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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Keep Inspiring Your Kids to Be Great #GearUpforSchool

Certain brands know how tough back to school time can be  (probably because they see us A LOT this time of year) & keep encouraging us to inspire our kids to be great. Thanks to Office Depot® OfficeMax® for sponsoring today’s post and giveaway below (as always all thoughts and opinions are 100% our own!) When our kids were tiny being their hero was a pretty simple job. As they grow into older children and teens, our super hero status feels a little more questionable from year to year. With another school year fast approaching and a couple of the kids heading to college, we are caught in this place of reminiscing over how much we’ve learned together and how much there is to be learned.

Gear up for college

As parents we attempt to teach our children to not only be smart but to also develop their character as well. We want them to learn to be loving, caring, independent individuals. Teaching them to be independent thinkers required us to be willing to let them contemplate ideas, think outside the box, and take the road less traveled. Sometimes we have let them make mistakes and while we would always be there to catch them if they fell too hard, we also had to let them stumble to understand in order for them to develop a solid foundation of their own in life.

Our oldest just recently moved to his first apartment, and while it was difficult to let go it was also confirmation that we had succeeded in our goal. As we offered help, he let us know, “Mom, Dad, I’ve got this.” Being a parent isn’t easy, being a parent who teaches their child to become a good adult is even harder.  Success comes everyday when you see your children  make the right decisions based on their ideas becoming reality.

We have certainly learned a few things from having a few years of parenting under our belt but that doesn’t mean we don’t still question EVERYTHING we do as parents. Each child is different and parenting them best requires different techniques. If we are honest, we ask ourselves all the time if we are getting it right. As a parent, you always wonder whether you’re doing your job right. Parenting is a massive responsibility that’s ever evolving as your children age.

Sometimes the best feedback comes directly from our kids. Ever wonder what your kids really think of your parenting? These parents got the chance to find out in this video.

Children of all ages rely heavily on their parents to prepare them for whatever upcoming challenges they may face. That’s why Office Depot OfficeMax offers all of the back to school supplies your children need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Every little thing you do for your children is noticed and appreciated. Help them grow up to be just like the parents they admire.

Gear up for school

Office Depot® OfficeMax® wants to encourage everyone to have a great back to school time by giving one of you a $25 Office Depot® OfficeMax® gift card! Be sure to watch the video above and leave a comment here telling me what thing you do to inspire your kids to be great.