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To the Friend Who Helped Me Through (Another) Panic Attack

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To my friend who helped me through (another) panic attack,

Thank you. I know I have said it before, and I will probably say it again. Yes, I am aware there are only so many times I can say “thank you” for the same act before it becomes repetitive and therefore loses meaning. But I cannot explain how much it meant to me that for once, during my panic attack, I did not feel alone.

My panic attacks are a private thing for me, meaning I try to hide them from everyone, keep them as quiet as possible, and pretend they don’t exist. This also prevents me from reaching for my phone when I am anxious, despite knowing that there are several people I believe would gladly help if I let them. While I’m not quite sure why I actually texted you that night, convinced I was having a heart attack, I can only be thankful I did.

Thank you for convincing me to actually answer my phone and talk to you, in addition to removing the pressure from my stuttering and shakiness of the moment. On the floor, I sat there listening to your voice, praying to a higher power that I wouldn’t totally lose my mind. You assured me I was safe and that everything was going to be OK. How you knew this, despite not knowing my reason of panic, I will never know. But you kept repeating the words “you’re safe” over and over until I even began to believe them myself.

Thank you for staying up with me until after 3 a.m. despite knowing you had to get up early the next morning and carry on with your life. I apologize again for effectively messing up your sleep schedule. But your calming words and patience eventually allowed me to relax enough to breathe deeply and get a brief amount of sleep. This made the morning that followed much easier because I was able to function slightly better, not having pulled an all-nighter. 

Thank you for putting up with my mumbled words over the phone that night and not questioning my shaky breaths. Thank you for not asking if I was crying. Thank you for knowing that my vulnerability in this moment was too fragile to risk breaking, and thank you for handling the situation with care.

Throughout this letter, I’ve said the words “thank you” multiple times, despite recognizing that it is slightly repetitive. But I do hope it has not lost its meaning. I hope to one day be able to calm myself down like you helped calm me, but I know I have work to do before I am able to do so.

So thank you for taking the time to calm the panic that was engulfing my body. Thank you for being there.

Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: September 23, 2016
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