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Studying for Exams with Anxiety

RachelRachel Fast NewbiePosts: 27 Boards Initiate
Hi everyone,

I'm quite new to all of this but I thought that I should finally give this a go and hopefully someone will have some advice for me.

About three months ago I began having panic attacks. To begin with I had no clue what it was, and assumed it was an asthma attack as it was during a netball game, but a visit to the doctor made things clearer. I was told to wait and see as it may have been a one off, and so I went back to school and netball practise the following day with the hope that it would just disappear. But it really didn't and my feelings of anxiety along with panic attacks have become more and more frequent over the past month. A while ago I did go back to see my doctor who did confirm that I must be suffering with anxiety and referred me to CAMHS. My appointment is in a months time, which really isn't long at all, but I have been struggling more and more recently and just don't know what to do.

Concentrating in classes without becoming panicked has become difficult and I've had to leave a number of classes because of this. I even had to walk out of my school's ceilidh the other night which until that point was so much fun, and I can't understand what could have possibly caused a panic attack in that situation. My main worry is my preliminary exams, or mocks as some schools call them, which are straight after the Christmas holidays. I'm really worried about how they are going to go, especially since my first appointment with CAMHS is not until after. Studying is difficult as I just get stressed, I don't seem to memorise things as easily as I did with studying last year, and I am really worried about what might happen if I have a panic attack during or before my prelims.

Sorry for the rant, I just feel a little bit helpless just now and not being at school because of Christmas just makes things ten times worse as I always seem to overthink things more at home.

I hope you are all doing well though, and thank you for taking the time to read this.

Rachel xx


  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular

    You are quite right to rant and vent and I completely sympathise with you over having panic attacks, though they are treatable using controlled breathing exercises that members of my family have used with me whenever they needed help. Symptoms such as tightness of breath, sweating, a feeling of tightness across the chest, shaking and sometimes shivering, or a dry mouth and an overpowering feeling of wanting to flee - maybe these are signs that you also have been experiencing?

    Mandy my sister used hyperventilate when over anxious, sometimes happening in a supermarket with me. Or sometimes over nothing at all when we were at home. This over-anxiousness triggered panic in her, so I used a paper bag to help bring her panic and shortness of breath down. It's something that you can do when alone and this paper bag method really helps. When I placed it over her mouth, it helped her breathe in calming carbon dioxide through a controlled breathing technique I learnt for her. This simple method could bring panic right down in you. You get to re-breathe exhaled, carbon dioxide-rich air which would raise carbon dioxide levels in your blood and stop these panic attacks that make you feel so helpless and anxious.

    You must never use a plastic bag.

    I found this site for Mandy and it could be useful for you, but I feel you must ask your doctor or heathcare worker to help you practise this method when you're sitting with them.


    CAMHS will be very helpoful to you like they were for Mandy. They are specially trained to help us young people, and they will help you. It took courage for you to share this and I am so glad that you did. Please feel welcome to pm me if you like, or one of our very good staff members.

    All the best,
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • Hi Rachel,

    No need to apologise for ranting, sometimes it helps to get things off your chest. I've linked a 'Help me with my anxiety' article which has a lot of information on how to help manage and cope. Try not to stress out over your preliminary exams, I've also linked you to our 'Revision tips' article- give that a read and try some of them out and find which one works best for you.

    Good luck with your exams- keep us updated on how you get on and don't forget its ok to have a rant.

  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    Hey Rachel!

    You may find Jules' study guide and strategies useful for when you have to return to school facing exams.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • RachelRachel Fast Newbie Posts: 27 Boards Initiate
    Thank you @kharishma[/USER] and [USER="102549"]Mirabelle for the advice and resources! I'll be sure to check them out and your reassurance has made me feel better already! The kindness of everyone within these forums has actually given me the confidence to speak more openly with two of my friends. Both had similar responses to everyone here, kind and honest, and it's definitely been helpful. Thank yous again!

    Rachel xx
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    I'm glad it helped, Rachel We all have exams. They are part of our learning, our education. All your homework, revision etc prepares you for work later when you get a job. Some anxiety is normal, so don't confuse it with that fear which sometimes falls on us out of nowhere. I know it helps to recall the easier times when we were happier. Think how we managed to get through 'that' day, and into the next when life didn't seem so difficult.

    Have you some school friends? Ones you could talk to on a messenger or email? We have phones, laptops so our contacts are never far away when we feel rough. We keep our friends because they are special to us and meaningful.

    Christmas is past now and we have the New Year to look forward to. I am trying to stay positive despite the inevitable emptiness that will follow mummy's passing, my grief counsellor gently warned. Keeping busy doesn't always help when perhaps all you and I need is a good book to get lost in. Exercise always helps, but not when it's raining. I like keeping my room tidy. Can't stand it too bad. It's a job I'll do when the weather is too rought to be out.

    Organize your work space.
    Read some textbooks
    Remember your old exams
    Do some revision then take a break. You'll find me in the kitchen then, making something yummy for later. :yum:
    Have a snack or a glass of nice cold milk
    Just make sure nothing is going to tip out of the fridge upon you. Like last night when tomato passata decided to shower me. :rolleyes:
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • RachelRachel Fast Newbie Posts: 27 Boards Initiate
    Yes thankfully I do have some wonderful friends at school, one of whom actually took me to the cinema yesterday which I haven't been keen on lately, but somehow he convinced me. We usually message every night, usually just to chat, but you're right, it's good to have someone to talk to.

    You're so strong for dealing with your Mum's passing as you have, so gracefully whilst still embracing your feelings and it's great to hear about the support you have around you.

    I've just finished some studying now and I think I will take a break with some drawing or a book but perhaps not cooking or baking for me as I am truly awful, although I must learn so maybe I'll give something simple a go sometime next week :hyper:
    I always need my room to be tidy too, I'm glad I'm not the only teen who feels that way, and it always helps me to focus a little more.

    I'll be sure to be wary of the fridge though, this pasta sauce sounds dangerous! :p
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
    I'm glad you cook, Rachel Cooking is so rewarding which I learnt from mummy, who also taught me guitar. I come from a musical family where once she was a pianist working in the US and Germany, but I became closer still when she told me I was adopted. I've always written my feelings down as they come. I think writing helps release our feelings. Putting words to paper feels like I've done with what I wanted to say. Then I can move on, or perhaps play my guitar whose mellow sound helps soothe me.

    It was nice of you to tell me all this. I will find comfort in what you shared like I find the same in my other forum friends. You're not the only teen by any means.

    Belle x

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
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