What the Worst Panic Attack of My Life Felt Like

There comes a point in my life when I just lie in bed and think about my life. It happens randomly. It happens when I’m feeling low about my life, and the feeling comes on so suddenly that sometimes it frightens me.

And then it happened. The worst panic attack happened. It hit all of a sudden, and I didn’t know what to do.

It first started out with heavy breathing. I didn’t think anything of it at first until my heart started to race. My hands started to shake uncontrollably, and I began to sweat. I was with a group of friends and tried my best to keep my composure. When I realized I couldn’t be in control, I quickly darted away from everyone and went to be alone. I tried to eat a snack, and when I swallowed it, I felt like I was about to choke. I quickly went into another room, and ran towards a bed. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t even talk.

I really felt like I was about to die. Was I dying?

No, I wasn’t. I was having the worst panic attack I’ve ever experienced in my 21 years of existence.

I started to cry. I couldn’t scream for help because no one would understand what was going on. No one would understand why I was panicking for no reason. No one would understand why I felt like I was dying, and they would probably think I was being dramatic. It hurt. My heart was hurting, my head was hurting, my body was hurting. I wanted it to end so bad, but it didn’t. I tried breathing exercises and tried to stay grounded like my therapist taught me — and nothing changed.

I literally felt like my heart was going to beat its way out of my chest. I literally felt like I was losing oxygen. I couldn’t stop sweating. All I could do was cry. I got under the covers, and I slowly drifted to sleep. When I awoke the next day, I felt so physically drained. I had to go to work the following day and could barely keep my eyes open because I was so exhausted. When I tried to explain to my co-workers why I felt so sluggish, but they just couldn’t understand. All I could do was just stand there with my legs feeling numb.

I was slowly getting more depressed after the panic attack. I was petrified to have another one because of the pain it put my body through. I felt “crazy,” and all I could do was sit on the bathroom floor and stare at the wall. I felt numb and empty. I felt worthless and out of place. I felt so alone, and I couldn’t get rid of this terrible, exhausting feeling.

Day by day and night by night, I tried my best to pretend like I was fine. I thought maybe if I pretended long enough I would feel better, but I didn’t. Maybe one day I will be able to fight it, but for now all I can do is try to ride it out, and hope for the best.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via cienpies.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

Why Quitting Swim Team Was the Best Decision for My Mental Health

Since I was little, I’ve loved the water. The pool was a second home to me. Every time I saw a body of water, all I wanted to do was dive in and start swimming. I told myself I was a mermaid. I thought I’d always have this love, this passion, for the water and [...]
surreal portrait of woman double exposure with overlaid trees and branches

When It's Hard to Tell the Difference Between Anxiety and Reality

Because of my anxiety, I often struggle to interpret the scenarios that are happening around me and it becomes difficult to process what’s real versus what I’ve simply created. There are usually two narratives at war inside my head, and I’m left to sort out fact from fiction. Simple conversations can be skewed to the point [...]
blonde woman with hand on forehead in front of computer looking upset or worried

When Anxiety Makes You Feel Like a Burden on Your Workplace

I knew today was going to be rough. As soon as I woke up, I was already exhausted and dreading the day, and all I wanted to do was call out of work. But I didn’t have a clear reason as to why my anxiety was so high, so I told myself I wasn’t justified in doing [...]
Depressed young man on phone

5 Therapy Tips for People Who Are Uncomfortable With the Idea of Talking to a Stranger

Most people who know me know I’m a very private person. It takes quite a lot for me to open up to people, to share and be vulnerable. I just don’t like sharing about myself or talking about myself. I never have and I’m still so uncomfortable doing it. I just like to keep to myself and have things [...]