My First Panic Attack

It was a typical day in college. I went back to my dorm room to get lunch before my shift at Student Life. Once I came into my room, I started listening to music from my speaker.  Dancing towards the microwave, I took my frozen lunch and popped it into the microwave. While putting lunch in the microwave and pressed the buttons, I noticed I had a voicemail.  The message was from the Bursar’s office. They said they needed to speak to me about an issue with my bill.

I quickly got nervous. My eyes went blurry; I couldn’t breathe. I began to gasp for air. I attempted to breathe deeply, but there was no air coming into my lungs. A tear went down my cheek as I repeatedly tried so desperately to get air to go through my body. Nothing was working. 

I sat down at the edge of my bed. I did not know what to do at the time.  I lived in a single, so I was alone. I felt like I would die in my room because no one was around to help me. I started to say a prayer in my head, begging God to save me. I couldn’t breathe, and my heart was beating so fast. 

I tried to text my friend for help. My fingers began to feel numb as I text her. I was helpless. 

BEEP! The microwave begins to sound. Three and a half minutes had passed, and I still could not get control of my breathing. 

Still crying, I begin to lay down and stretch my arms above my head like a pencil. I kept trying to breathe. Slowly, sips of air started to find their way into my mouth and my body. My heart’s rapid pace began to mellow out. 

What was that? What just happened? Why did this happen to me?

I called my boss and told her I would be late to the office because I wasn’t feeling well. I took myself to the student health center. 

When I got to the health center, they told me I had a panic attack. I was puzzled when the nurse asked me if I had Panic Attacks before. Panic attack? How? Me? What?

I asked her what it was. And as she explained, a lot of things made sense. This wasn’t the first time I had a Panic Attack, but it was the first time I could put a name to it. I was relieved but also scared that it would happen again. 

It would take some time years after that to process and accept myself as someone who suffers from anxiety. Now that I know I have panic attacks, I try to figure out my triggers and work on them instead of harping on it. 

When people see me, they see my happiness, my positivity, and the joy I have. Yes, I am very optimistic, but I am HUMAN. Mental Health is real and does not discriminate. However, it was my darkest days that made me feel strong. Because even though each panic attack I have had, I made it through. When you make it through those dark days, you appreciate the brighter days.

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