The prompt for this was, “Lets shed some reality on mental illness. It’s not cute, it’s not a joke and it’s not an excuse: Write about a panic or anxiety attack.”
I just want to add the disclaimer that it’s not a good idea to drive while having an anxiety attack. If you’re prone to them (mine don’t strike all that often) it might be best to have a built-in plan for what to do if you need to get off the road, even if it’s just to pretend you have a sudden burning desire to stop for Starbucks or something.
If you like what you read, feel free to like it on TheProse as well!
I feel it working up my insides from somewhere deep, a heaviness of my arms and legs that immobilizes me beyond extremely basic functions. Beneath my skin I feel a sharp tingle, a whole body experience of that pins and needles feeling of waking up fasterthanthis. At first it’s not painful. Then it is. I try to breathe deeply, gripping the steering wheel hard because I’m trying to keep it together, the force of my concentration whitening my knuckles.
From a long way off I hear, “Are you okay?”
I am not okay. I know I should pull over but honestly, the thought of finding somewhere to pull over makes it worse. No, I will get through this, all I have to do is watch everything around me with maniacal focus and try to breath.
“Sure,” I say. In, out, in. “Hey, can you turn the radio on?”