The Bowling Alley is too Loud

by Hannah
(Portland)

It's the day after halloween, I got 5 hours of sleep last night, and I barely had lunch. I am a 14 year old living in a family with very high expectations, and I have an overly controlling mom.

My whole family got into the car to go to the bowling alley for my 10 year old sister's birthday party. Thirteen kids were invited, and somehow we only got two lanes, which meant that I didn't get to bowl. I sat around for about five minutes, but the bowling alley was so damn loud and I was getting a headache.

I was already upset that I would have to sit there doing nothing for the next two hours, so I asked my dad if I could walk home (since the bowling alley is 5 blocks from our house). My mom often gets mad at my dad for letting us do things that she doesn't approve of, and he would have let me, so of course he said that I had to ask my mom.

I asked her and she immediately said no. "I am not letting you walk by yourself on such a busy street!" were her exact words, which doesn't even make sense because I go on runs by myself that are way farther than the distance from the bowling alley to our house, and that there are fucking sidewalks on the "busy street", so it's not like I'm going to get hit by a car anyways.

My eyes started watering, but I tried to hold the tears back. I sat back down, put my earbuds in, and starting playing games on my phone.

Not even 5 minutes later, my dad came over and told me that I needed to be "more engaged" in the party, even though they wouldn't let me bowl. I shook my head and went back to my phone screen. He walked away, and came back after another 5 minutes. I took my earbuds out, only to have the headache that I hadn't realized had subsided suddenly return, and my head felt like it was pounding.

"Come on, at least come down by the kids" my dad said, but I was about 3 seconds away from bursting into tears from the noise, and I had also started hyperventilating, so I just shook my head and told him I was going to the bathroom.

I walked as fast as I could and locked myself in a bathroom stall, then started crying, letting it all out. I felt the tears slowing down, even though I wanted to scream, and i walked out of my stall and dried my eyes with a paper towel at the sink. I slowed my breathing down, but when I walked out of the bathroom I saw my mom marching straight towards me, her face twisted up in anger and annoyance.

Before she could scold me, I started crying again, and said "i have a really bad headache, I just want to go home." "Fine," she said, "I'll see if I can get someone to give you a ride."

We walked over to where all the moms were standing, and convinced my sister's friend's mom to give me a ride home. The drive was one big long awkward silence, but I finally got home.

As soon as I walked inside, I started bawling again. I cried and screamed for another ten minutes, before getting on my computer, doing some quick research, realizing that this was a full scale anxiety attack, and that my trigger was the fucking noise at the bowling alley, and how am i going to tell my parents what was going on with me, since i'm supposed to be the perfect child, and now i am telling this story to the whole internet.

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Nov 03, 2015

by: jude @ anxietyunravelled

Hi Hannah,

Sounds like you’ve been having a horrible time. And yes, it certainly sounds like an anxiety attack. Too little sleep, not enough food, and some tension between you and your parents set the scene and then noise, frustration and resistance to the circumstances you found yourself in were the triggers.

Not to mention the fact you’re 14 years old, and that’s a pretty sucky age. You are developing insight, knowledge and your own opinions but are still powerless and dependent on your family. And of course your body is under stress trying to deal with all those new hormones etc.

Hmm, pretty difficult.

Is there someone you can confide in? Is there an adult/teacher/counselor at school that you trust? Can you speak to your dad about this if it’s too hard to talk to your mum?

There are lots of things that you can do that will help you feel more settled and resilient and you’ll find plenty of suggestions on this site. But, it would really help if you had some support.

Perhaps your parents would be happy to have you take up yoga and meditation? These are two things that will make a really positive impact on your life and you wouldn’t need to go into the reasons why in any depth. You could just say that you want to do some things that are good for you and help you manage stress.

Hopefully, this has all blown over by now and you’re feeling a bit better. But if you can start taking some steps now to settle your nervous system this will be a fantastic help for you for the rest of your life.

Let me know how you go.

All the best,
Jude

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