Panic attacks are incredibly hard to explain. No one can truly understand until they experience one themselves. So I’ve tried my best to explain what panic attacks are like for me.
It starts as a pressure in my ribs. Not a pain, just pressure. But that pressure is all I can focus on. All of my other senses, hearing, vision, seem to dim. All I feel is the pressure. My breathing quickens. Im scared. Nothing is wrong but I am terrified. My heart starts beating so fast that I can feel it in my throat. It is so intense that I can’t breathe. No matter how many or how deep of breaths I take, I can’t get enough air. I feel like I’m choking. Tears stream down my face and I fall to the ground. I am shaking from fear. I am paralyzed, crying, shaking, struggling for air. I can’t see, hear, or acknowledge anything else. There is no world around me, just fear.
I stay like that for what feels like hours. Slowly I start to come to. That intense pressure lessens. I stop crying. Slowly, very very slowly, my breathing returns to normal and the world around me reappears. It takes a while for the shaking to stop and for me to be able to get myself off the ground.
Afterwards, I am exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I am drained. My eyes are red and swollen. I have no thoughts. Im too tired to think. I sit there dead tired for a long while. If I have plans, I cancel them. I just need rest.
This is what panic attacks are like for me, but they are different for everyone. This explanation took quite a while to write because during a panic attack, you can’t exactly pull out a pen and jot down what is happening, so I apologize if it seems a little “off”.