Panic attacks feel different for every person; no two people will experience an attack exactly the same way even if they both feel the same symptoms. Some people outwardly express their panic while others space out and draw into themselves. Either way, panic attacks are much more than just a pounding heart (even though that is a common part of them). People experiencing panic attacks will often feel like they are dying or having a heart attack--it can be an out of body experience for some people.
1. Feeling like you want to crawl out of your own skin
It's like being locked in a room with no doors or windows--no way out. You just want to escape from the terrible panic that is encompassing your entire body, but you have no way to do so. It feels like you have completely lost your mind and you just want to rip your skin off to be free of the panic.
2. Intolerance to repetitive or loud noises
Panic attacks very often come hand in hand with sensory overload. Any loud noises can feel like someone is taking a jackhammer to your brain and when you are already in the middle of a panic episode, that can be the last straw. This is why people will often lash out and get angry if they are panicking and there are too many people talking or people are talking too loudly.
3. Tunnel vision
Tunnel vision varies based on the person, but essentially it is like you've lost all of your peripheral vision and can now only see what is right in front of you. Your vision becomes blurred and this can lead to a sense of derealization and increase someone's panic particularly if they have never experienced this symptom before.
Panic attacks can make people very jumpy--adrenaline is coursing through the person at unnatural rates and this causes a fight or flight instinct. Things such as sudden movements or surprises can make someone experiencing a panic attack even more nervous as they are overly cautious of their surroundings at that moment. Paranoia can also refer to the feeling of never knowing when another panic attack might occur so that person is constantly on edge just waiting for another one to strike.
5. Sensitivity to anything touching you
Heat, cold, human touch, certain fabrics--all of these things can become strikingly different when you are experiencing a panic attack. For some people, a drastic change in temperature can almost "shock" the panic out of their system (personally if I take a freezing cold shower, it will pull me mostly out of an episode). However, this also goes for someone even just placing their hand on your shoulder; to someone suffering from a panic attack, that small gesture could be completely overwhelming.
Some people cannot sit still when they are experiencing a panic attack; this ranges from constantly drumming one's fingers on a desk to excessive pacing. This ties back into the feeling of wanting to jump out of your own skin; moving for some reason helps relieve some of the panic at times because when you sit still it can feel like it's just festering.
7. Excessive Sweating
Nerves can make anyone feel warmer or become sweatier, so imagine a panic attack where you essentially just become a ball of nervousness. Not a pretty picture to paint and it does not feel great either.
8. Nausea and vomiting
Nausea is a big one when it comes to panic attacks and anxiety in general; particularly with those who also experience tremors. The adrenaline coursing through one's body can just overwhelm someone completely to the point where their body just expels whatever is in it. This is common with people who experience severe tremors because not only are they experiencing a mental toll, but the shaking movement of the tremors is extremely taxing on the body and can cause an upset stomach.
9. Feeling like your legs are gone or like you are floating
This is a big one with me personally. It almost feels like someone took your legs and replaced them with marshmallows; there is something there, but it is not remotely as sturdy as legs normally are.
10. Severe shaking and tremors
This can honestly be one of the worst parts because you cannot stop the shaking--it's an involuntary reaction by your body. Sometimes attempting to keep yourself from shaking can actually make your anxiety feel worse because you're tightening muscles that are already severely wound up. This is a symptom that can also make you feel somewhat nauseous from the movement of it.
11. Hysterical crying
This one is pretty self explanatory, but basically it is like all your emotions bubbling over in the form of tears. People cry for many reasons when experiencing a panic attack; ranging from anything such as fear to guilt to disappointment in themselves (even though they have no reason to feel bad about themselves because they have no control over it).
This is when for some people they have what feels like an out of body experience; you feel like you are watching yourself and that what is happening to you is actually happening to someone else. This can be one of the scariest parts of a panic attack.