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#actuallyautistic voices

Battle to Tame the Panic

Anxiety is something that affects many of our students at REV. Whether it manifests as stress, OCD, or panic, the crippling feelings of anxiety can impact health, communication, and so much more.

Nick has been struggling with anxiety for a while and has been studying ways to cope and manage his panic. He's also expressed how important it is to him to be able to give back to his community and to help others. The letter he's composed is just one step in that direction. If you know someone who experiences anxiety, please pass along Nick's helpful words.


Dear friend,

The frightening feeling of heart-stopping panic you feel is something i know so well. I know what it does to your body and brain. I know how it feels like you’re just going to die. I know what pressure you feel in your chest. I know and i’m forever sorry that you feel that pain. Hearing from other people trying to manage their anxiety helped me. I hope and pray what i share helps you.

My REV teacher presented the facts about panic. Did you know that some anxiety is productive? You need to have some in order to react to danger. The problem comes when your body mistakes lots of things as danger. Then the anxiety goes into overdrive, and it is no longer productive. The thing is that you need the rational part of your brain to remind you there is not real danger, but that part has fled screaming to the exit. Forget logic. The panic is in control.

To take control back alone is frankly impossible. I rely on someone supporting me to act as the thinker and holder of strategies. You need to build some good strategies and practice them when you’re not anxious. Since heat of panic may make it hard to use them, it’s a good idea to make sure your people know what helps.

For me, these are the things that help me. Maybe they will help you too. First, i’m working on paced breathing. Even if i can’t exactly get my body to cooperate, the idea still brings me calm. Go watch this video. If you’re like me and enjoy a catchy tune, it might make some impression on you. The strategy helps distract your brain from the insanity. Another thing i’m trying is consciously relaxing the parts of my body that feel tense. This is not easy. Getting my body to cooperate is hellishly hard when i’m calm. Trying to force it to work while i’m panicking takes the biggest effort in the world. Finally, medicine has played a significant role. It’s been something we’ve had to get right, and that took a lot of persistence on my mom’s part.

I don’t claim to be an expert so please don’t lose hope if my tips don’t make your anxiety disappear. Gaining some new tips from you may help me too. We’re kind of in this together.

Your friend,



The author points to letters to spell his words.

Nick is just an autistic guy trying to get his big voice out.

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