Ep. 22: How to cope with Anxiety and Panic Attacks as a Teenager image
S2 E22 · Teenage Kicks Podcast
Ep. 22: How to cope with Anxiety and Panic Attacks as a Teenager
153 Plays
3 years ago

Victoria Metal is a music teacher from North Carolina. At 25, she’s one of the youngest guests on Teenage Kicks, and much closer in age to my teenagers than she is to me. She talks about something I think is common to lots of teenagers, and adults, Depression.

Teenage depression and anxiety facts

Depression and anxiety among teens is common, with nearly a third presenting with symptoms of an anxiety disorder by the age of 18, with anxiety in teenage girls more than twice as common as it is in boys. Teenage years are some of the most stressful times of our lives, with the burden of needing to succeed academically, and social pressures adding to the intense experience of physical development and puberty.

What causes anxiety in teens?

Victoria describes what kickstarted her anxiety – school pressures, friendship issues and overwhelm. Just normal stuff, that so many families will relate to. As a young girl she spent hours on the floor of her bedroom listening to music, just to escape from her emotions. She also tells me about how she tried to ask for help, but didn’t manage to get the support she needed in time to prevent what happened later.

Why teenage mental health needs to be taken seriously

I was struck by how well Victoria coped as a teenager. Talking to her reminded me that being 18 doesn’t make you an adult, and that young people still need emotional support as they begin adult life.

Panic attacks and anxiety

Victoria did eventually get the support she needed, but not before suffering panic attacks at work, and eventually going back to the beginning, and working out the roots of her anxiety with her mother.

Whilst panic attacks in teens aren’t usual, Victoria’s story serves as a warning that teen mental health is as important to take care of as physical health to ensure symptoms don’t worsen further down the line.

Once you’ve finished listening, I’d urge you to go and download this episode of Victoria’s own podcast, The Intention Seekers. In it she reads through her graduation speech, which gave me goosebumps. “You are going to be missed” she told her class, and this is the sentiment she’d offer to those going through the anxiety and self-doubt that many teenagers experience:

You matter.

You are loved.

Keep going.

What can parents do?

For parents, this conversation with Victoria made me realise how difficult it is to identify and express your feelings at this age, and that actually, asking for help might cost them a LOT! Have a listen to how she first expressed her panic at the state of her emotional health at the age of 12 – it’s a little bit heartbreaking.

Find Victoria here

Further reading and support