23 Comments
Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

For me it’s sensory overload. Words stop making sense, my ears ring loudly, clothing feels wrong, lights are too bright, objects around me seem overwhelming…it’s a full body experience where everyday things are suddenly painful and/or too much to process.

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Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

I think the way I described it when they first began was just this sense of being outside myself. I would get them at high school dances and other similar events, and I’d get this sense that I was just looking at myself from above and watching myself weave through the crowd and I couldn’t do anything about my climbing heart rate and inability to take a deep breath. It just felt so removed - like I was going through something so entirely divorced from my actual physical reality and I couldn’t really control it.

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Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

Chest pain, racing heart that won’t slow down, hyperventilation, feeling like you are going to die. All ability to process and function falls apart as you are gripped by this intense terror and physical pain.

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Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

A really good metaphor for my anxiety (that I've held onto forever) is the feeling one would get if they were an astronaut in outer space that has been separated from their spacecraft/fellow astronauts/anything known. The movie Gravity (2013) with Sandra Bullock plays on this fear really well, and is aptly named, because the lack of gravity--the sensation of freefall--plays a huge role. A panic attack is extended freefall-you are failing, helpless, untethered. On a physical level, you have nothing to push off of, no way to change your situation, you are lost to the void. What's more, though, is that there's nothing in sight in any direction but stars, no sense of direction/home, no one to call out to ("in space, no one can hear you scream", as they say). Panic attacks, for me, are my mind entering this state of desperation. I am disoriented, disconnected from everything around me, and powerless to change anything. A lot of it stems from a sense of being isolated and unable to meaningfully communicate from those around me, but realizing that over and over again rapidly adds an element of hopelessness and despair that I imagine is similar to someone realizing they'll die an icy, lonely death in an incomprehensible vast nothingness, light-years from home.

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Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

A panic attack feels like heart ramming into throat

Walk fast breath fast

Dizzy fallover tummy ache

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Like my feelings are so strong they might actually kill me (the more intense ones)

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Nov 17, 2022·edited Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

Panic attacks are characterized by a loss of control for me. I lose grip on my usual emotional autonomy as if my feelings have become their own sort of beast within me. I don't know if that's universal, but it certainly feels like the detachment from self is evident in the other comments here. After the panic passes, I feel a need to nurture myself, to hold myself and console my body. Not only because panic attacks are exhausting, but because I feel as if the panicky state was not my own conscious doing. (which I guess it isn't)

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Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

It's a strange sensation of being both locked in place and disconnected from my body, like a ghost tethered to the place she haunts; I felt insubstantial, powerless to alter anything within the leaden, outwardly catatonic stillness of my body, only able to watch it from the outside.

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My panic attacks are paralyzing - my body limp as my brain runs a thousand miles a minute and I spiral into deeply catastrophic thoughts. Disturbing images and intrusive thoughts overwhelm me and it feels like the only way to “solve” it would be to crawl out of my skin, put my flesh on a hanger, to get under my covers and hide.

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Nov 26, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

I’ve never read a description of panic quite like this, wow. I only recently started processing myself as having “broken years” recently so I don’t have the same dread of returning, but I deeply resonate w the sensation of something clicking open and suddenly being in the present and somewhere else at once, unable to process either/anything

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I have always described it like a heavy wet blanket being placed over me, like I’m lying on the ground and someone lowers it over me from my toes to my head. A gradual smothering

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a tornado made of wolves ...

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Nov 17, 2022Liked by P.E. Moskowitz

i had a panic attack that woke me out of my almost-sleep last summer. I literally thought i was having a heart attack! my neck chest and arm were numb and tingling and my heart was racing so fast i was terrified lol. I thought it was so weird it happened after i went to bed and not when i was crying about something earlier. doctors confirmed it wasnt a heart attack

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My panic attacks are sudden death! Whoosh! The apocalypse! The big one! It’s real this time!! I’m having a heart attack! Mommy! Frantic, frenzy! shaking hands shaking thoughts thoughts that don’t feel like thoughts just sensations -- being electrocuted. The four horsemen: tachycardia, weakness, tremors, hyperventilating. My left side goes numb what left side? I’m half a person I can’t think it’s just death. It’s falling -- the literal sensations of falling -- and into an abyss but the abyss is not black or dark, it is white and too bright and too loud. It’s like the opposite of the quiet that hangs when it’s snowing. It’s dying over and over again and coming back to life over and over because you do. But sometimes you kinda wish you wouldn’t. it’s why I took Klonopin for 11 years it’s the worst feeling in the whole world!!! #neverthelessshepersisted

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I actually never realized mine were panic attacks until I described my "quiet rage spirals" to a therapist. I very very rarely feel the feeling of anger so it was very confusing to me that I'd experience an event where I'd feel threatened and my reaction was "out of body, something taking over and just *handling things* to get us out of that situation". It very much does feel like im not in control and far away (I can't listen to asmr because it sounds exactly like this to me), and my chest is aching but there's weird twinges in the fronts of my shoulders, and my hands are just very tense? Like something wants to fold in on myself but the rest of me is going rigid to prevent it?

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I started getting them one day on the 405 South driving to Long Beach. I was next to the fast lane and all of a sudden I couldn't believe I was in control of my car. I was afraid to look in the rear view or side mirrors and when I moved to the slower right lane, I suddenly became aware of how So Cal freeways are often above street level and have no barrier on the right. It was wild. It took me a while to feel comfortable on freeways again but recently I drove to Palm Springs hitting 80 mph.

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