Warning: This could be a trigger if you’ve had a panic attack. This could be informative if you’ve wondered if you’ve ever had one. These two articles are just some I found that could help explain the agony of a panic attack. It helped when I found out that lots of other people with panic attacks felt this way too, so don’t be afraid if you’ve had one and thought you were crazy.
The first thing when I woke up at 3 or 4 am this morning was:
a) I have to kill myself
b) I agreed to go biking with some people in a few hours.
I also remember thinking: I need to get my heart rate down! at the same time thinking, nothing’s wrong because my heartbeat is normal. But how much of that was real anyways? Because I also remember struggling to catch my breath, and beyond all that an immense feeling of guilt. I’ve never felt an overwhelming desire to kill myself and at the same time try to regain my breath. The feeling was so physical I couldn’t think until I was breathing again and a cognition of tiredness/will to live prompted me to go back to bed. And still, the guilt was insane, everything was my fault. I needed to kill this guilt, and I was the guilt, so I needed to die.
It felt like a long time before I felt somewhat rational again and could bargain my way out of this feeling. Ie if I went to the biking this morning, I would prove that I was a kind, fun loving person. I wrote out all my guilts, or at least I thought I did. When I looked back at the document that I wrote, though, I didn’t write anything of that sort. Between the agony of giving up and the agony of having to interact with other people, a desperation like acute pain asked me to make a decision.
I wanted to cry because I felt like I had barely escaped with my life, but anxiety prevented me from loosening up. Several years after my first panic attack I now understand that this sudden onsite of feeling like you’re dying is characteristic of these attacks. The intense feeling wasn’t gone but it was more bearable, and I reached enough peace to fall back asleep.
Afterwards I woke up one hour earlier to hop on the bus to get on my way to meet up with the other bikers. We were seven all; beginner bikers being led onto a beginner trail by some kind volunteers. I felt at ease. I even pedalled up one of the wooden ladders in the park; and I felt no fear when I fell down. I simply, instinctually, dropped the two foot drop and landed on both wheels. Several times. I loved this, and the more I did it the more competitive and in tune I felt; as we biked over the board walks, rocks, and roots, I had never felt so in love. And I had just wanted to kill myself that morning. So I trust that I can do the right thing, even if it means peeling myself away from sleep and feeling somewhat suicidal until I get to the trail and let go of my thoughts. They aren’t me. I am.