Something is obviously wrong. Your symptoms are telling you something. You are not sure if you are having panic attacks. Though I cannot know with certainty, your symptoms seem consistent with panic attacks. You would need a psychiatric evaluation to determine a diagnosis.
As you noted, extreme anxiety is often rooted in the fear of losing control. But there’s a difference between fear of losing control and being out of control. It’s possible that some aspects of your life are out of control and thus you are reacting with panic. I would need more information to know what the problem might be.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these problems have coincided with your first year of college. People have ideas about how college is “supposed” to be. Their expectations rarely line up with reality.
You might be taking too many classes or chose the wrong major or the wrong group of friends. You might also lack stress management and coping skills. Studies show that college students are experiencing mental health problems at epidemic levels. The heart of the problem often involves an inability to tolerate stress and manage life problems. The good news is that these skills can be learned in counseling.
I would recommend that you begin counseling. When you return to school in the fall, you can then utilize the schools counseling center for more assistance. The bottom line is that depression and anxiety are highly treatable conditions. You will feel a great deal of relief once your symptoms are under control. It would be unwise to ignore these symptoms or to simply hope they will go away. Both anxiety and depression tend to worsen without treatment. Don’t suffer with treatable problems. Treatment will be immensely beneficial. I hope you will try it.
Dr. Kristina Randle