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Anxiety explosion out of the blue

I don't understand how I can be doing so well and be so kind to myself and learn to recognise my thoughts and be at peace with them for it all just to fall to pieces over one message I saw in a group chat. A school event happens every year, which I HATE with all my being, is coming up in the first few weeks of Feb. I never let myself get to this point. I read the message and instantly a flood of "I'm in danger" emotions wash over me. I tried everything I normally do to calm myself down and nothing worked. Music? No. Dog? No. Reading? I wanted to rip the book in half. Colouring? I threw the pencil across the room. Exercise? I felt like jelly. Everyone else in my household is peacefully sleeping and I'm sitting here on the edge of tears going over all the worst possible scenarios. I don't understand how nothing worked?? I did everything the same as normal but I just kept feeling more sick.


I've been working so hard for the past few years to get better. It literally feels like all that work has gone right down the fking drain because I couldn't control myself over such a stupid small thing.


I feel so dumb writing this, but I'm so scared of getting to that point again. It honestly felt like I had become possessed by something and I was just a quiet voice in the background.


I'm writing this post my attack, I'm calmer now but still a bit shaken. & tbh getting a bit worked up writing this.


I'm exhausted right now, so I'm gonna just go to bed. I'm sorry about this rant but otherwise it would have stewed in my head and taken alllllll my sleep away & also this forum has really become my support. How on earth do I regain control if all shit hits the fan again?? I'm genuinely scared to do anything now because I feel like it will start again Smiley Sad Smiley Frustrated


Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

Hey There @unwind Smiley Happy


I just wanted to thank you for all the help you've been giving to other users lately Smiley Happy It's been lovely!

Hmm, It sounds like that school event is NOT a fun experience for you Smiley Sad It must've felt terrible for your emotions to just 'fall to pieces' as you put it Smiley Sad 

I'm really glad you have some self-care/techniques you use to calm yourself down already in place - that's fantastic to hear Smiley Happy 


I have, along with many others had the feeling of being perfectly fine, then you read/see/hear something and everything immediately drops to despair Smiley Sad Sometimes those techniques really don't work even though you've done them a thousand times before - it really sucks when that happens and it only builds to your anxiety Smiley Sad I wonder that maybe next time this happens you can get in touch with a helpline? You can find the links to the helplines here, maybe check them out if you haven't already Smiley Happy


It's important to understand that the road of recovery is different to everyone's, some have more potholes then overs. It's OK to hit potholes, sometimes you just go right over the and continue on you way but sometimes it damages the car (think of it as a yourself) but eventually with help (support, helplines, therapists) you can to get it fixed and continue on your journey to recovery Smiley Happy 

Don't beat yourself up over this, all that work hasn't gone down the drain because you've still done all that work and that's given you a good couple of years Smiley Happy Don't EVER feel dumb writing this, it's completely OK to feel scared and I imagine you would when you're feeling like this. From what I've seen, you've been doing incredibly well on 'avoiding' potholes on your road to recovery Smiley Happy No need to apologise for venting Smiley Happy Do you feel a little better after getting it out?

Side note: The expression 'if all shit hits the fan' cracks me up, I'll be sure to use that in the future Smiley Wink

I'm sorry if this was NO help to you at all, hopefully something good came out of it. Stay Strong xx 



Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

Hi Unwind,

I'm sorry to hear you're having a difficult time right now. But I'm also glad to hear that you say you've been doing well lately. If you can, maybe you can give yourself credit for trying a few healthy coping strategies even though you were so distressed, it's more than many of us can do.


I understand how you feel that your hard work to get on top of your mental health has gone to waste. We can do well for a while, but when things start to go wrong again, even for a moment, it can feel like the world is ending, because all we can think of is our pain at the time. It sounds like you're worried that you're heading back in a bad direction and I'm sure that was scary. Could you please update us on how you feel now?


And no need to apologise for the rant, it's good that you could come here and air your frustrations here in a safe place where people want to help, thanks for coming by.


