Imagine running until your legs cannot physically carry you anymore and the reason you were running in the first place was to escape a man chasing you with a knife.
Imagine missing a step on some stairs, your heart races, your breathing intensifies, your head pounds, and you feel an overwhelming sense of fear as your entire body tingles and gets warm. You still have another 20 steps to go, what if you miss another one.
Imagine working out for 30 minutes and now you’re out of breath so your lungs are doing everything they can to get you back to breathing steadily as you border hyperventilation.
Imagine being so angry that every single muscle in your body tenses and you can’t stop it because you’re so angry.
Imagine your worst fear: heights, snakes, insects, death, darkness. Now put yourself face to face with your phobia but you can’t overcome it.
Imagine being cold, you’re shivering and your teeth chatter. No matter how many blankets or jackets you have, you can’t seem to warm up.
Imagine walking alone at night, unarmed and someone in a hood seems to be following you, you feel like you’re being watched. You’re 5 miles away from your car and now you fear for your life, someone might be watching you.
Imagine getting into a fight with someone, yelling, arguing, your head pounds with every word you say.
Imagine walking into a very formal event, everyone seems to be wearing sparkly dresses or fitted suits, and you’re wearing a plain white, knee length dress. You feel like everyone is watching you, judging you, laughing at you.
Imagine losing a loved one and now you can’t stop crying.
Imagine your mind racing because you said the wrong thing in a meeting.
Imagine that the man chasing you with the knife is just darkness and now you’re engulfed in darkness, unable to escape. Imagine there were no stairs but still your heart races, your breathing intensifies, your head pounds, your body tingles with an overwhelming amount of fear. Imagine there was no workout, you’re just hyperventilating. Imagine that there was no anger, yet your head still pounds, it feels like it's going to explode. Imagine that you weren't face to face with your fear, there was no real thing to fear, yet you were still petrified. Imagine that there was no cold, you just couldn’t stop shaking. Imagine that you were home, safe, yet still you felt uneasy, unsafe. Imagine that the person you were fighting with was yourself, internally, there were no words, you can’t speak. Imagine there was no formal event, no matter who you were with, you always felt out of place, judged. Imagine not losing a loved one and that this cry is dry, there’s no feeling behind it but pure fear. Imagine there was no meeting, and the wrong thing you said was a traumatic event that happened years ago.
Imagine being home, with friends or family and suddenly starting to feel like everything is dark, you’re shaking, you can’t breathe, your heart races, your head is pounding, mind racing, you’re so tense, you feel like you’re going to die. Boom boom boom, thats the sound of your heart in your ears, it feels like you’re going to explode. Why can’t I breathe, what if it never stops, my chest hurts what if I’m crazy, what if I can’t stop it, how long will this last, I’m not safe I’m not safe, the room is spinning, why am I crying, I feel nothing, but yet I feel everything. Why are you looking at me, don’t touch me, make it stop.
Imagine feeling like you haven’t slept in weeks, haven’t eaten, had a drink.
Imagine feeling like you’ve ran a 15 mile marathon.
Imagine feeling all these things at once.
Imagine feeling like you have no control over your mind or body.
Though you’ve imagined the feelings, you will never know what it’s like to go from feeling safe and relaxed, to feeling like you’re going to die in a matter of seconds for no apparent reason. You will never understand how mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing it is. You will never be able to understand the feeling of a panic attack, until you’ve experienced one yourself.
Imagine living with the fact that you don’t know when the next one will be.
Imagine having a panic attack.
Imagine living with Panic Disorder.