I couldn’t catch my breath.
“It’s all in my head,” I told myself. “I just need to relax, take a walk, and wash my face.”
I walked back into class a few minutes later, not feeling any better. I tried to ignore what was happening to my body. The next class started, and I felt myself about to burst. I ran out as to not embarrass myself and found a private place to sit. I couldn’t breathe; I was shaking and crying. I felt like I was dying, and I thought I was at the end of my life. I tried different methods of calming down that have worked for me in the past. I sang, watched a show, drank water- nothing was helping. I was petrified and felt helpless. This went on for about an hour before I finally came to the realization that I needed help. My cousin came and helped me get up and took me home. It took me a long time to get back to myself, but I eventually did.
I was already taking medication and trying to deal with depression. I felt like I was getting better, that I was improving, and the panic attack felt like a step back. I was so disappointed with myself; it appeared things weren’t getting better, just worse no matter how hard I tried. With the help of family, friends, and professionals I was able to understand that this did not mean I was going in the wrong direction but rather a very common event for people dealing with depression. Depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand together and are treatable.
This was the first of many panic attacks I experienced. Some were worse than others. All were unique. There were times that I became mute for a couple of hours, yet times I was able to calm myself down almost immediately. Some attacks caused me to stay awake all night shaking and some had me going to bed crying. The panic attacks have not stopped, but now I know how to deal with them. It’s a long, exhausting, and everlasting process to learn to live with depression and anxiety, but it is possible! I still must ask for help many times, but that’s okay. Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness or failure but rather an essential step to recovery.
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