When you feel up to it, maybe you could start thinking of ways you can deal with the school event that's worrying you. Is there anything you think might help, or maybe there have been things that've helped when the event's been on in the past? Would you mind giving us more details about the event, if you don't mind?


Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

Thank you for your replies @annabethxchase and @MitchellClifford, I've calmed down a lot since then. I'm out right now so I'll wait 'till I'm home to fully reply to both of your messages & it will give me some time to think (I've had a pretty packed day today


Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

Oh no @unwind! That sounds so very exhausting and discouraging, especially if none of your self-care helped! I'm glad things are feeling a little better now, but I'd imagine it's still playing on your mind which ain't ever fun. Smiley Sad

I think @MitchellClifford has given some really good advice. It can be extremely tough, but if there's something specific triggering our anxiety and if nothing else seems to calm us down, sometimes the only option is to deal with that issue face-on


Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

I just want to start out by saying that I wrote probably a 1000+ word response and I accidentally deleted the whole thing. I have minimal fuel left to re-write this. Smiley Happy Smiley Happy Smiley Happy Smiley Happy Smiley Happy


*note to any dev team -- would it be possible to implement a change log kind of thing where you can restore previous edits, other than the immediate edit (similar to Google Docs)?


angry mr krabs GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants




I thought about calling a helpline, but I felt like it would waste someone’s time. I thought at the time that this whole situation was all my fault, so I should deal with it myself. Reflecting now, it was just the negative person inside me showing its face. I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll call if this ever happens again.


That’s a really good analogy. If I had read that in the early hours of this morning, I would have said that my car hit a pothole, then uncontrollably swerved into a bottomless canyon. I feel a lot better now, especially after I had written that. I still have moments where I doubt my progress but I understand how recovery is not a single path. Plus, I really enjoy writing, if you can’t tell from this literal ESSAY. Smiley Very Happy


And yes, that saying makes me laugh too haha. I reserve it for special occasions. Smiley Tongue

Thank you for your support, it has helped in many ways Heart




I’ll try give myself some credit, even though they did little to help me. Thinking about it though, I would have just resorted to fetal position and hours of overthinking a year ago. So, I see your point now. Smiley LOL


I’m feeling a lot better now, but I still have had moments today where I have questioned my progress. I think I’ve been kind to myself today, well I tried. I played my ukulele for a bit, read some of a book and listened to music, it’s still in the back of my mind.


Now onto writing about the event for the second time today. Smiley LOL

I used to be a competitive swimmer at a high level, but I quit the sport for two main reasons, among other little issues. (1) There was an internal conflict in my club of which I was the focal point and (2) training was more than 7 times a week, for about 3 hours per session -- I was beyond exhausted every single day. This was when my mental health issues really started. It started with depression, then my self-esteem dropped, anxiety, social anxiety... it just spiraled into a bad place.


Last year marks one year after I finished swimming. In Feb. last year our school held the swimming carnival (the same time it will be held this year). I had spoke to my head teacher prior to the event (about 2 weeks) and expressed my concerns with literally no uncertain terms. He said he understood and he would not force me to compete in the competitive races (as the competitive races are not compulsory). I was satisfied with that and thereon stopped worrying about it.


On the swimming carnival day I was sitting with the crowd (sorry for such a long story omg), feeling a little uneasy because just being at the pool shakes me a bit, I heard my name being called by the same head teacher to the front of my year group. I got up without a fuss because I didn’t want a scene, but honestly, I was about to throw up. I went from 0-100 anxiety wise in about 3 seconds.


After giving him my last-minute plea, he just said to me it wasn’t good enough and that I disappointed him. After that, he sent me to the pre-race area to get ready for the race. To make things better, I was in the same race as the other student who I had conflict with a year earlier. I competed in the race, and a few more after because I was forced to.  


I think I probably got 5 hours of sleep for the remainder of that week, and it took me a good 3 months to feel happy again. I don’t know why it affects me so much. Every time I dive into the pool off the diving blocks it reminds me of all the dark and dangerous thoughts I had a few years back.


