That Familiar Feeling: This Is What a Panic Attack Feels and Looks Like To Me, and This Is How I Choose To Face Them

Photo By: Adam Mckibben

Photo By: Adam Mckibben

I just happened to stumble across this tiny little wooden box that I used to keep under my pillow, something my mom gave me to help with bad dreams or moments of panic. In it, you will find a collection of treasures notes, dried flowers, and a photo of Audrey Hepburn.

It was timely you see, as the dark clouds rolled heavy over our home, over the now nearly bare trees, I felt that all too familiar tightening in my chest, quickening of my heart, soon to be beating heavy against my chest, ears, and behind my eyes. 

Not long after that, my throat began to close, so any chance at speaking you could be sure would be nothing but mumbles, jabs at words, and incoherent sentences. And as I reach my hands up to my eyes, a comforting gesture I often do when my head throbs, I noticed how badly they were shaking, not only that, but they were cold as ice with finger tips as purple as grapes. 

This, my wonderful friends, is what a panic attack feels like, at least to me anyway. On the outside, and to others, I appear to be someone unable to control their emotions, or rather, some who is simply "overly-emotional." But on the inside? On the inside I feel silenced by my own body, fearful of thoughts, people, and even the things around me. I begin to view tasks, projects, and adventures as impossible, desperately wanting to run as far away from them as I can.

This feeling; I don't recognize the person that I am as tears run down my face, and I grow more paralyzed with every thought. 

All I want to do run. I want to run across the road, down the street, and beneath the dark clouds headed toward the snow capped mountains. I want to run because I can't speak, feel properly, or even breathe. I can't explain to others the havoc being wreaked inside me, so instead, I want to make myself a distant ball of chaos. Chaos that no one else has to deal with but me. Chaos that does not need to be explained, looked at, or remembered.

But you know what else? This very real feeling has a way of pushing me to slow down. After all, it only arises when my body has gone into overdrive.

When I have forgotten to take the time to recognize and love all the amazing things that I already have done, instead of the things needing done, because they can wait.

It can all wait, but you and your happiness cannot. So, I invite you to sit, take a look around, feel the tightness in your chest and trembling in your voice, and be there, knowing that no matter how scary things get, you can and you will get through this. You are your greatest tool. So, please, sit awhile, at least long enough for you to set aside that all too familiar feeling. For you to once again feel at home in this incredible body of yours. 

Curious, if you experience panic attacks, what form do they take and how do you face them? 

With All My Love,

Chloe xx