Military kid says, "I'm having a panic attack!"

You probably don't want to hear this but missing a parent when they go away is normal. As a military kid you are probably very familiar with missing your parent when they are deployed. What you may NOT know is that for some kids all the worrying and changes can create significant anxiety. The common symptoms of anxiety are excessive worry, trouble sleeping, not thinking clearly and/or feeling irritable. For some kids, a lot of anxiety all at one time might feel like a panic attack.

Anxiety may increase depending on the thoughts you have. Thinking about the safety of your parent is a common source of anxiety for military kids. Anxiety can be worse if there are uncertainties such as when will they come home, where are they now and how will you keep in touch. High levels of anxiety may cause you to stay at home and lose touch with your friends. Before your parent leaves, you may not want to be apart from them. If your parent has returned from a deployment you may constantly worry they will have to be re-deployed.

Try some of the tips below to help. If you really feel distressed it would definitely be helpful to talk to your parent.

Helpful Tips:

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! Believe it or not, exercise can reduce anxiety and help you relax.
  • Try not to drink caffeine drinks, such as soda, energy drinks, coffee or tea. Caffeine actually increases feelings of anxiety.
  • Listen to a guided imagery to relax. Mobile applications, the internet and music stores all have ones you can try.
  • Practice calm breathing when you get stressed. There's an app for that — Breathe2Relax is created by the same Department of Defense organization that created this website.
  • Try expressing your frustrations to someone you trust or by journaling.
  • Build your confidence in yourself by writing 3 positive thoughts about yourself every day.