How I met my best buddy: Panic Attack
Navigating different lives of people through mental disorders
Ever had a panic attack drop by unexpectedly? If yes, then you’ll totally get me. I was just 15yrs old when I had my first panic attack. And oh boy, that was one big experience!
I used to be pretty good at math, but that day, things got crazy. Some classmates were solving problems like it’s a piece of cake, while I was feeling like I missed the memo.
Turns out, they already knew the tricks and the formulas.. But my brain decided to go into a panic mode, wondering, “Why am I not getting this?” All of a sudden, anxiety rushed in like a bullet train, from calm to chaos in a snap. My chest felt heavy, like an elephant park, and taking a deep breath felt like climbing a mountain.
My parents were worried it was a heart issue, but turns out it was just my panic button gone wild.
In the next few years I made friends with a new buddy — Panic Attack. We hung out quite a bit, maybe a bit too much. But interestingly! I found some people who get what it’s like to have a panic buddy. Teamwork, you see?
Fun fact, at work, people started sharing their own panic stories. Turns out, panic attacks can show up uninvited to the “high anxiety” party. Different things can set them off, like past experiences and triggers.
Ironically, my job led me to a place that helps people with their minds — psychiatry clinic!. Sounds fancy, right? No! it’s not what you are thinking, I am not a psychiatrist. I started working as a clinic specialist and eventually I had to learn about different kinds of psych medicines — stuff like antidepressants , stimulants, antipsychotics and many more.
It felt like being back in school. All of a sudden I was learning about psych medicines, their generic names and symptoms, which felt good to be very honest.
I got to know about a lot of different types of patients there.
Let me share some of their stories :
- Some weren’t feeling so great, mostly they were dealing with stress, sadness, wanting a better life, while some had clever tricks to get more controlled substances, like blaming their dog for eating it. They are the ones who took them in the most — uncontrolled way. I was almost about to take the patient’s dog to a vet surgeon unless my colleague enlightened me with their age-old excuses.
- Then there were others dealing with serious stuff- severe , anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bi polar that need real help.
- Some parents even wanted to give little kids psych medicines just to stop them from being mischievous or a little bit dramatic.
- Then there were old patients dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- who lost their children in some car accidents.
But here’s the thing I realized, a huge number of people go through anxiety, sadness, and panic. It’s way more common than we think. I think that’s very humanly.
It made me see my own journey in a new light. I used to hide my panic buddy like a secret. But listening to others , their stories, their struggles — felt like my issues are not even that severe in front of them. Also, it is not supposed to be kept as a secret either.
It felt enlightening when lots of people shared their tough stories with me — hard times, dealing with toxic parents, recovering from suicidal symptoms , joblessness and what not. I was not their doctor, but they simply felt better while sharing those things- more like one human to another.
After all, destiny is a funny thing, huh? What once felt like a “curse” taught me a whole lot.
Anxiety and I? We’re still buddies, swapping stories while munching on snacks.
But here’s something I realized, it’s extremely important to look out for your pals. You never know what’s happening below the surface.
Some mental stuff definitely needs experts, but in the initial phases sometimes a friendly chat and a hug can do wonders too. Panic attacks? Not that scary when you’ve got a friend who understands you.
So, my dear readers, keep an eye on each other. Life always throws curveballs, but with some support, even panic attacks can turn out to be not so inevitable after all.