There are times when you think of things that you don’t want to think about because the memories instantly bring tears to your eyes.
However, deep down you know that talking about it is the only way of preventing them from eating you up from the inside. And so you cry but make sure through the tears the story is told.
Here is my story.
I had my first panic attack when I was all grown and in college. It was so unexpected because it came to me at a time when I was feeling so happy and having so much fun. I was with my friend, we were just about to sleep when a sudden wave of sadness came over me and engulfed me so strongly I couldn’t breathe. At first my friend thought that it might be the alcohol, but I knew I was sober. It was not the alcohol, it was the world in my head taking over my reality and I fought. I fought so hard with everything I could because I was so scared.
I thought I was going to die, I thought I was going crazy and I thought I was losing control. I just didn’t know that I had already lost control the moment it all begun. I was confused because I had never been diagnosed with a respiratory disease. Then why was I gasping for air and wheezing? I had only seen an asthma attack back in high school on one of my classmates and that was the only thing I could make sense of. And so I kept on fighting. I was indoors but all I wanted was to go outside because I couldn’t breathe. I asked my friend to take me outside. But outside wasn’t any good, I felt more suffocated than when inside.
My entire body was shaking and not because it was so cold outside but because of the terror inside my own head. I wanted it all to stop. I just wanted to feel okay again. The tears came down even faster. I looked at myself and couldn’t recognize who that was, because the body was mine but I had no power over anything. So I just sat there and cried. Under normal circumstances I could cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. But that night, I could not even find that control. I had never been so scared in my life. My friend was scared because he didn’t know what to do, he tried talking to me but I only cried even more. I looked at his face and through the tears, I could see that he was crying too. He was crying for me because he had never seen anything look so sad and tortured like I was. In a way he understood that even he could not do anything to stop such level of sadness. And so he held me in his arms and slowly rocked me.
For over 2 hours, I cried my heart out. All of the bad things and the bad memories that had been locked up in my head came flooding and swallowed my whole being and soul. They were the two longest hours I have ever had to watch pass by helplesslly. Finally, my body couldn’t take any more and I fell asleep. I wasn’t sure I would have the energy to wake up ever again. I almost, almost gave up 😭. I woke up the next morning. I felt sick, I felt weak, I could not support my own weight and I could not walk. I could not see either because my eyes were too swollen to see.
Somehow I knew that was only the beginning and I would need to be prepared for more to come. All I could will myself is that “I hope I will have the strength when the time comes”. I dared not imagine it.
Anxiety disorders leave behind the worst kind of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion. Only those strong enough can take too much to live through it all and summon the courage to tell their story.
Be kind, always be kind to each other. I understand that we are all human and we are not perfect. But whenever you can, be kind to another. Some have been to hell and back.