It was a regular day, busy, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was walking to the train after class when my boyfriend called asking me to pick up something for dinner. Like a lot of couples, we wasted a five-minute phone call debating what we would eat.
Shortly after hanging up, my heart started pounding. I began gasping for breath – every noise on the street suddenly ringing out in my ears. Sweat began pouring from every pore like a running faucet.
What to do if someone around you has a panic attack. Post continues below.
The tunnel I had nonchalantly walked through every day to the subway now appeared daunting. Terrifying, even.
I slammed my back against a brick wall and tried to slow myself down. Time became slowed, while my heart raced frantically.
I have no idea how long I stood there for.
Eventually, I peeled myself from the wall, stumbled to the store and blankly shot my order to the clerk.
I ordered for my boyfriend only, the very thought of food prompting my already nauseated stomach to churn.
The whole experience was sickening and confusing, to say the least, but the worst part was that I honestly had no idea what had just happened to me.
Returning home and filling in my boyfriend – who was already worried as to why I hadn’t been replying to his texts – on the entire strange ordeal left me with no more clarity. We were both stumped. Maybe it was just a weird once-off?
I turned to Doctor Google and typed in my symptoms – shortness of breath, heart racing, sweating, and dizziness. Two diagnoses appeared.
A heart attack and a panic attack.
Considering I was still functioning and slowly settling down, I diagnosed myself with the latter.
As someone who has never had issues with my mental health, I knew very little about anxiety, and panic attacks in particular. To be frank, I always thought they weren’t a real thing or just an over-exaggeration of someone feeling a little freaked out.