Junior relies of friends, family to overcome anxiety

By: Kaylee Olson

As she feels her hands start to shake, her heart start to race and her throat to close, junior Emma Weimerskirch knew something was wrong. She was presenting to Peet Junior High students about broadcast journalism on Feb. 2 when she felt something that she has never felt before, and as she walked out of the class, everything went black. Weimerskirch was about to have the worst anxiety attack she has ever had.

She was unconscious for 10 minutes, causing her to remember nothing that had happened.

As Weimerskirch woke up in the ambulance, all she could see were the bright lights and feel the straps holding her down on the stretcher, which is when she started to scream and cry. She was beyond scared, had no idea what was going on and had no one with her as she arrived at the hospital.

Upon arrival, they ran many sets of tests to see what was going on, but they couldn’t quite figure out what had caused the blackout. It took the the nurses half of an hour to calm her down enough to start to run more tests.

Weimerskirch’s mom was in Chicago, and her dad was in the hospital for an unrelated reason at the time, so she was all alone. Her sister LeKeisha, who lives in Arizona, got ahold of her when she arrived at the hospital and helped reassure her everything was going to be OK.

LeKeisha told Emma that she was getting anyone possible down to the hospital to comfort her. Emma’s friend and journalism classmate, junior Julie Jorgensen (who was with her when this all happened) was also there at the hospital, and Diana Kraemer (a good family friend), arrived later to sit with Weimerskirch until she was released.

Weimerskirch has been dealing with anxiety attacks since she was 13. She always knew that she would get it as both of her sisters and her mom deal with anxiety too. It was just when and where was she going to have her first anxiety attack she had to worry about.

When she first had her attack at age 13, she had no idea what it was, and she had no idea that those early attacks could get as bad as they are now. Weimerskirch doesn’t want to share what triggers her anxiety, but she said she wants people to know that if you are dealing with anxiety, that you shouldn’t be embarrassed, and it’s OK to have anxiety.

She suggests if you feel that you might be relating to this, you should talk to your parents about going to the doctor. The doctor can give you calming medicine that will dramatically help you with the anxiety, and the doctor will also give some helpful tips.

Weimerskirch said it was difficult for her to tell her parents that she was experiencing this day-to-day problem, that if she said it out loud, it all became real. After she told her very accepting parents, she felt more comfortable with telling her closest friends and being able to deal with it herself.

Everyone’s anxiety is different. For most people, it’s stress of a big test or picking out what to wear, but there are other types like Weimerskirch’s where it’s the constant feeling of being anxious for no specific reason.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects 40 million adults 18 or older in the United States. ADAA also says that anxiety disorders cost the United States $42 billion a year for treatments and tests. ADAA says that people with anxiety disorders are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.

Weimerskirch said that her attacks last anywhere from two to five minutes, and she could get one every week to monthly. Most people like Weimerskirch know when they are about to have an anxiety attack. For her, getting an anxiety attack triggers pains in her chest and blotches from her neck down to her chest. After a couple of minutes of that happening, she starts to shake, and when that starts, she panics, which next causes her throat to close up, and she can’t breath. Anxiety attacks don’t just mean she’s nervous. They affect her mentally and physically.

Emma said she prays that she will never ever have to go through that again, and she would never wish that experience on anyone.

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