Panic Disorder: Living Life On Red Alert

“Panic attacks won’t kill you, just breathe. Be mindful. Calm down. It’s no big deal.”

Oh, how sick I am of hearing this sort of thing in response to anxiety and panic disorder. OF COURSE, I know panic attacks won’t kill me. I also know that my entire life is lived on red alert where even the most benign events can trigger fight of flight impulses. I fight these impulses as hard as I can and sometimes I am successful. I feel it inwardly and it’s terrifying and it sucks but I don’t show it on the outside.

More often, though, I fail to keep things wrapped up tightly and others can see all is not right in Morgueland. I can just imagine the ‘deer in the headlights’ look I must have when panic sets in. The sweating (btw, bevahiorists and polygraphs, sweat is NOT always an indicator of dishonesty, for some of us just a ringing phone can set off a physical reaction, viva panic disorder), the hyperventilating, the trembling, the inability to form coherent thoughts and act accordingly….Well, it has proven difficult for others to handle time and again and I have found myself losing relationships because I can’t even go out to a crowded restaurant or a concert without this extreme reaction.

If anyone grasped how much I like music and how much I want to be able to enjoy live bands…Then they’d get how much these disorders cripple me. But people don’t understand, don’t try to. Fair enough,tending to a friend’s panic attacks are not a good way to spend the evening, nor do I expect anyone to handhold when it happens. Though it would be refresing were people to simply tell me I am an embarrassment as opposed to shuffling off as if I am biohazardous.

This post comes because today I find myself quite strung out with anxiety. I heard footsteps earlier outside the window and it set off ‘fight or flight’ receptors. Which is ridiculous but it’s very real. Not fatal but very, very real. I am not faking the speeding heart, the sweat rolling down my sides, my heart squeezing in my chest like someone’s fist is around it…I am just as terrified as if faced with a machete wielding homicidal maniac.

It is illogical, and sure, snap out of it already.

I’ll get right on that as soon as the general public snaps out of their ‘being an asshole’ disorder.


Enough said.

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