The best feeling in the world is knowing your presence and absence both mean something to someone.
Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.
I discovered that I am tired of being a person. Not just tired of being the person I was, but any person at all.
The story of my panic attack on 6/20/13
I figured I’d tell a little bit about my panic attack so everyone can have a better understanding of what a panic attack is, and what to do. Now, keep in mind, mine was SEVERE, 1-10, being a 10. There are panic attacks people may have that will be a lot less severe and much different but just keep in mind not all panic attacks are this extreme.
It all started I was hanging out with friends, and COMPLETELY FINE. All of a sudden I was in a short, euphoric like state, in complete black. Finally, I heard SCREAMING, bloody murder, “HOLLY WAKE UP, HOLLY!! Oh GOD.” I woke up, and saw all of my friends faces hovering around me. I had passed out in the chair. I didn’t know so everyone had to explain it to me. I felt weird, disoriented, dizzy, shaky, out of breath, and PETRIFIED. It was very hard for me to respond to any of the frightening questions being asked, “Are you okay?” “How do you feel?” “Did you hit your head?!” I couldn’t even hardly speak at all. I could only nod and say short yes or no answers.
Suddenly, I started to get REALLY hot, the AC blowing right ON me didn’t help. I started to say things like, “I really don’t feel right.” “Something is wrong, I feel really weird.” etc. I could tell everyone was scared. Finally someone had suggested to go outside, sit in the shade and feel the breeze. That seemed like maybe it would help. It did for maybe a minute at the most, then I started to feel REALLY dizzy with a bad case of vertigo. Everything in my vision was shaking back and forth violently. I was dizzy, and my breath was extremely heightened. My body began to sweat IMMENSELY. I was TREMBLING. As quick as that came along, I threw up. A good six or seven times. I threw up everything in my stomach. That made me feel better…but only for about 30 seconds.
Then the most extreme part of the panic attack came along. This part I really don’t remember much of at all. My brain took over the “fight or flight” mechanism, which many of you may have heard of. Well my body decided to try and fight. From what I remember, I very suddenly began breathing WAY TOO FAST. My heart was POUNDING. I began to really panic. I thought I was possibly having a heart attack. Then, my breathing began to get quicker and quicker until finally, I thought I was being smothered, choked, that my lungs were quickly FAILING and COLLAPSING. I started screaming…and I mean SCREAMING. My whole body was trembling, I couldn’t feel my hands or feet and my chest hurt. My breathing was still out of control and my heart was working OVERTIME. I looked at my friends in the eye, “I’M DYING. I’M DYING. I CAN’T BREATHE AT ALL. HELP ME!!! HELP PLEASE!!!” One of my friends looked me in the eye with TERRIFIED eyes and said, “I don’t know how to help you.” He was clearly unsure of how to help me breathe and everyone around me thought I was slowly dying.
I was still screaming. I never stopped. And I can’t get my screaming voice out of my head. It’s stuck there, taunting me every moment. Anyways, continuing: I continued screaming, and feeling my vision go. Everything would go black, and come back, and go black, and come back. I SAW death. I knew that this was it. I was dying. I SCREAMED, “CALL 911 NOW. I NEED HELP. PLEASE HELP ME. SOMEONE CALL 911 NOW.” Help was on the way. Two paramedics arrived, but they didn’t have an ambulance so we had to wait on the ambulance.
I was STILL in the worst part of my panic attack when the ambulance and paramedics arrived. They told me I’m very very close to hyperventilating and I need to listen to him CLOSELY so I don’t pass out. At this point I was sitting in a chair but laying in the paramedics lap. I couldn’t sit up, my hands were locked in an awkward position and my mouth was stuck in the shape of a small ‘o’. Making it much harder to breathe. He told me, “Breathe IN through your nose and OUT through your mouth.” I kept screaming that I couldn’t because I was still panicking. I started breathing in and out of my mouth because it was a struggle to breathe in through my nose first. The paramedic said, “NO that is the fastest way to hyperventilate, you need to breathe through your NOSE.” I think I threw up a couple more times, and I think I had passed out in the paramedics lap for a few seconds. Finally the ambulance showed up.
I was still at this point screaming, “SAVE ME, PLEASE I’M DYING, SAVE ME.” They put me on a stretcher and put an oxygen mask on me as quickly as they could. I puked when they picked me up, I puked on the stretched all over myself, and puked in the oxygen mask. “GET THE MASK OFF HER NOW.” They yelled and let me puke for another minute. “SAVE ME PLEASE.” I continued to yell. I wondered why they were panicking too trying to save me. But clearly in my head, I was panicking. My oxygen levels were fine, my heart rate a little high. They stuck me with an IV and put a blood pressure monitor on me that went off automatically every few minutes. I was finally calming down. I was in the hospital for maybe three hours, then released with some anxiety medication.
It’s really hard for me to type all this down. I’m truly traumatized, and terrified. My voice screaming bloody murder is still haunting me. I’m paranoid to have another panic attack, so now I’m stuck. I want to stay away from everyone. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to go out. I want to just stay on my couch.
Now when it comes to panic attacks, just get the person to BREATHE. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Check their pulse. But make them BREATHE. Be CALM. If you panic, it will only make things worse. Put an arm around them. Tell them what is happening. It’s a panic attack, you’re not dying but you need to breathe. Get them water, and cool air. If you need to, call 911. The main thing, KEEP CALM. If you freak the person can begin to have a worse panic attack.
Please make an understanding of panic attacks. I’m not “crazy”, I’m not looking for attention, and I’m not being “over dramatic.” Panic attacks are a real medical condition and many people suffer from them, whether mild or extreme.
Keep me in your thoughts on my road to mental recovery. I have a long way to go, and I AM struggling right now after this attack. If you have questions, I will answer.