I sometimes get these panic attacks.

Triggers come in multiple, various forms. Sometimes it is because I am asked about what college I want to go to. Sometimes it is because I am asked about what career I would like to pursue. Sometimes it is because of needles, whether they’re just being viewed or actually punctured into my arm. Sometimes it is because I have read a story or sentence that is emotionally relevant. And sometimes, like right now, they just happen out of the blue with no particular spark or warning sign.

When these panic attacks occur, suffocation is my only coherent sensation. My lungs take in considerable amounts of air, but this only exaggerates my distress. Each conscious breath that I take is calculated and forced. My heart pounds a pattern of irregular beats that are too rapid and changing. This detrimental organ is pumping blood at the same pace of a hummingbird’s fluttering wings. My breaths are not in sync with my heartbeat and pulse. This is phase one: hyperventilation.

My thoughts are a complete and utterly jumbled, chaotic catastrophe by this point. Whatever was the triggering component is now on a constant, never-ceasing cycle in the forefront of my thinking. No matter how I try to distract myself, I’m unable to make my mind quiet down. My thoughts are demanding and debilitating.

There are several different avenues that I go about in trying to conclude these anxiety-ridden, mental episodes. When I first started experiencing them, back when I was twelve, my parents would give me some Benadryl and a can of Mountain Dew. That little, pink pill is still a reliable option for calming my nerves and stifling my brain, due to its drowsiness-inducing nature. But because I get these attacks so frequently, my parents made me cut back on my medicinal assistance out of fear that I could develop a resistance and addiction to the drug. Taking a warm bubble bath has proved to be a viable solution, as well. I also swear by essential oils! A few drops of lavender oil on my wrists to breathe in while laying in bed is very tranquilizing.

Through the enduring of other harmful, unmentionable acts in hope of putting an end to my anxiety, I found that writing is a very enjoyable and satisfying outlet for me. I began this post while at the peak of an intense, emotional attack. In between sips of soothing lemon-ginger tea and typing, relief has overwhelmed.

I’m back to normal now.