It’s such a small and stupid thing, I wish it didn’t get me down so much. All I want is for my head teacher to agree to not make me race and keep that commitment, I’ve got major trust issues with him now. Seriously, I opened up to him and he just violates my trust. If he could do that I wouldn't even be writing this right now.


Sorry, this has kinda turned into another rant/complaint -- I hope it isn’t too much reading. I may have left something out too, considering this is the second time I’ve gone over it, so if anything above doesn’t make sense please just ask me to clarify what I mean.


I really think that I’m going to contact my school counselor and try to set up a three-way conversation with my head teacher. I’m not sure if he’ll actually understand but it’s worth a go. 




Firstly, thanks for your constant support, you seem to pop up on all my threads. Smiley Happy


Yeah, I agree with you on that -- I should definitely face up to the problem. As I said up there ^ I’ll probably talk with the school counselor about it because it’s become too much of an issue to ignore. I’m sick of starting out my school year on a bad foot. Smiley Frustrated




Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

@unwind firsrly I want to congratulate you on trying different strategies to try and get through the panic attack. Well done!
Sometimes our self help strategies don't work and thats totally okay. We have a list of different self care strategies and distractions here. (See masdive long link because I'm using quick reply Smiley Tongue )

In regards to the head teacher that was totally not okay for them to do that. I'm glad you are looking at setting up an appointment with your school counselor and them

You are incredibly insightful in your responses and I wanted to acknowledge that Heart Smiley Happy

Remember you're amazing just as you are Heart


Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

Thank you for sharing that link @Bee Heart
I've gone through some of the pages and jotted down things that I reckon will help me Smiley Happy

Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

ugh I hate it when the forums eat up those 1000+ word posts! yuck.

Your response to the situation last year (and this year!) is totally valid, @unwind! It sounds like there's a bit of trauma here, and no trauma is too small. It's like how a war vet might come home from service and be sensitive to loud noises --- it might seem a bit silly, but the trauma associated with said loud noises is most definitely not silly. Also, props to younger you for identifying that swimming training was too exhausting and potentially interfering with your mental health! That must've been a huge thing to come to terms with. Heart

Yeah @Bee is right, the head teacher should never have pressured you into doing something you did not want to do. Setting up a mediation session with that teacher sounds like a fantastic idea! (I'd imagine it'd be terrifying though -- I had a conflict with one of my senior level teachers and I couldn't even face them afterwards.) Would you discuss with the teacher about what happened last year, the fact that you cannot swim competitively for (mental) health reasons, and that you cannot participate in this year's carnival beyond cheering // casual races? If you assert yourself clearly, in a formal meeting in the company of another adult, then I don't see any reason for you to be put in an uncomfortable situation at the carnival again. If you're one of those people who stumble over their words when nervous (like me!), you could even write down what you'd like to say, bring that in with you and give that hard-copy to the teacher at the end of the session -- just to be extra clear.

Is there a trusted adult irl that you can discuss this situation with (who will also take you seriously)? It might help having someone who you can prebrief / debrief with and receive physical support from, especially around a mediation session if you go through with that.

As you were saying, there is still the possibility that your teacher won't understand you properly. In this case, know that you've done everything you can. The only other option is that you avoid going to the swimming carnival, but that might not be an option. Did you end up thinking about what you'd do in the chance that your head teacher DOES call your name again and tries to get you to participate? I'm not sure how likely this scenario would be because clearly something major went wrong last time; but surely the exact same scenario happening twice would be rare?

It's hella late so hopefully this is intelligible haha


Re: Anxiety explosion out of the blue

Hey @unwind,

A lot of people have had similair thoughts about feeling like calling a helpline would be a waste of someones time but it really isn't I promise. You're problem may be different to another's but it is definitely just as important Heart I'm so glad you were able to realise that you do deserve to call! Smiley Very Happy


Haha Thanks Smiley Happy I just thought it up on the spot and I realised that it actually could be used Smiley Very Happy 

Hehe me too, I always end up writing much more than I need to Smiley Happy I just ramble on and on for ages Smiley Wink


I'm still laughing about that saying Smiley Happy 

That's alright, glad I could help