“Oh my gosh, I just had a panic attack, I thought I lost my keys!”

A slight panic, and a panic attack are two very, very different things, and it’s hard to really understand a panic attack until you actually are in the midst of one, so please don’t use the words, “panic attack” when over dramatizing a sudden unfortunate event.

I had my first panic attack last August and it literally scared me to death. I was at my parents house, and a plethora of uncontrollable triggers set off the seemingly worst experience of my life to date. I my heart was racing out of control, I felt like my skin was crawling, and I couldn’t stop it. I didn’t want to be touched, not even by the door frame I was clinging to, and it felt like metaphorical walls were closing in on me. Terrifying doesn’t even begin to explain the experience.

When I got back to school the following month, I scheduled an appointment with Student Health Services and was prescribed aprazalom to take in the event I felt a panic attack coming on. I told my doctor that this was very unnecessary because I’m well aware of how stubborn I am and know full well that I would not take the medicine if the opportunity presented itself (whether it’s control issues or pride, the world may never know).

I was somehow able to coax myself out of what I was certain was going to be a panic attack last month when I got electrocuted. I didn’t take the pill (like I informed my doctor I wouldn’t) and ended up coming out of it.

Tonight was a different story though.

I was sitting on Josh’s bed writing a paper for my Strategic Management class while he was working at his desk. The paper was comparing the strategies of two different companies of our choice- doesn’t seem panic attack inducing, right?

I had all my thoughts and notes neatly organized and began writing. I was comparing two different banks: one huge and the other one large, but not as big. I started to feel regret well up inside me as I began thinking I had made the wrong decision.

I don’t know what it is about me, but I think my pride was getting the better of me. This summer I had the opportunity to complete my DREAM internship with a Big 4 accounting firm, work in the skyscrapers in downtown Minneapolis, travel to different client sites, experience the risk assurance field firsthand, make loads of money, and learn more about myself. It was harder than I’d ever imagined to turn that full-time offer down. In the end, I did it because it what was best for me. I felt the holy spirit nudging me in a different direction and I reluctantly decided to actually listen to Him.

Accepting the position I did was DEFINITELY not a downgrade. It is an unbelievable opportunity. I just was struck when I noticed the words “Big 4 Banking” (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America), and my future place of employment wasn’t one of them. It struck me in a way that I’ve never been stabbed before.

I looked up from my paper, and told Josh that I was feeling discouraged and I’d like to talk about it once my paper was done. I got up, made myself a bowl of gorp, and plopped back on the bed to continue writing.

All of a sudden, my eyes did an inexplicable flutter and my heart followed suit.

“I think I’m having a panic attack”

I told Josh. Bless his heart, he immediately turned off our Spotify study playlist, and grabbed his water bottle for me. He’s never seen me actually have a panic attack, but in the moment, all I could think about was getting that pill into my system. I don’t remember crawling off the bed or finding my backpack, but the next thing I knew I was fumbling with the stupid CVS child-proof bottle, hands shaking and vision blurred. I managed to get the pill out, bit it in half, and choked down some of the water that Josh gave me. I shriveled up into a ball in the middle of the kitchen floor and just prayed it would all end soon.

Somehow Josh knew I didn’t want to be touched. Touch, for me at least, is the last thing I want when I’m in the midst of a panic attack. He brought out a box of Kleenex and sat with me on the floor until it stopped.  I swear he was literally sent right from Heaven, it’s absolutely incredible how he always seems to know exactly how to handle every and any situation.

When my heart rate finally began to slow down, and the shaking started to cease, the tears started to flow. I grabbed Josh’s hand and squeezed at tight as I could muster. He helped me up and we went to go sit on the bed. He rocked me as I cried, and kept reminding me to breathe. Continually wiping my tears away, and making sure my mascara wasn’t completely smeared, he held my face in his hands and told me I was going to be okay.

I apologized for him having to see me that way, and he stopped me before I could even finish. He told me he loved me no matter what, and nothing I did could ever make him love me any less. We sat there, me leaning into his chest, as he gently rubbed my back and reassured me that there was nothing to be apologetic for.