My Daughter’s First Panic Attack

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression in college-aged students.  All opinions are my own.

As parents we pride ourselves in a lot of firsts. First steps, first haircut, first day of school, first dance….There just aren’t enough parenting articles written to prepare you for the first time your child has a panic attack. Earlier this year, due to a paid partnership with Med-IQ, we had begun having conversations at home that opened the door for our daughter to reach out to us quickly to help her through her first panic attack. I hope that by sharing our story it encourages you to talk about anxieties with your family members and remove the stigma in conversations surrounding mental health.


“I can’t breathe. I’m feeling very claustrophobic right now and my chest feels very tight. It feels like someone is sitting on my chest. It’s like I’m trying to get a deep breath but someone is holding my lungs. It’s like trying to breathe through a straw.”

This text from our high school daughter sent on a random Tuesday caused my husband and I to drop all the work we were doing on opposite ends of town. While we were proud that her first instinct was to reach out to us and talk her through solutions, we were highly concerned. She told us she was going to get some water and try to calm herself down. We encouraged her to go speak with the campus nurse as well.

As she was waiting for the nurse, we were able to reassure her through texts that health doesn’t just mean flu or throwing up. It also can mean taking inventory of mental and emotional health as well. It is totally valid to seek guidance from professionals at the first sign of an issue even if it doesn’t seem like a “big deal”. I was so grateful that we had already been encouraged to have these conversations and had been equipped with insights and tools on how to guide her through our partnership with Med-IQ.

How to Help
One of the things that kept us calm as we were talking through this with her was the information we had gained. We also know that in a handful of months she will be at college on her own and we need to continue to equip her for the transition to living away from us. There are several online tools that will help students learn how to track their own stressors and know when to get help. This site is focused on the ‘transition’ from HS to college: https://www.settogo.org/. This is another screening tool that is used a lot for colleges and universities: https://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/goblue

Whether your child is already a college student and is coming home for Thanksgiving or in high school preparing for college, prepare to set a little time by the fire to check in with them holiday season. By now, our students have all thought about the transition from high school to college. They may be experiencing or worried about a wide array of stressors to manage whether it be academic, home-sickness, worries of financial aid, or social pressures like underage drinking or sexual pressure. 

Part of the talk we had with doctors learning how best to prepare our students was helping them decipher who they are and who they want to be, and part of that is learning how to take care of their own health. If your child can talk with you about their anxiety, assure them that help is available. Once you and your child are aligned with the right resources, both of can breathe a sigh of relief.

Help us by Taking a Survey
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with depression and mental health in your college-aged child, which will help us develop future educational initiatives.

Take the survey here!
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.

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Yomms: The Smart Snack Drawer Solution


Today’s smart snacking post is made possible through our sponsor Yomms.

Snacking often gets shunned but it can actually be a great way to fuel your life and get nutrients in during the day (think vitamins and fiber).  Mindless snacking and overindulging aren’t the right approach but with a little strategy you CAN snack smart. Skip the vending machine and bring joy back to the idea of snacking with Yomms. 

Long workdays often mean I don’t have a designated shopping day for groceries and it’s common to receive a “Can you stop to pick up — on your way home?’ text. This week was no different. It occurred to me as I was walking the aisle of Brookshire’s after work- but still long before I’d be home for dinner- how hungry I really was. Doing a quick time estimate of how long it would take me to get through the check-out line, drive home, and cook dinner, it still added up to at least another hour before we’d eat. I’d been so cautious not to fill up on mindless calories during the workday but I had been so busy, I was also skipping meals. I needed to look for a solution that would provide energy, keep me alert, and bring a little joy to the workday.  

This is when I added Yomms to my cart. Yomms is a convenient and tasty snack that is easy to take along to the office. It was also convenient for my budget since Brookshire’s had a BOGO Free, on the  4 oz bags (10/9-10/15). I picked up two bags of my favorite and another to share with my family. Snacks are for sharing but they never last long with two teenagers and their friends at home.

Balancing Work Life with Yomms : The Smart Snack Drawer Solution

I’ve worked so diligently on areas of my health this year. I was concerned about sabotaging my progress with snacks at work. I knew my busy schedule would sometimes get in the way of routine so I had to  be intentional with the snacks I was consuming. Instead of heading to the vending machine between meetings, I considered the option of stocking a snack drawer with smart options instead. 

There are a few functional benefits to consider when stocking your office snack drawer:

  • Will this item give me energy? 

