Panic Attack Situations

You are at the office, just sitting at the computer trying to work. Suddenly, everything slows down and you can’t breathe. You feel like you can’t move and you feel a tingly sensation start to move across your body. Your fingers won’t type, and your eyes well up with tears. What’s happening? Your heart is pounding so loudly you are afraid your co-workers will hear it. You notice that your stomach is in knots and it starts to hurt. You feel nauseous and you’re not sure why. You start to panic because you know your boss is across the hall and she could walk in the room at any given moment and you still won’t be able to move. All you can do is hope no one around you notices.

You’re in class and the professor says there is a pop quiz. Okay, this is fine. You’re fine. You can do this. Once you fill out your name at the top of the page, your vision goes blurry and your heart starts to race so fast that you can’t feel it anymore. Big, fat tears start rolling down your face, and you start to tremble. You summon the strength to raise your hand, but the teacher asks you to speak and you just can’t. You decide to wave her over awkwardly and tell her your vision is blurring. What is happening? The professor takes you into the hall and tells you to sit on the floor while she calls for a campus EMT. This just panics and confuses you further. Finally, when you are calm, you realize you have had a panic attack.

You are sleeping soundly in bed when you wake up with a jolt. Suddenly your heart is racing and you are covered in sweat. You notice that your heart is racing and you wonder “am I having a heart attack?” You start to panic, and this just stresses you out further. You feel a sharp pain in your chest, and start to panic more, because what if you really are having a heart attack? What if you are about to die? There are so many things you haven’t done yet. You start to panic more and feel physically ill.  Desperate to stop the chest pains and calm yourself down, you start pacing the room, but it only seems to make your heart beat faster and makes you feel worse. This lasts for about fifteen minutes, and finally, you feel better.

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Panic Attack Situations

Caiti Gearsbeck

Caitlin is an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention and lives with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. She is passionate about spreading awareness and sharing her story and hopes to help others living with mental illness feel less alone in their journey.

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APA Reference
Gearsbeck, C. (2017). Panic Attack Situations. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Oct 2017
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