What It Feels Like To Suffer From Panic Attacks

Carolina Bello

Like stopping. It feels like that record scratch moment in comedic movies where everything freezes and there’s a close up, usually at unflattering angle, of someone’s face and they’re trying to explain in a run-on sentence (not unlike this one) how exactly they got here. Only there isn’t anything funny. And there isn’t anything to laugh at. And there isn’t even really an explanation. There’s just you, and your heart palpitations, trying to make everything stop spinning.

Sometimes your fingertips go numb. In a way that you legitimately can’t explain. It’s like when you knock your funny bone, or sit on one foot for too long. But it’s exponentially less curable. And instead of being localized, it radiates through your fingers, your arms, your shoulders, your chest, your torso, your stomach, your thighs, your shins, your toes, before reverberating back up and making your brain vibrate in a way that you can only describe as, “Not okay…not okay at all.” Sometimes you can’t even taste when it’s happening. Coffee, water, wine, chocolate, another person. It all blends together in an inexplicable way because you’re so removed from your own body.

It’s fight or flight; and you’re definitely not involved in the decision making.

It feels like vibrating in the least fun way you could possibly describe. You’re the rubberband that was snapped and you haven’t settled yet. You’re just existing. Tense. Tight. Pulled. Waiting until you are able to exhale and relax and stop holding yourself taught. You overanalyze every word that comes out of your mouth. You can hear the tension between each syllabal. You know other people can too and they’re judging you for it. That they hate you for it. That they don’t get it and that explaining it wouldn’t make sense, it would make it an excuse. You hate the idea of being an excuse.

It feels like failure. It feels like losing control over the most base level thing: yourself. It feels like an out of body experience in which you’re watching yourself flail and spiral and become this completely inept version of yourself with absolutely no way of intervening. So you sit there, bile bubbling at the back of your throat while you try to appear okay, attempting to preserve the illusion of normality. The facade of fine. The ruse of all right.

Even though you’re not.

You’re not you’re not you’re not.

And you’re not sure when you’ll feel otherwise. TC mark

I asked women to be honest about their Instagram photos

“The essays in this book are short and sweet, and incredible. Love love loved this.” — Alex

“I’m so in love with this book! It’s so moving and some of the stories bring me to tears not because it’s sad, but because it’s relatable and shows that we’re not alone.” — Kendra

This is the reality of Instagram...

More From Thought Catalog