I’m witting this in the midst of a panic attack… Albeit the last portion of this attack as I want to share with everyone how unpleasant and hard it is. No sugar coating. Just raw, real panic.
Imagine this: You’re completely fine. You’re smiling, laughing with your family and relaxing… you’re planning your week. You’re fine. Feeling normal. Then — out of nowhere — without warning, your brain tells your body it is in danger, so your body reacts by going into fight-or-flight mode, fighting to survive. It happens so randomly that when it hits you, you feel completely rattled. Every. Single. Time.
The panic attacks don’t get any less intense
In fact, they just get worse. All of a sudden you cannot breathe. Your body starts shaking involuntarily, your legs feel weak and you cannot walk. You feel stuck in your own mind and the walls are closing in. You break out into cold sweats. You’re hot one minute and shivering the next. Your tongue feels so heavy that forming words become difficult. You start hyperventilating, struggling to breathe. Sounds are amplified in your head. It. Is. So. Loud. You want it to stop. Your vision goes blurry. It feels like your body is shutting down. Like you’re floating away.
You fight and it takes everything you have. You would give everything you own to feel okay. You think to yourself “it is just a panic attack. Breathe!” but your brain says, “it is real” and you believe it because you are feeling every. single. physical symptom. Your heart is racing so fast that you can hear it in your head. Someone talks to you but you cannot understand what they are saying, so you need to piece the words together. You need to piece together what to say in return because it is so difficult to speak. There is so much noise.
Your body feels heavy
Why does it feel so heavy? Why is it so bright? Why is the world so big? You feel like the world is swallowing you whole. You look around, but your eyes cannot properly take everything in. Why is it so loud? Why is it so bright? You try to drink some water but your hands feel like they cannot move. You cannot lift the water. In your head, you can see yourself being whisked away on a hospital gurney. You can hear your family crying and screaming. You can hear the beep beep of the machines hooked up to you and you think of your loved ones. You think about what they would do if you didn’t pull through. Why is it so loud? Why can’t you stop shaking? Why does your head feel like it’s being torn open? So much pain.
You want it to stop
Your head hurts and you don’t have the energy to cry. You start vomiting. You’re still shaking. You feel like you’re losing your mind. You want to bash your head against a wall, to quiet it down. The world is so big. Why is it so bright? You’re feeling cold. Then hot. Then cold. You want someone to make it stop because people are staring. You feel terrible. People are pointing at you so you want to find a secluded space to hide. You don’t feel safe.
You cannot take it much longer. You run or pace to a secluded spot. It takes everything you have to get away and you question why this is your life. You see people in a blur and wonder for a moment how it feels to not be at war with your own mind. You’re still shaking. You want to feel safe. You want to sleep because your brain and body are exhausted and you just want it to stop.
You would give anything to make it stop
You wake up the next day and think to yourself “Today I’ll be okay” and guess what? Some days you are, and some days it will prove to be one of your worst days. You want to live a normal life. You want to have plans and follow them through. You don’t want to be a prisoner in your own mind.
Instead, you isolate yourself. You isolate yourself so you can be okay. The world isn’t safe for you. Nowhere is safe for you. You don’t have the energy to go out. To smile and pretend you aren’t fighting with yourself in your head. To pretend you’re not struggling to breathe. To pretend you aren’t shaking with anxiety. To pretend you’re “normal”. You go into a deep depression. A deep, dark, hole. You see people passing you by — full of colour and warmth. You wish you could be like them. How do they do it?
This is anxiety. This is panic. This is depression.
Now imagine the exact same thing happening. Over and over again. Every. Single. Day. Not always in the same order and intensity, but when you are going through dark days you don’t remember the good days at all. The dark days are so intense it clouds your mind and fills it with dread. What is positivity? You are unable to feel it. You’re exhausted. You want to be okay.