Aisha decided to go outside and play with her friends. They decided to cycle around the park for a bit. After just a few minutes she noticed that her breath is shorter, and she also coughed twice. Aisha gets scared that something bad is going to happen to her, so she decides to head back home. As she is walking home, she also feels tightness in her chest and starts to feel a bit dizzy. Once she is at home, she starts crying and locks herself in her room, saying to her parents that she’ll never go outside to play with her friends ever again. She spends days in her room and avoids leaving the house as much as she can because she feels safe at home. She misses school a lot because she does not want to experience these scary symptoms when her parents are not next to her. Some of her friends feel like she does not care about them and think that Aisha avoids them, because she did not tell them that she has a respiratory illness. Aisha starts to feel lonely, and sad, and does not know what do to.
Is there something that Aisha could have done differently?
If Aisha tried to UNDERSTAND THE CAUSE of her shortness of breath, she might have come up with an alternative and more truthful explanation for it. She has not been cycling in a few months so her physical ability was not as good as she thought it would be and this is why she could not catch a breath! ‘’What about the cough?’’ you ask. Well, Aisha is allergic to cats and one of her friends had a new kitten, so her clothes were covered in fur.
What does it mean?
Aisha did not STOP TO INVESTIGATE what was happening and removed herself from the situation the second she experienced some difficulty breathing. She became worried and JUMPED TO A CONCLUSION that her symptoms of anxiety, so feeling dizzy and experiencing tightness in her chest, were a sign of her respiratory condition getting out of control.
Aisha did not TALK to her parents when she got home, so did not have a chance to hear that perhaps her understanding of the situation was not accurate and that there is an ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION. In her mind, Aisha made a connection between leaving the house to play with friends and experiencing physical symptoms of illness, which made her FEEL scared. She figured that if she never leaves the house again, she will be safe. She started AVOIDING things and places she liked and even though it gave her some sense of RELIEF at first, in the LONG RUN she felt sad, lonely, and lost some of her friendships.