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xivvy's avatar

Situational fainting/paranoia problem?

Asked by xivvy (33points) October 15th, 2011

I’m in high school and I have a history with fainting, which usually happens during a health or science class. However over the past couple of years I’ve been somewhat successful in fighting the faint spells. I’m able to remain conscious yet I still experience the dizziness, sweat, and weakness.

This school year I’m taking AP Psychology. I enjoyed the class very much when it first started, but a few weeks ago we watched a video about a man who had a pole shot through his head in a mining accident and lived, and it showed how it affected his personality afterwards and all of that. The video was repulsive and really got to me in a bad way, and I almost fainted.

Ever since we watched that video, I’ve been experiencing anxiety during the class. I’m constantly shaking and paranoid I’m going to have to endure something like that again, and scared that I’ll actually faint again in class and have to deal with all of the negative attention it brings. I can’t enjoy the class as much as I used to and I honestly don’t know what to do about it.

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Ask the teacher of the class to let you know what is coming up. Forewarned is forearmed. Once you know the topics will not include another gross video, you can relax and enjoy again.

xivvy's avatar

@marinelife Most of the time I already know nothing is going to happen though, I’ve just somehow conditioned my body to believe that this particular classroom/teacher means danger. We could be discussing love and relationships and I’ll still feel anxious.

gailcalled's avatar

Have you tried to deal with your anxiety in a safe environment in order to learn some tricks?

Flor example, talk therapy, breathing exercises, visualization in a non-threatening place can teach you some coping mechanisms.

marinelife's avatar

@xivvy It is one thing to know in your mind that nothing is going to happen and quite another to have the teacher tell you that noting is going to happen so that you can count on it.

xivvy's avatar

@gailcalled Usually what I do if I feel like I’m about to faint is scribble on a piece of paper. That keeps me from fainting but still leaves me feeling sick. It’s the only coping mechanism that has worked for me, but I can’t scribble all class period, you know?

gailcalled's avatar

Have you looked into whether there is an emotional component that triggers it?

Have you tried talking with a trained therapist? He may have ideas and suggestions that deal with the root causes. Is the scribbling some sort of distraction? Do you have related issues in other classes or in other non-academic situations?

What about worry beads? Here for info

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Pandora's avatar

At this point your probably more afraid actually fainting in class than what is making your faint.
Try four things.
One, watch repulsive stuff at home with a friend from class. Try to desensitize yourself. This will also prepare your classmate and they will know what to do and will give you the assurance of keeping you safe while unconcious.
Two give them some smelling salts to wake you up.
Three find something in the class or take with you something you enjoy looking at.
Fourth is something I use to do to calm my nerves before a job interview. I would listen to a discs of my favorite music that I found calming and inspiring. (yanni) I would listen to it and then let the last song play over and over in my head before the interview. This would help me calm myself down and realize that in a few minutes I could be done with the interview and back to listening to my music again. It was my reward for making it through the interview calmly.
@marinelife Also has a great idea for you to try.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

Do you feel faint at the sight of blood or needles? That is more common than you think. I used to be that way. I actually passed out during the blood test for my marriage license.
I finally got so mad at myself I signed up for a first aid class and learned a lot. Then went on to become an EMT and joined a volunteer ambulance service and worked 2000+ hours of active service. While there, I saw all kinds of things under stress and never once had the urge to pass out. I now know I have the confidence and experience to handle anything. It is a good feeling.
I still don’t like having blood drawn so I have learned to distract myself by pinching the inside of my palm. It works for me. It might work for you.

On the bright side, (there is always a bright side to everything) most likely, you will never be an IV drug abuser. Congratulations.

nikipedia's avatar

The level of anxiety you’re describing is pretty extreme. Is seeing a professional therapist an option for you?

xivvy's avatar

@worriedguy I’ve never had a problem with needles. In the video I talked about, it wasn’t particularly the visuals that upset me, it was the groans the man was making. Like, his in-serious-pain noises. Does that make sense? Anyway, what you suggested actually sounds like it would help me. I’ll definitely try it.

@nikipedia I suppose so, but most likely as a last resort. Is it really that extreme?

EmptyNest's avatar

I’ve seen that picture also in my psych 101 class in college. It is rather disturbing. If those images disturb you, I would check with your doctor about a medical reason to drop the class. Make sure you are getting protein every morning. An egg or meat or peanut butter. You should have a check up to make sure you aren’t anemic. Good luck! :-)

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