How panic attacks feel for me, written through the lens of a character I'm building out for a book.
I shut the door with a calmness I don’t feel.
Inside, I am chaos, fear rips through me, irrational and leaving me trembling.
I feel my thoughts spiraling out of control. The next place would be unreachable, my point of no return. I am at the brink of my cliffs of rationality.
My toes push pebbles that clatter into the menacing darkness of the unknown. There is an emptiness in me, and I feel my heartbeat echoing around my body, encased in skin and pinging around like a pinball.
An avalanche of gravel.
Underneath me, the dark throbs with something alive and hungry, impossible to ignore, the gravity of my fear pulling me towards it. My feet are scraping against the cracked edge of reason. I fall onto my knees, hands slipping, finger by finger.
The darkness pulsates below me.
My body is hanging, vulnerable in the maw of night.
I tumble into the darkness of mind-numbing, heart-squeezing, can’t-breath fear.
No. Not fear.
Terror of the unknown. Terror of all the known.
My head is shaking. Screams throb in my throat and I can’t tell if they’re mine; If I’m screaming out loud, if it’s just in my head, if it’s the darkness around me. I fall faster and faster into the quicksand of my mind.
My thoughts travel down that well-beaten path in my brain, my hands trailing the damp walls like they’re old friends.
“Ahhhhh….ahhhhhhh…,” they breathe. “You’re baaaack…. We always knew you’d come baaack…”,
Their voices are slippery, slithery, roped in mist and seduction.
Hard to know where they come from.
My heart pounds and I feel my breath leave me.
I can’t breath.
I’m going to die.
Help! Help! I can’t breath.
The words reverberate in my head, beating inside my skull.
My chest constricts and I double over, sipping air through a straw of a throat.
Cold air slaps my face, a rush of hot blood slaps it back.
Shivering, I let myself sink slowly in the corner between the toilet and the bathtub.
Wall behind me.
Solid on all sides.
Nothing can get me.
It’s not real.
I mutter this manic mantra as my breath shudders through me. I try to take control of my brain, renegade thing, as it flays me useless and whimpering here in the corner. Clutching my knees with my eyes open wide, a chilling thought appears, spectral. The revolt in my head makes me realize that I am not control.
I am not in control.
And if I’m not….what is?