All I remember from that day
was the cold sweaty palms and my heart racing as if it was ready to jump out my chest through my throat. I didn’t know what was occurring. I felt dizzy, out of breath, nauseous, mind blank, almost as if I was so terrified that I was frozen. My entire body was still and stiff…This was – what I now know as-
My first panic attack
I was about 11 years old and was doing normal kid things. I had just started learning how to play piano, I was improving on my stuttering, I was just a happy child. Looking back on it, I don’t really know what triggered my anxiety. Was it something I did subconsciously? Was it something that happened in my childhood that brought back that terror? Till this day, I don’t have any idea. It’s been about 11 years since this day and I still remember it. I was ready to go to bed and all of a sudden, I was wide awake, eyes wide open, heart racing, tremors, cold sweats.
Little did I know that this one little episode would embark me on a treacherous anxiety adventure. I remember the confused thoughts in my head, night after night, panic attack after panic attack. No idea what was occurring. Just like most anxiety sufferers, I remained quiet. 11 years down and I have yet to break my silence on my disorder. No one is aware except for my very close best friend. Anxiety disorders have been disguised by the media as glamorous, adventurous and fun. I giggle at myself every time someone says “it’s all in your head”. The simplicity of these words which hold no meaning to the truth behind a panic attack. When your mind is racing a million miles per hour and there’s no stopping it.
There’s no positive thinking
no way to stop it from pouring horrific images within you. The tightening of your chest amplifies and amplifies. But it’s all in your head right? “Breathe” “Breathe”. This one word that many people believe will cure anxiety. In actuality, it does. Breathing has become my best friend. Taking a deep breath exasperates all the worries that I may contain inside. It helps release all the tension. This one little action, although achieves temporary satisfaction, falls short to fully liberate the anxiety. I remember that night , breathing in and out , in and out. As if my anxiety will just be blown away as I exhale. I learned the hard way that this is, indeed, false. 11 years struggling.
Sometimes I question myself and ask when will I finally fully beat it. When will I be able to fully enjoy a night out without worrying about what could possibly go wrong. I look around. All the smiling faces around me. While I’m sitting there with a plastic grin on my face, panicking inside. Wanting to get up and just leave but not wanting to leave. It’s a struggle that is faced by those sufferers every day. A silent struggle that many don’t feel. A silent struggle that many endure.