Wednesday 16 December 2015


It's problem time again on DREAMCATCHER, and reader Elise has a dilemma for Summer Tanberry to solve… will you agree with Summer's advice?

Elise says:
I'm in Year Seven at school and my friends are a bit like a roller coaster ride… exciting at times but mostly scary. I have lots of friends, but they all have best friends, someone more important than me, and sometimes I feel alone and invisible. Lots of the girls I was close to in primary have gone off with other people, but I seem to be stuck. I also have panic attacks triggered by loud/ unexpected noises like the fire alarm for example, and this really chips away at my confidence. Some days I just have no self-esteem and doubt myself in every way. It's especially hard at this time of year when everyone is sharing presents and Christmas outings. How can I rebuild my confidence?

Summer says:
First of all, I understand about the panic attacks… I've been there too. For me, they happened when I put myself in very high pressure situations, so I stepped back from that for a while and worked on my confidence and they attacks have faded. Being panicked by loud noises is not unusual… you're triggered by the anxiety you sense around you when a fire drill takes place, and your body reacts before your brain has a chance to reason that the alarm is just a drill. Often, rapid breathing is at the root of a panic attack, so train yourself to breathe slowly and shallowly if you can - breathing into a
paper bag is a very simple tactic that can help. You have friends, but I think you're unsettled by the way things do naturally change in Year Seven. Yes, people do make new
friends, but that doesn't mean they are rejecting you… just adapting and going with the flow. You can push yourself out of your comfort zone a little by joining lunchtime or after school clubs and meeting new people… slowly, some of these new friendships may take root. Confidence is tricky to rebuild… sometimes, it feels like you are building on sand and the work you put in may slip and fall, or be washed away by the tide. Keep trying. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to someone else… and remember that you still have lots of upbeat, happy days.Those doubtful days may be linked to those growing up hormones… trust me, we have all been there! The Cathy Cassidy book LETTERS TO CATHY is a great self-help book with some fab sections on confidence and self-esteem… well worth getting hold of. Christmas can be hard for those who are struggling with friendships, but it won't always be this way… find the courage to give out little chocolate treat prezzies or ask a friend to go Christmas shopping and you may just deepen the relationships you already have. Good luck!

Cathy says:
Excellent advice from Summer… what would YOU add? COMMENT BELOW to have your say! If you have a problem for one of the sisters to answer, send it via the 'email Cathy' link over on and mark your email DREAMCATCHER problem...


  1. Don't worry, Elsie I too have little self confidence after something that has been happening to me at school plus I don't always think logically so it makes me feel stupid. You're not alone. I'd say get in there and try and talk to them and arrange things and talk to an adult you trust. If you can't arrange anything, try and find new friends;):). Good luck! Best wishes!
    PS-about panic attacks talk about them. This is just friendly advice BTW.

  2. don't worry many people feel that way. Even my 11,12 in a week year old big sis. she thought she had emontial problems, and it wasn't normal, she was getting that worked up and worried!

  3. libb, I have self esteem.



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