When a Stranger Noticed I Was Having a Panic Attack


This summer, I started working in a restaurant. I was going through a tough time and wasn’t ready to go straight into a job with long hours, but as a student, I needed the money. So I started my job, but I wasn’t coping well. I hid it at work, but I really wasn’t doing well.

One morning, I was having a bad day. I was working the ridiculously busy Sunday shift in a carvery place and I was working until 9 p.m., so I had the tea time rush.

That morning, I successfully made the two buses I needed to get to work, but as I got off and started walking to work, I felt the panic.

I was panicking so much I stood outside the local supermarket nearby and I started having a full blown panic attack. I was shaking, tears were streaming down my face and I was hyperventilating so much my hands were cramping. I tried to hide it by standing in a corner away from people. A man walked by though and noticed my situation. He came up and asked if I was OK. I nodded I was and tried to smile at him, but he obviously noticed I was not fine. He stood with me, asking if I wanted or needed him to call anybody for me. As I started to calm myself down I told him it was OK and it would pass. He stuck with me, calming me down. He had no reason to do this. He had no idea why I was panicking, but he stuck with me anyway, even though I’d never seen him before in my life.

When I was finally calm enough to string a sentence together, I thanked the man. I told him he was too kind and that he didn’t need to stay, but he did. He could have just glanced at me and walked away like most people do. I told him that he didn’t understand how much I actually appreciated his little act of kindness as he handed me a tissue to wipe my eyes. Once he knew I was fine, we both parted ways, him to his car and me to work.

By the time I got to work, I looked shocking. I quickly applied some makeup and went into my shift. Nobody noticed anything different about me and I carried on with my day as though nothing had happened.

I don’t know if this man has anxiety or knows anybody with anxiety, but he really helped calm me down. He made me feel a little bit happier that day. I didn’t actually get his name, as my brain was pretty muddled and I had to get to work. If he ever reads this, I want him to know I am so thankful.

And to anybody else who has ever acknowledged anybody having a panic attack, many thanks to you as well.

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