A couple of Saturdays ago I was getting a well-deserved drink after a stressful shift. The Golden State Warriors game was on and I was chilling with my coworker, just shooting the shit and being grateful we were no longer at work. We went outside to smoke a bowl (it’s San Francisco, that’s what we do), and we came back inside and sat down. I was in the middle of telling a story when I started feeling short of breath, like my lungs weren’t being inflated enough. I started to get dizzy and lightheaded. My chest constricted, my heart started hurting. My palms got sweaty and tingly. I felt like I was about to die. I told my friend my symptoms and he assured me that I wasn’t flushed or dripping sweat, that I looked normal. He got me some ice water. He calmed me down. I started to realize that death wasn’t imminent and gradually returned to reality. It was my first panic attack. It was terrifying. I’ve always heard other people talk about them but I never knew how it felt. I didn’t know what was going on and the fear just consumed me. But I dealt with it and now I know I can handle them. I don’t recommend them. I hope you never experience one. But if you do, take it one breath at a time and try to focus on something other than dying. Not great advice, but helpful enough. Remember it.
Critically Rated at 5/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young