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Anxiety Angst: Here’s an in-depth look at a panic attack

Artwork+by+Kaylin+Meyers
Artwork by Kaylin Meyers

Artwork by Kaylin Meyers

Artwork by Kaylin Meyers

Malin Peterson, Editorial Page Editor

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I am sitting in a class waiting to take a test. Already stressed out about it, I continue to study to make sure I can get the best grade for my abilities.

Sitting at my desk, I continue getting questions wrong as I test myself, and my classmates continue to get louder and louder as they finish their own final studying. The louder the voices get, the more I begin to panic.

My breathing is no longer quiet and soft. It is loud in my ears and rough. I make sharp and panicked movements with my head trying to figure out what is happening because I have lost all sense of my surroundings.

My eyesight is fine, but as I sit there, I forget where I am. All I know is that there is a lot of noise that I presume is coming from the people sitting around me, but I don’t hear voices. I see lips moving with no voice, just white noise.

I don’t recognize anyone sitting near me. Everyone is a stranger, and I feel like a child lost in a store, scared and alone. So scared my hands start to shake, my knees feel weak, and I have a swarm of butterflies in my stomach.

Pressure, I feel pressure on my hands and realize it is my other hand squeezing it. All my thoughts are jumbled into a mess with four words flashing across my mind at a time: scared … alone … danger … confused. Those four words repeat in my head. The faster those words appear in my mind, the faster my heart races.

My body temperature changes rapidly. First, I am hot, and then, I am cold, and then, I am hot again.

Tears creep toward my eyelashes. The noise continues to rise, and I break. The tears begin to stream down my face as I lay my head on the desk.

My hands rise to my ears, covering them. I squeeze my hands together to try and block all of the noise out. My eyes shut as I block out the light and commotion.

Finally, I am able to get by breathing back under control, and my heart slows down. The panic in my mind ceases.

One voice slowly breaks through my barrier, and I actually realize who it is. It is my teacher calling me over to take my test.

I stand exhausted and realize that it was all over in a matter of minutes even though it felt like it took an hour.

This is what an anxiety attack looks like.

Most people know what the doctors and psychologist tell the public about anxiety.

They know that anxiety is a disorder where the person feels apprehensive over small things and is tense throughout their day.

How many truly know what it feels like to go through an anxiety attack?

I do, and I know it is difficult for many people who don’t have anxiety to understand what is happening, how it feels, and the exhaustion it brings to the person.

Anxiety attacks can be triggered by many different things, it all depends on the person. Some triggers are loud noises, repetition of questions, and stressful situations like test, or being in a new place.

There are also some signs people can look to see if someone has anxiety. Always fidgeting, tension in one’s body, and closing into themselves when they are put on the spot are a few of those signs. A sudden change in breathing, a panicked look on the face and movement of limbs and head, and a complete shutdown of the mind are others.

In order to tell if someone is having an anxiety attack, observation is the key. Observe the breathing and the look on the face and movement of limbs and head. If they are panicked and sudden or rough, then that person has a chance of having an anxiety attack. The final sign is a complete mental breakdown.

There are ways to help people with anxiety during an attack.

Stay near them, but don’t touch them – it can cause them to retreat into themselves more – help them breathe, and start a conversation with them let them know that this won’t last forever and that there is nothing to fear, but don’t tell them to calm down that will make it worse.

Anxiety is in my life, but it does not control me. However, it does control the lives of many.

Anxiety is not something that can just be swept under the rug. Each time someone has an anxiety attack that person goes through a traumatic experience.

Not being able to recognize my friends are my friends and my eyes are not tricking me is the scariest feeling I have ever experience in my life. I know many others go through it as well, and they are not alone.

I walked back to by teacher’s desk with silent tears rolling down my face. I went through every question with silent shaky breathes.
In the end, everything turned out fine. I passed my test.

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