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When a Friend Asked If My Panic Attacks Have Become Easier to Deal With

In a week I’ll be “celebrating” 15 years to my first diagnosis (I am 19). My celebration may sound strange and bizarre to some people, but to me, it is a day more special than my birthday because I survived. I have lived 15 beautiful, grueling and sometimes really fucking hard years with anxiety and depression, and I feel I deserve a celebration. My illness is a part of me whether I like it or not — that does not mean I don’t fight it; it just means I am OK with losing some battles.

What prompted this submission is when my friend of eight years asked me whether my panic attacks have become easier for me. This question seemed justified because how is it possible that you are still not used to something that has happened to you probably 1,000 times? But I don’t think mental illnesses, or at least mine, works that way. I am on a falling chair. Mostly. I am stuck on that falling chair perpetually. That is what my panic attack feels like. It feels like my falling stopped midway but my fear didn’t. It feels like being choked by the shroud of uncertainty midway. It doesn’t stop.

Has your fear that comes when you lean back a little too much on your chair gone away? Does your heart not skip a beat or your pulse not jump out of your vein, every time that happens? That fear does not go away, nor does my dread of the panic attack. I wish it would, but I am stuck on a falling chair midway…

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