Panic attacks exist within the family of ‘anxiety disorders’ which are grouped into three main factions: generalised anxiety, social anxiety and panic. If you’re really lucky like me, you’ll experience all three! (I’m a poet, and I do know it! Just another string to my impressive, if twitchy bow.)

Actual panic is logical; experienced when you find yourself walking past a mother throwing her child from a burning building and you’re wearing your Edward Scissorhands costume. Panic disorder is much harder to recognise and control because it may not seem to follow a logical causality, it may occur simply from the fear of experiencing another panic attack. It’s always disproportionate and sometimes even unrelated to whatever you’re doing. This is also why people who don’t experience it find it so hard to relate to, and from what I can gather after extensive research*, makes every person’s experience with it is as individual as a snowflake.

If I had to sum up my panic attacks in one word it would be ‘vulgar’. Discourteously showing up when it’s not only inconvenient for me but for those I’m with. Bringing with it gauche perspiration, impolite stomach acid and impudent fainting spells. My panic is the sly child who lulls you into believing you can take them to a wedding ceremony only to splutter and bawl during the I do moment, having the entire congregation whispering to each other ‘who would bring a child here?’

My episodes, as I prefer to call them, don’t mess about and go from zero to whitey in less than sixty seconds. The fact that they can sometimes come with a little trouser-soiling seizure at the end makes them doubly spicy!

There will be those who read this and come up with labels like ‘attention seeker’, ‘hypochondriac’ and ‘unfeasibly good looking.’ Believe me, it’s nothing I haven’t levelled at myself since this problem began. When you suffer from a lack of satisfactory diagnosis it’s only natural to start seeking other answers, other reasons for what is happening. The problem I found with trying to nail down my panic disorder was that the goalposts kept changing.

My panic is super-agile, like those cute little Chinese child acrobats. Reason being – the brain that’s operating the attempts at treatment is the very organ steeling the defences against the treatment. It easily keeps itself one step ahead of my efforts to squash it because it can spot me coming a mile off – like those cute little Chinese child acrobats.

There. Everything is starting to feel clearer already, isn’t it? Layman’s terms.

*extensive research: reading lots of blogs ‘n stuff

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