The Mighty Logo

What the Inner Dialogue of a Panic Attack Sounds Like

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

The inner dialogue of a panic attack. Panic yells at me while I try to attend class.

OK, let’s learn!

Your heart is beating fast.

Oh, it is. Probably just sugar or something.

You’re going to have a panic attack.

No, I’m not. I’m fine. I’m OK. Everything is OK. Just listen to the lecture. Just concentrate on the professor.

Your hands are shaking. Everyone can see your hands are shaking.

It’s just sugar. No one is paying attention to me. They are listening to the lecture.

You’re shaking so much right now. Everyone can see you.

No, I’m fine. No one is looking at me. And who cares even if they were?

You care. You care so much about what people think.

No, I don’t. I just don’t want to cause a scene or anything.

You’re causing a scene. You’re going to have a panic attack.

I’m fine. I’m OK. You’re OK. Everything is OK.

You’re breathing harder. Everyone can hear you breathing.

No, they can’t. They’re listening to the professor.

Shaking shaking you’re shaking. Everyone can see you shaking.

No, no, no not again.

Shaking. You can see the panic on your face.

Hide it, hide it. I need to get out. I need out. Oh my god, I need out.

Everyone is going to look at you as you get up and leave. Everyone is looking at you. Everyone can see your face.

Oh no, my bag is making lots of noise. I don’t want to be rude. I can’t leave my bag here. I can’t leave it. I need it. I can’t leave it.

You’re making a scene. Everyone is looking at you. Shaking. Dizzy. Nauseous. Everyone knows. They know.

I need out, I need out now. Grab your bag and leave through that door. That door. That’s all you have to do. Then go to the bathroom. One two three stand. Walk walk walk. Open door. Open the door.

Everyone is looking at you.

Shut up! Put your hand over your mouth so you don’t hyperventilate on the way to the bathroom.

Everyone knows. They can see you’re freaking out. They can see. You cannot hide.

Shut up! The bathroom is empty. That stall. Go in that one. Calm down. You’re OK. You’re OK. Just breathe. Just breathe.

Everyone can hear you hyperventilating. Embarrassment. Embarrassing.

Just breathe. Breathing. You’re OK. You’re OK, honey. Just breathe. It will all be over soon, OK? OK, breathe.

Everyone can hear you. Look at yourself. Panicking in a bathroom stall. Look at what you’ve become. Look at yourself. Embarrassing. Shame. Shame. Shame.

No, nothing to be ashamed of. I have panic disorder. I will live with panic disorder. It is not my fault. It is not me. It’s panic. You’re OK. You’re OK. You’re OK.

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

Image via contributor

Originally published: May 25, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home