I have been having panic attacks since the beginning of high school, however most of the time I never realized what it was.
My breathing speeds up, thoughts bounce around inside my head and I feel like crawling out of my own skin. Often times I just want to run, sprint away from whatever situation I am in, but it feels as though my feet are glued to the ground.
Normally it happens in the comfort of my own home, on my own or with a family member. Not many have witnessed the madness and ultimate meltdown.
But of course on one of the most important days of my university career it happened publicly. In front of a large group of my classmates, in the middle of an exciting presentation. I lost it.
To be honest the 7 minutes ended up being a blur, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see and I could barely speak. I remember coming to the end of the presentation and there being silence through the room. All I could think was; shit. Did that actually just happen?
I had a panic attack. With all the pressure and passion associated with the project I was overwhelmed and lost my direction. When I think about those 7 minutes now, a few months later, I get sick to my stomach. Things couldn’t have gone worse.
But guess whose got to do the presentation again. This time with even more riding on it. What will I do better next time? Well I’ll definitely be taking some lorazepam beforehand (there’s no shame in planning ahead). Ideally I will be able to present my ideas without passing out, however at this point I’m just hoping I can stay standing.
Public panic attacks are not recommended, but unavoidable. Ultimately it takes deep breathes, slow speaking and a sense of humour to navigate the disaster that comes from inside yourself. Anxiety is experienced differently by everyone, from what I’ve learned, you just have to roll with the punches and sometimes its impossible to avoid. Don’t take life to seriously.
I am writing about this experience and will continue to write about my experience because I feel no shame. I am tired of the highlight reels. I am interested in the raw, unfiltered and unapologetic truth that surrounds every individual. No matter the destination how you got there is much more inspiring.
“There is life — abundant and exuberant life after darkness… I choose to discuss my own battles with mental health to fight isolation, share authentically, and to give hope. Secrets so often are associated with shame. In keeping these pieces hidden, I feel like I would be endorsing the view that mental illness is something to be ashamed of and it’s just not.” – Allison Tedford, To Write Love On Her Arms
Sending love and laughs always
xoxo – JO