Inside A Panic Attack
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Inside A Panic Attack

A look at what it feels like to have your mind turn against you.

129
Inside A Panic Attack
DarkWallz

Recently I was asked what it felt like to have a panic attack. I wasn't totally sure how to respond. But I thought about it, and I looked at other things I've written on the matter, and I think I'm ready to respond...

It starts out with a trigger. Always.

Sometimes the trigger is a mystery. But usually you can trace an attack back to a specific moment; maybe something startled you, or maybe you were in a too-tight space. or maybe you thought about something traumatic...but suddenly it's happening and you're just along for the ride.

It's like a platform drops out from underneath you.

Maybe your palms start to sweat and you curl your hands into fists to keep anyone from noticing that your fingers have begun to tremble.

Your stomach curls in on itself and you start to feel sick. Sometimes you feel dizzy, go weak in the knees, can't see straight.

Your head begins to race. Holding onto a thought starts to feel like trying to catch water with a fork. You can't focus your worry, so it flies off into all directions, encompassing anything from immediate dangers, to the seemingly inevitable apocalypse of the universe. Your mind spins, sending these troublesome thoughts into a loop that seems impossible to break. Every noise, sudden movement, and sensation sets your nerves on high alert. Your skin feels like fire.

Oh-

And you forget how to breathe.

That most simple of instincts disappears.

You have to coach yourself through every inhale. Every exhale.

Your lungs won't hold enough air; they try to cough it back up, regarding oxygen as a foreign substance.

Often, there is a part of your brain screaming instructions. Breathe, move, calm down - and it only makes you more upset.

Because you can't.

You don't know how to catch your breath again. You don't know how to stop your mind from spinning.You don't know how to get it together. You know you're being irrational. But you're terrified of some foreign threat.

Every limb is shaking.

Crying doesn't help, but that doesn't stop it from happening.

You can't do it can't do it can not do it can'tdoit cannotdoitcan't.

You wonder if you're going crazy. You feel like you're trapped, like nowhere is safe. Everything is spinning and too loud.

It's horrible.

It's like drowning in a bathtub and not remembering how to stand up.

It's like being punched in the stomach and having the wind knocked out of you.

If you're lucky, it only lasts a few minutes, but the strain of pulling yourself through an attack can leave you feeling drained for hours afterwards.

I know how to deal with my panic attacks, more or less, but it still takes me a lot of time to come out of one once it's begun. So, to those who know me (and those who don't,) if I look like I can't breathe, or I can't stop crying (or laughing for that matter) hold my hand, remind me how to inhale, and give me a moment to catch my breath. Hand me a tissue. Offer me an ice pack to hold on to. Remind me that I've made it through this before and can do it again.

Panic attacks suck.

Fortunately, I know how to survive them.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Ronny Salerno

This feeling hurts. I must declare

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge

After all, isn't it the season of drinking...?

3373
10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge
https://unsplash.com/photos/d-SeLxF_QF0

Thanksgiving has officially ended which means we are in preparation for the final holidays of the year. December is a busy month, filled with shopping and sales, wrapping gifts, planning family gathering and parties, cooking and baking, holiday movies, and of course, lots of drinking. I know that I will be spending a lot of December watching the ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas,

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

11108
Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

15394
High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

11765
8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List
Unsplash.com

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments