I get a panic attack every time I see my ex-boyfriend/abuser.

Female, 14 years old, PA

Question/Issue:

Is it normal to be terrified every time I see my ex-boyfriend/abuser? Because every time I see him in public, I have a panic attack.

Teen Line Wrote: 

Thank you for contacting Teen Line. I am so glad that you reached out to us. It must be so hard to have to see your ex-boyfriend/abuser sometimes then experience these panic attacks. I want you to know that it is completely normal for you to be having these reactions. It is perfectly normal to be scared and terrified around this person when abuse is associated with him. It must have been really tough and scary to have to see him and have to revisit that time in your life.

It sounds like you may have some PTSD from your past abusive relationship by the fear you said you are feeling. I want to give you some resources on how to cope with your fears, how to understand the, and how to maybe overcome them: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/ptsd-symptoms-self-help-treatment.htm – this is a resource that will help you understand what PTSD is and how you can help yourself cope with it. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/traumatic-stress.htm this is a resource that can give you support on how to deal with the dramatic stress when you are having a panic attack. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_loxoCVsWqzLptVD96E-DOlzWhbXT_H8 This is  Kati Morton’s YouTube channel regarding to PTSD. Kati Morton is an online therapist and a great resource that can provide you support and guide you through your fear.

I also want to give you some information to some ways that can help you deal with your panic attacks. Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to help you feel more calm and less stressed the next time you see him. Here are some useful resources: https://www.calm.com/ is a website that will lead you through guided meditations that can help you calm down and be more intune with your sense. After a panic attack or during, this can help you release some of that panic and stress. http://mindfulnessforteens.com/ is a website that will also give you some techniques on how to be more at peace.

Again, thank you so much for reaching out. It was so brave of you to share what’s going on. I want to encourage you to call in to Teen Line if you want to talk more about this at (800) 852-8336. You can also text “TEEN” to 839863 if you feel more comfortable communicating through text.

I hope you find these resources helpful because you deserve support. Stay strong.

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