I wish I had some elaborate story where my first real panic attack was just after saving a box of kittens from drowning, and even though I suffered the debilitating panic attack, I managed to come out of it a heroine. Like Superwoman. Or Wonder Woman. Or another female superhero I don’t know the name of.
But no. Because this is me. My first real panic attack was walking across a crosswalk. That’s it. Just a random crosswalk.
Without a car, I do a lot of walking. When I had my first panic attack, I was walking across the street after hitting up Starbucks, just like I had done dozens of times before. The panic came when I was about halfway across, and I suddenly couldn’t move. I froze right there in the middle of the crosswalk at a super busy intersection. This wasn’t a little casual side street, it is a major street with a shit load of cars all waiting to pass. So there are about 20 cars on either side watching me as I stand without moving in the middle of a crosswalk, clutching my heart thinking I am having a heart attack, and not being able to breathe.
There were no warning signs, it just came out of nowhere. Completely random. I always thought a real panic attack would be triggered by something, or I would feel my normal anxiety first. But nope. One minute I’m fine, the next my feet feel like they’re made of concrete, I can’t breathe, my throat is dry, it feels like it’s about a million degrees, and my heart palpitations are so bad I just keep waiting for death to take me.
Luckily, I was able to move my concrete feet enough to stumble across and not die, but it sucked. I still felt like I couldn’t breathe and that my heart would stop beating any second, so I clutched my latte and ran for it. I don’t run, so you know this is serious. Like, if a serial killer was chasing me with an axe in his hand, I would try really hard to do a fast-ish walk.
It was about a week later when I realized I was traumatized by my first panic attack, and could no longer walk across that damn street. Since then, I have had all kinds of panic parties. When I’m riding in the car, while walking my dogs, just before falling asleep when the heart palpitations start, when I’m watching
cartoons normal shows that adults watch.
I’m an introvert with social anxiety that now has her worse panic attacks when going outside; it’s a miracle I ever leave the house.
What about you? Have you ever suffered a similar experience? Tell me about so I don’t feel like a crazy weirdo.