Chandra: Anxiety Disorder

by PammyMcB

Personal Reaction

I felt the video was very informative, and allowed me to see what depressive disorders might look like in a student. However, they spoke very little about anxiety, and I felt this was a better case for discussing depressive disorders than anxiety disorders. I know how anxiety attacks look for me, but I would have liked to learn how an anxiety attack might look in another individual so that I may understand what to look for in students.

Essential Points

What is Anxiety Disorder? For Chandra, anxiety disorder is a reaction to her extreme depression. She states that her anxiety disorder first showed up shortly after 9/11 when she was in the eighth grade. Chandra exhibited extreme depressive episodes that resulted in uncontrollable crying. She stated that she soon became isolated and would lie on the couch, eat and sleep. Chandra also stated that she often felt lost, alone, and paranoid that others were speaking about her. When Chandra began to feel down, she started cutting on herself because she felt a release. The episodes of cutting attributed to mixed feelings of happiness and pride, but also guilt. Chandra said that sometimes she not only felt depressed, but she also began to feel numb, which would lead to more cutting. Chandra also stated that she began to feel physiological responses to the bouts of depression such as stomachaches and headaches. Chandra also stated that her parents have a history of mental illness. She said all of her maternal relatives have been diagnosed with depressive disorders, and some of her paternal relatives have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

Affects of Anxiety Disorder on Education. Chandra’s grades suffered as a result of her disorder. She was no longer a good student or a popular student. Chandra stated that public school was too overcrowded, which added to her anxiety. At public school, Chandra felt lost and alone, and she spent most of the time crying in the restroom. Because teachers did not understand her disorder, they began to treat her differently and ignore her. Chandra spent a month and a half out of school, which means she was behind her peers. Chandra’s inability to thrive in the public school setting led to placement in a special school for students with mood disorders. Chandra states that her grades are much better and she is the president of the student council for the second year. Coping skills have been placed directly in Chandra’s individual education program, which gives her the opportunity to learn how to deal with stressful situations.

Social Implications. Chandra social life was affected by her depressive/anxiety disorder. When she first began to show signs of the disorder, Chandra’s friends stopped talking with her. She states that she knew the reason is that her cutting scared them. Other students it the school began to treat Chandra as if she were a freak. Chandra began to become isolated in her school, even the teachers failed to be socially active with her. Chandra felt tremendous amount of guilt for the affects her behavior had on her family members. She states that her brother was confused and scared for her. However, he first felt that Chandra was faking. Now that he understands the disorder, her brother is a source of support, and he is nicer and speaks with her more. When Chandra is down, her brother helps her and makes things for her. Chandra’s parents both have mental illness. Due to the stress of having to deal with their own illness, Chandra felt her problems overwhelmed them. She does state, though, her understanding of her own illness helped Chandra to begin to understand her parents’ mental illnesses. Chandra states that she now has a lot of friends who are supportive and understanding of her difficulties, because they too have mood disorders.

Application of the Essential Points

I feel this video will help me to understand that some children in my classroom may not be able to control depressive moods or behaviors. I have learned that I need to not isolate these students from the classroom. Instead, I should let them know that I am there for them, and they are not alone. Hopefully, treating students in a manner that I would wish to be treated would help them keep from feeling a sense of abandonment and isolation. I will be sure to watch for signs of depression and anxiety in my students so that I may be able to be a source of support for the student.

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