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What It Feels Like To Have A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can feel incredibly different for everyone, yet very similar at the same time. They can be very scary, especially during your first experience dealing with one. I know the first time I had my first full-blown attack I would have sworn that my whole world was crashing down around me. It felt catastrophic like my life was about to come to an end.
You can feel the attack coming on. You get this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Sometimes you may even start to feel like you are disconnected from your body and you may even question what is real and what isn’t, because at that very moment in time nothing feels real.
You start to feel this sense of dread and pure panic begin to wash over you. Then you start to notice that it is getting harder and harder to breathe. It’s almost like you are being pulled underwater and you just cannot catch your breath no matter how hard you try. The current just keeps pulling you under. Your chest starts to get tighter and tighter until you feel like you can no longer breathe at all. All of a sudden, you start to breathe faster and faster until you can feel yourself hyperventilating.
That is when the tears start to fall. At least for me, they do. You get hysterical and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get yourself to calm down. Seconds seem like hours. How long have you been inside this internal attack now? Has it been ten seconds, ten minutes, or your entire life?
Your thinking gets hazy and you can’t concentrate. You feel doomed, like everything you have ever known has been taken from you. You may even feel like nothing is right anymore and that everything has somehow just turned to shit within a matter of minutes.
Then, out of nowhere, the tears stop flowing. You start to feel like you are finally able to take a deep breath after what felt like forever. The tightness in your chest begins to fade and your breathing slowly starts to regulate. As quickly as the attack came on, it has subsided. It can leave you feeling emotionally drained afterward.
When it comes to experiencing a panic attack, no matter how many times you have been through this same scenario, it still feels just as horrible and wretched as the first time. There may be things that triggered the attack or it could have just reared its ugly head out of the blue.
If you have never been through this horrifying experience, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. But if you are like me, and have felt these same feelings more than once – just know that you are not alone.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.