Home » Ask the Therapist » What Is Happening to Me?

What Is Happening to Me?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Every time I get upset, my heart starts beating really fast and I continue to get worked up until I reach a point where I start crying uncontrollably and hyperventilating. My mind starts racing and thinking about every bad thing going on in my life and possible bad things that could happen. I am never able to calm myself down. The only way I have ever been able to do it is to self-injure. What could this be?

What Is Happening to Me?

Answered by on -


You might be describing panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when someone experiences an intense amount of fear. During these attacks, shortness of breath and rapid heart rate are common. Many people describe panic attacks as being frightening.

People who have panic attacks might have panic disorder. Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder. Panic attacks can co-occur with other disorders such as phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder, among others. A mental health evaluation could determine if a mental health disorder is present.

Self-injury is a maladaptive response to your symptoms. It might temporarily provide relief, but it is always wrong because it is you, hurting you and you should never hurt yourself. It is self-destructive and might ultimately make your symptoms worse. Treatment for panic disorder typically involves psychotherapy and medication. Some people also utilize meditation and relaxation techniques to ease their anxiety.

Panic disorder, and anxiety disorders in general, are highly treatable conditions. You should not continue to rely on self-injury as a method for treatment. Consider consulting a mental health professional. Seeking professional help is the most appropriate way to address this problem. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

What Is Happening to Me?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). What Is Happening to Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.