You never felt it coming. You felt happy and safe. This was never supposed to be like this. It sneaks up on you like your biggest nightmare, forcing your body to shut down. You feel strange, your body aches, you lose your breath. The world has never felt so closed, and you've never felt so alone. Your heart is pounding through your chest, dropping to the floor with every single beat. The movements of your body become faster and faster the longer it takes for you to find the source of all of this: the panic attack.
Granted, everyone is different with how their panic attacks happen, but this is my story on my anxiety and history of panic attacks. It started when I was in fourth grade and had severe anxiety attacks without knowing truly what that meant. I would miss school, and wouldn't eat or sleep for days. Being only nine, I felt so alone. I was never medicated because I eventually gained control over my anxiety. Then it got worse.
I never thought I could be so anxious and depressed again, but then I became a high school sophomore. Again, high school is different for everyone, but my sophomore year was a living hell. I had never, and I mean never, felt so suffocated or hurt in my life. I lost my appetite, sleep, and my will to live all because of panic attacks. The panic attacks I began to have were mild, until they manifested into Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Severe Depression, as my psychiatrist diagnosed me. I would have never guessed that having panic attacks could turn into something so life threatening.
My heart was weak, my body was shaking, and my mind was running rapidly with feelings and thoughts. I began picking my skin, scratching my arms, and doing anything to hurt myself for distraction, all because of panic attacks. I missed over 75% of my sophomore year of high school because of panic attacks. I have missed so much of life because of panic attacks.
That same year, I began taking medication to help control my panic attacks. The medicine took months to finally kick in, and I had to take the highest dosage possible. To this day, I am still taking this medication, but my body is no longer accepting the help. The panic attacks have gotten worse and I've been missing school and work again, all because of panic attacks. But this time, I reached out for help and got what I needed. I'm now taking two types of medication to stay on track with my life.
The morale of this article is really for those who struggle with the same thing. Their hearts beating through their chest, their bodies shaking, their minds racing. This one is for you. Seek help, reach out to people, and become a stronger person. Seeking help and getting help is not weak, nor wrong. I have gotten the help I needed, and now it can be your turn.