Work Related Panic Attacks
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Work Related Panic Attacks

This is a discussion on Work Related Panic Attacks within the Employment and Finances forums, part of the Life's Other Challenges category; Hi, I am new to this site and this is actually the very first forum that I have ever used. ...

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Old 01-27-16, 07:36 AM   #1
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Unhappy Work Related Panic Attacks

Hi, I am new to this site and this is actually the very first forum that I have ever used. I was diagnosed with a depression and panic disorder in high school after a suicide attempt. I thought that I could do some good for teenagers that were like me and I decided to go into education. I have been teaching for three years and I am currently a high school/middle school math/science teacher. Everyone knows that teaching is a very stressful job and I figured that I would be able to handle it even with my panic disorder. I was doing fine until I transferred to another school and the state laws changed putting more work and responsibilities on the teacher and less on the students (Also, the great increase in student misbehavior and disrespect hasn't helped. I had a student beat me to the ground and try to stab me.) . My job had gotten so bad that I am having panic attacks every morning on the way to work and during my classes. These attacks have been so severe that they have made me hyperventilate, pass out, and vomit in front of students and coworkers. One attack while driving even led to me getting into an accident on the interstate (my wife now has to drive me to work because she fears that I may do it again). It has gotten to the point that just hearing a student's name will cause a violent attack and I have had to use all of my sick days just for panic related incidents. I know you will probably say just quit, but there is a catch. My wife and I are pregnant with our first and I can't afford to lose the insurance (as she currently doesn't work, she was a teacher too until a similar situation caused her to quit). I have been looking for a new job and sending out a multitude of applications, but to no avail. I would just like any advice at all as to how to handle my panic. I feel like I am stuck in a hell and I can't get out and I don't want my daughter to be born into this.
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Old 01-29-16, 03:40 PM   #2
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I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I too have in the past had work related pa's and let me tell you, the word panic attack just dosent cover the assault on your body emotions self esteem . Its like for just that moment you'd gladly die if this feeling of intense overwhelming panic would just go away and never return.
It amazes me the people that say, well just don't think about this, or well just don't think about that. Try this , try that.
SURE, LOGICALLY you can tell yourself all sorts of things, you can have all sorts of plans, but with PA's logic goes right out the window quickly when one hits.

I want to first say you are NOT alone, I no longer am able to work, due to another health condition and its eased a lot of my anxiety and pa's but I still have them and they are LIFE ALTERING. something as simple as shopping for a pillow set me into one the other day, and I had to leave my cart and sprint outside the store gasping for air. trying to breath, not draw attention to myself (which never works) and not vomit then and there was all I could do. I had to just go home.

Congratulations on your baby girl! that's so exciting and so frightening at the same time I know. You are already a good dad to be thinking about how this may effect her life, and the truth is, it may in small ways, but it dosent have to be a negative thing. Growing up with a dad that has these, will help teach her about compassion for others, and may indeed lead her into health care field later on in life, you just never know.

In the meantime, what to do about this work situation and keeping the insurance you desperately need to get this baby girl into the world and healthy .

I have a few ideas that could help you. Im not sure where your located or how "health" friendly your current school system is, but having some health advocates for starters would be great. Your general phys and any mental health dr you are seeing would be able to help you type up reccomendations, speak to your super intendant if it goes that far, and so forth.
I had to PROVE I wasn't just making these things up to get out of work, and while exhausting after some phone calls, letters, documentation, I was taken a lot more seriously when I asked for a position change (this was before I had to quit all together).

so that brings up my next suggestion. A position change. You can still teach, but perhaps instead of teaching these pre teen and teen attitudy and often volatile age group, you could get shifted to kinder, or 3rd grade and under age group. It has its own challenges , but I think youd feel less threatened, triggered and unsure as to your safety all the time. It would also help if you are at a different campus then the incident that started all of this.

If this is not an option for you, would you consider forgoing teaching at the level you are at, and take a more background position such as moving to assistant, or even another postion all together to which you may loose some income, but you can still keep your insurance, and your employment with your school of choice.

the reason I asked this is because my husband also has pa and he eventually shifted from one department to another because of it, and it has helped him a lot. he no longer has to walk thru crowds, fight inter office politics or deal with a lot of people on a day to day basis. he is more of a back ground position and while he still has flares, its not a day to day battle like it once was.

the best thing you can do for yourself is speak up. Meet with your supervisors and principal , school nurse, school counselor and brain storm as to what plan you can have in place should a bad pa happen while on duty. If its just to go find a janitorial closet to hide in and let it pass, or a trip home .

If its ok, may I ask if you are on medication, seeing a therapist or are seeking alternate therapy for these? I do know that some schools over a progam to where you can go to a lisc therapist for a extremely discounted rate due to your position as a school employee. Please check into all your options when you can.

Proactivity will help you, it will give you something to focus on that you can change, can help, can control, so that when these horrible pa's happen, you can feel less entrapped and devalued by them. You can see them as something bad yes, but not life ending.

It is manageable if you have the desire to manage them, and trust me when I say you strike me as the type to want to DO SOMETHING about this and move on with life, and not just lay down and let them control you.

Last edited by Forest; 01-29-16 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 02-07-16, 03:30 AM   #3
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^ great advice especially finding opportunities and ways to transfer

^^ very sorry that you had to endure your job and definitely teaching younger kids can be more manageable as aforementioned but again it might not matter depending on school system/board/location/school and environment. If need be sharpen/learn physical and mental (social/emotional) self-defense.

Other than that I truly applaud you for trying to stick to the teaching profession especially in math/science as there seems to be many who just can't teach those subjects well. I don't know if there are online teaching opportunities in your area as there are teachers in some areas very lucky to be employed as virtual high school teachers. A teacher once had mentioned that a few of the reasons some teachers have started online teaching on the side and progressed to part-time etc is because of SA, PA, etc. not just the convenience of telecommuting.
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Old 03-16-16, 08:48 AM   #4
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Thank you for your responses. It took me a while to respond to these suggestions due to recent events. A few weeks ago I had a failed suicide attempt and after consulting with my administrators, they decided that I am unfit to be working with children and I have been placed on medical leave until the end of the school year. I am receiving treatment from a trauma institute and I am doing a bit better. I want to to everything I can to fix myself before my daughter comes into this world in May. I have also gotten calls from a few about interviews for other positions (computer tech, wildlife officer, etc.). I made the decision that I can no longer teach in a world that under appreciates, blames, and does not support teachers in any way. I want to get better.
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