When most people think of panic attacks, a certain image comes to mind. Maybe it’s one of someone sitting on the floor in a far corner, or on a chair bent over, hands over their ears, or on their head, hyperventilating and struggling to breathe normally. For some, that’s the case. But nobody ever talks about what happens after. I recently read an article that sums up what happens when one has a panic attack “hangover”–and I just had one.
This is one post I could do without writing, but I feel compelled to write, so bear with me a moment, would you?
As I type this, after spending 25 minutes in panic attack mode, I’m still struggling to ground myself. I’m still in a dissociated, not-quite-here-yet state of mind. My mouth feels dry even though I just ate a salad drenched in lemon juice and Italian dressing. My hands are still shaking and my brain is still going 100mph. 25 minutes may not seem like a long time, but when you are in the midst of a panic attack, especially one that evolves into a flashback, you lose the sense of time. It’s 5:19 p.m. right now, according to my clock, but that means nothing to me. I have a major headache from crying so much in that 25-minute time span. My eyes hurt and I am emotionally and mentally exhausted; I’m surprised my brain hasn’t exploded yet. For now, I need to take care of myself. I think a shower and a nap could help. Maybe tomorrow will be better.