"A panic attack goes from a 0 to a 100 in an instant."
"It's halfway between feeling like you'll faint, and feeling like you'll die"
"When you miss a step on the stairs and your stomach lurches, it feels like that... but much, much longer."
"Your entire body is feeling everything, and nothing... all at once."
The first time it happened to me was when I was in high school. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know why it happened. And I never told anybody.
I just remember locking myself in the toilet; I was on the floor, arms around my knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
It ended as immediately as it had started. It probably lasted for five minutes. It felt like hours.
I didn't know what panic attacks were. I'm not even sure whether all these episodes that I have even count as panic attacks.
I can usually tell when it's coming. Like how when a person with asthma can know when he's going to have an asthma attack, or when someone with epilepsy can tell he's going to have one... it's like that.
I know when it's coming. But the sucky part is that... there's nothing I can do to stop it. Which usually leads me to go and find an empty room, lock myself in, and let it all rush in.
It feels like I'm drowning and I'm gasping for air. And with each breath, I sink even deeper and suffocate even more. It feels like a thousand mountains were laid on top of my chest, and with each effort to breathe, I feel like my ribs are cracking and I feel like I am dying.
I feel helpless, and scared and tired. You will never feel as lonely as you were when you're having a panic attack, which makes the panic attack even worse. Because you realize that no one is ever going to be there to help you. You can only help yourself.
What triggers my panic attack?
I wish I knew. It usually happens when a lot of things are happening to me, all at once. And because I tend to ignore them, it accumulates and soon, like a ticking time bomb, I explode.
It sometimes happen in public. I remember being in a mall with a group of friends when I felt like an attack was going to happen. I excused myself to the restroom, locked the doors, sat on the floor and waited for it to end.
Panic attack feels like a heart attack, or a stroke. But the thing with heart attacks or strokes is that you know what is wrong with you.
With panic attack you usually have no clue.
A friend once asked me, "Is it that bad?"
And I answered, "No. Maybe I'm just that weak..."
"But i just keep thinking that this will pass... this will pass... and it usually does."