Hello Justin. You are correct to be concerned. Your instinct is for her to seek help. I completely agree. You have tried all that you can. You help her when she feels frightened. You reassure her that everything will be okay. She is very fortunate to have your help. You are able to calm her down temporarily but it seems that these episodes continue to occur. At this time, she needs more help than you can offer.
I would encourage you to do one or several of the following:
- Speak to your parents. They may have good advice for you. They can support you and perhaps her as well. Your parents could also serve as a source of support if you decide to approach her parents about your concerns. It is also possible that your parents could speak to her parents, on your behalf.
- Speak to her parents. I am not sure what type of relationship (if any) you have with her parents but if you feel comfortable, you may want to approach them on her behalf. You can inform her parents that she is concerned about their reaction. She may be upset if you tell them but it is in her best interest for her parents to know the truth.
- Offer to be there when she speaks to her parents. If you accompany her, she may feel less frightened.
Another idea, if she’s not willing to tell her parents, is to encourage her to write them a letter. The idea is that you want to encourage her to tell her parents. If she’s not comfortable telling her parents, perhaps she would be willing to tell a school counselor, the school nurse, a trusted teacher, or another family member. I cannot identify what precisely is causing her panic-like episodes but the sooner she seeks treatment, the sooner they can be dealt with.
Perhaps she is frightened about what is ultimately the cause of her problems. She may also worry about being labeled with a mental health disorder. This is speculation. The goal for you is to encourage her to seek help. That’s all you can do. You cannot force someone into treatment if they do not want it. Keep encouraging her. Do the best you can. I hope for her sake, she takes your advice.
I wish you luck, Justin. Your girlfriend is lucky to have a caring person in her life. Please consider writing back and letting me know the outcome of this situation. Thanks for writing.