Understanding Panic Attacks

Fearing the unknown, an abyss of complete uncertainty.

Words cannot be brought to lips, stricken by a deafening silence.

Thoughts racing through my mind, cannot be discerned, cannot be understood.

Hands, trembling, falling apart every so quickly, ever so suddenly, ever so swiftly.

Closing oneself in, the air gets thicker with every beat my heart beats, wishing it would stop, hoping it’ll be over soon.

Darkness. Confusion. Pure Embarrassment. Ridicule.  Self restraint. Cannot escape. Cannot think. Cannot Breathe. Cannot understand.

It all goes dark. Everything goes dark. Please understand me. Say not a word. Let it be over. Its over. It’s finally over.

They say anxiety is not that bad. Anxiety is loosely used by social media and society to explain the overwhelming amount of stress one undergoes. It’s pseudo form takes on many shapes and sizes, but a little bit of stress never hurt anyone, right? To an extent, that may very well be correct, but what if we have too much anxiety?

Anxiety can be a good thing. It keeps us in check and could act as the driving force for task completion. Studies show that too much or too little stress results on low performance when completing an exam. If we have too little anxiety, we end up not caring and do not get anything done. However, here’s the kicker, if we worry too much, we also perform poorly. What this means is an individual can invest everything into doing well, but overwhelming anxiety physically also impedes our performance. Many people say that the reason we are anxious is because we do not study enough or practice a task enough to build confidence. They tell you that if you studied enough, then you will be confident and the anxiety will go away. However, no matter how much you study, you foresee and anticipate impending doom. In the instant you receive your exam or you’re put to the test, your mind goes blank and no matter how hard you try to remember what you just studied, you can’t think straight, you can’t breathe properly, your heart is racing, you end up hating yourself for physically being unable to recall the things you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into. You can’t help but feel like you are your own worst enemy.

That is just one case scenario of extreme anxiety that is physically debilitating. The extent to which anxiety can overtake your life is so hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Panic attacks are no joke. With panic attacks, your emotions end up controlling you. The more you tell yourself to calm down, the more your anxiety escalates. It is by all means no walk in the park. Once your emotions have completely consumed you, you experience a burst of epinephrine and the fight-or-flight response kicks in. Having that much anxiety is almost like taking 50 cups of coffee. Whatever is causing your anxiety makes you feel like you need to escape the situation in hopes to regain control of it.

When anxiety attacks occur, not only does an individual experience a rapid heart rate, the individual may then start to experience a feeling like there is something in their throat. Breathing becomes difficult, one becomes light headed and cannot think straight. You find yourself screaming at yourself to make it stop, to calm down, to make it go away… And then suddenly you’re in tears, but you can’t explain why you’re crying, you can’t explain why you feel so vulnerable, you can’t explain what is going on with yourself. Before you know it, your hands are trembling and you lose control of your body, unable to regain composure. You’ve completely lost control of yourself. For some, it doesn’t stop there, in extreme cases, individuals may experience fainting spells. It is incredibly embarrassing. At its peak, anxiety can be so draining to the point of lethargy. One is pretty much useless for the rest of the day. If you’ve ever used an epi pen for allergies, the experience is one and the same. You become disoriented and incredibly tired, quiet, and almost unresponsive. Putting it to words does not do enough justice to explain the gravity of the matter. Such is the life of one afflicted by anxiety disorders.






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