I have suffered from severe panic attacks for the last ten years. Despite frequent panic attacks, I still can’t adequately describe how I feel during an episode of panic. Dark. If someone asked me for a one word description of a panic attack, I would answer dark. During a panic attack I feel alone, lost, disoriented, confused, troubled, frustrated, afraid, fearful, and hopeless. The cherry on top of a panic attack, might be the physical symptoms. Panic attacks also make my hands tremble, heart race, chest tighten, feet tingle, stomach churn, and body hurt. After a panic attack, I experience extreme exhaustion.
The emotional and biological changes that occur during junior high worsened my panic disorder. I can vividly remember lying on the bathroom floor with a nauseated stomach, tight chest, racing heart, and tingling feet. My mom tried to force rescue medicine down me, but my trembling hands made it difficult to drink the glass of water. My body sat balled up on the bathroom floor, but my mind, consumed by dark thoughts, was somewhere else. My parents held my trembling body for hours, until I finally regained physical and mental strength. Unfortunately, we have never identified why I suffer from severe panic disorder. But after years of counseling, daily medication, and regular exercise, I have learned to control the disorder.
The unknowns of freshman year brought a similar series of panic attacks. Luckily, I lived with friends from high school who were aware of my problems. Although they knew about my disorder, the first attack they witnessed was both frightening and confusing, If you also suffer from panic attacks, tell your friends and roommates. Talking about the symptoms of a panic attack will help them understand what you are experiencing. Let them know what they can do to help you. USE YOUR RESOURCES!