There is a moment right before a panic attack when I feel frozen in time. My chair is tipped back, about to fall, and my heart is in my throat as I wait for the drop. The world sinks away and a nauseating, sick tranquility floats before my eyes. Then slowly my blood thaws, and I feel fear creeping to my soul. Then comes the drop and my body slams against the ground, shattering peace.
My hands begin to shake as my body is thrown into chaos. Heart pounding, breath suffocating, blood chilling agony envelops my body. Terror unprovoked runs frozen in my veins. I am like a rabid animal watching for my invisible attacker. My curled fingers claw at the ground trying to release the pain. Tears stream down my face as my mind groans for release.
I try to find a handhold on reality as I gasp for air. I beg for oblivion as I convulse on the floor. I strain not to run, to escape into the dark night, to run and run and run. My hands grasp at empty air; seeking liberation from the grip of fear. My throat screams for release and the world hears a broken gasp uttering, “Jesus”.
The storm falls silent, I have found the eye of the hurricane, a stolen glimpse of freedom. Although I know the droplets of peace fall ever faster down the hourglass as the winds surge forward. The clock counts down; ten, nine eight. I sit up, push my tangled hair away, and look at the stars shining in the heavens. The clock counts down; seven, six, five. I breath in the life-giving air and relish its taste. The clock counts down; four, three, two. I shut my swollen eyes, pull my arms over my head and rock back and forth. The clock counts down; see your doom.
A ferocity begins to build as I rebel screaming mercy. I pull at the chains, sobbing violently as malevolent hands throw me down. My eyes stream with hot tears as I grapple not to tear my shirt in two. My lungs drown in the choking fear. My hold on reality is gone. All I have is the hope I have in God. I can’t take another moment of this, oh Lord give me relief.
The quiet night air sweeps past a girl, seemingly dead. No taint of blood, no attacker near, but there she lies alone and unmoving. The only sign of life are the drops of pain slowly running down her cheeks. Despite terror having left, her soul will rest a little longer till it is ready to live again.
The ache is overwhelming. The fear is insufferable. But it is all in my head, is it not? Am I insane, mentally unstable, emotionally incapable? What is it they say? I am mentally ill. Maybe so, but I say I am not defined by that. What I am is a child of God. So despite the suffering, I will live again.