An Honest Account Of What It Feels Like To Have A Panic Attack

It’s 1:30 pm and the world is ending.

I’m sitting at my wide, grey desk at work, staring at my cell phone. I was triggered by something a friend said to me that I was blowing out of proportion.

So it’s 1:30 pm and the world is ending.

My body turns into a pressure cooker. Heat spreads from my heart to my limbs.

My face goes numb. My ears are going to fall off.

Every negative emotion that I experience – sadness, anger, guilt – washes over my neck and my shoulders in shooting pains.

I sweat all over. My heart races. My tea tastes like vomit. Nausea hits. I wheeze and I feel like my neck and shoulders are being stabbed repeatedly.

My mind is a minefield.

I’m worthless, I’m useless, this will never get better, there is truly no hope for me, I’ll never amount to anything if I remain this sensitive, no one loves me anyway, I always knew I was alone, everyone pities me, I’m a burden, I can’t get better, I don’t know how to be normal.

Ultimately, I’m better off dead.

My illness and my emotions are in complete control. My head is foggy and my entire operating system is down.

Then the anxiety kicks in and tears fall down my face. Everything awful that has ever happened in my life surfaces. Friends dying, toxic relationships, anything mean anyone has ever said to me, any mistake I’ve ever made.

I’m allowed to leave work.

I make a hasty decision to drive 40 minutes to a mental health emergency centre we have downtown.

I spend eight hours in the waiting room, where a psychiatrist reduces my panic attacks to “temper tantrums” and tells me she will only help me if I “act like an adult.”

I am a caged animal.

I pant until I’m calm. I practice my grounding exercises. It’s 10:30 pm when I’m allowed to leave.  My symptoms have subsided, and I’m free of the trauma for now.

Until next time. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ebbing and flowing my way through life.

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