Recently I’ve started to have panic attacks.
Not the little things where you get nervous and upset about something.
Not the sort of things that people speak disdainfully of trigger warnings and disgust for refusing to listen to opposing view points.
My muscles become tense. The next day my body feels as if I’ve been beaten with a steel bar. My shoulders ache, and my legs feel like rubber. My arms tell me that I’ve lifted mountains, and I’ll pay for it.
My heart races. Not as if I have run laps, but as if it will burst from my chest and smother me with it’s beats. When it does that I’m reminded that my family has heart problems, and I try my best to slow it down with breathing and mental exercises. It doesn’t help.
While my heart races and my muscles tense, I start to shake. I keep my mouth slightly open and my tongue between my teeth to keep people from hearing my teeth chatter inside my skull. Usually it works, but they can still see my hands, unsteady and unable to properly write, or draw, or do anything really. While my body shakes beyond my control I try to keep myself curled into a ball. It helps me feel slightly more in control of myself. But not much.
My breath usually comes easy, except while I’m in the middle of an attack. During an attack, I have to remember how to breath, to tell my lungs to pull in air. To not let the fear keep me trapped.
Physically, panic attacks are a cake walk. My body reacting to something is much easier than my mind, convincing me that there is SOMETHING that is going to shatter me. I’m not afraid of dying, I’m not afraid of heights, I have no fear of spiders, or snakes, venomous or not. Darkness holds no problems for me. But this, this mind numbing terror, I’m afraid of this. Something in my mind will swallow me whole, and leave nothing but the shell of who I used to be.
After my attacks, my brain starts to disconnect from itself. I’m outside myself and my circumstances. I still am afraid, still can’t control my shaking, but I’m not longer me. I’m no longer the person I have built and become. I’ve found myself wandering the street outside my home, barefoot, in the dark.
I’m scared of what my brain is doing to me. I’m afraid that I’ll do something while I’m not myself, afraid that I’ll become something I don’t want to be.