Yomms is a plant protein and has plenty of fiber & ‘good’ unsaturated fats

  • Does it provide nutrients? 

Yomms has antioxidant vitamins, minerals, & phytonutrients

  • Is it convenient? 

Yomms comes in a variety of flavors (Coco Twist, Dark Chocolate w/ Sea Salt, Milk Chocolate, Sea Salted & more) and is packaged to take on the go. 

When you’re always on the go, you’ve got to be easygoing

Speaking of being on the go… Our teenagers always keep us on the go. Sometimes it seems like they never slow down. Except for snacks. They still stop and light up if I say I have a snack to share. Sometimes choosing the snack can be a conflict because we have several different eating styles under one roof. One of the greatest parts about stocking up on Yomms is that it’s a plant protein the whole family can share – vegetarians and non-vegetarians. We’ll often tell each other “food is fuel” as a reminder to snack smart but our choices can also bring a moment of delight to the day. It’s important to me to model this value for them.

Speaking of being on the go… Our teenagers always keep us on the go. Sometimes it seems like they never slow down. Except for snacks. They still stop and light up if I say I have a snack to share. Sometimes choosing the snack can be a conflict because we have several different eating styles under one roof. One of the greatest parts about stocking up on Yomms is that it’s a plant protein the whole family can share – vegetarians and non-vegetarians. We’ll often tell each other “food is fuel” as a reminder to snack smart but our choices can also bring a moment of delight to the day. It’s important to me to model this value for them.

We’ll often tell each other “food is fuel” as a reminder to snack smart but our choices can also bring a moment of delight to the day. It’s important to me to model this value for them.

SNACK JOYOUSLY! Fuel your day with a snack that brings you confidence and guilt-free indulgence like Yomms. For more joyful inspiration, check out the Yomms Facebook page.

New Year, New Parts of Me … maybe.

5 pregnancies, 4 babies, infinite nights turning into months that add up to years of nursing and a lifetime filled with nurturing other humans…
Yes, becoming a parent is a magical and beautiful season of life. What it has done to my body hasn’t always left me with the same sentiments, however.

Parenting grows our character and stretches us in ways we could never imagine. Quite literally. Even with the numerous messaging out there that encourages me to believe the scars and stretch marks from those times are a beautiful reminder of how strong and capable my body is, when I look in the mirror it doesn’t make me feel beautiful no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise.

These “imperfections”, as I see them, are totally repairable and what makes me feel empowered is knowing I have a choice to live with them or not. I’d always said that after we were done having children I would like to make some adjustments. I worked hard to lose forty pounds in 2018 and have a continued goal for 2019. I decided it was time to consider it more seriously.

I lost count of the number of before and after photos that I analyzed as I made the case for these procedures to my husband. For the record, initially, he was very on the fence. You see, I’m married to this wonderful human who adores me… mind, body, and soul. It’s never been a question of being more attractive to him or anyone else. This transformation truly is more about me being satisfied with me.

Today, on the second day of the new year, my husband and I went for a consultation to talk about what that would look like. Or more specifically what I could look like. I had carefully researched surgeons for months before calling for a consultation. It took 3 weeks to get in as the doctor I preferred is booked pretty far out. This offered more time to consider if this was something I really wanted to do.

I asked R to come with me so that he could ask any questions he had and since he would be helping me with the recovery process, I wanted him to know exactly what I was getting us into. “Us” because I really will be depending on him a lot in the weeks following. I think one of the misconceptions I had before researching all of this was that it was an easy surgery. It is definitely major surgery.

We both asked a lot of questions. Then there was the picture taking. If you ever want to test how fearless you are, forget bungee jumping or mountain climbing. Schedule a cosmetic surgery consultation instead. Seriously. Think of the parts of your body that you are most insecure about, strip naked in a brightly lit room and let a -very nice- professional stranger take up-close photos from multiple angles of exactly those parts you’ve been camouflaging for most of your adult life. It was kind of like the dream where you show up at school with no pants.

Ultimately, I don’t know what I’ll end up doing. Or how much I’ll share or not share along the way. There was a big part of me that was very apprehensive to share any of this. I guess I just thought it was fair to acknowledge the perspective that as women, mothers or non-mothers, we have control over our bodies to do with them as we please for our own satisfaction. You are allowed to get cosmetic surgery. You’re allowed not to get surgery. What we aren’t allowed to is pass judgment on the choices people make about their bodies “natural” or not.