressed out. I know that stress is a huge trigger.