My public panic attack restored my faith in humanity

If you've read my blog, you know that, in the last couple years, I have decided to start publicly talking about my anxiety. But yesterday, something happened that's never happened to me before. I had a public panic attack.

I was at a bar with a couple of friends when, all of the sudden, I burst out crying (which later turned into sobbing). I felt a tight pressure in my chest, my face felt warm and I was breathing quickly. My brain was thinking, "Oh my god! There are people around! Stop it!" But, psychically, there was nothing I could do.

My friends, who I've met since moving to Lansing, had to witness this -- a side of me only a handful of people have seen in my entire life. I kept repeating how I was an awful person and how I hated myself and saying that I didn't deserve for them to be so nice to me. And, even though they would compliment me, my anxiety was stronger than their words and I wouldn't believe them.

Yet they stuck by me and didn't judge me. And I didn't notice a single person at the bar look at me like I was a crazy person.

When I went outside for some fresh air and, more or less, started hyperventilating on the sidewalk, nearly everyone who walked past me asked if they could help. One stranger even went in to the bar and brought me out a cup of water.

My friend Frank helped me regain control of my breathing by instructing me to slowly breathe in and out. He told me to focus on my feet instead of focusing on thoughts that would add to my panic (which definitely helped calm me down), and he and my friend, Kate, gave me a big hug to show me I wasn't alone. Afterward, Kate brought me to her apartment, made me hot chocolate and assured me that she would always be there for me and that, no, I wasn't crazy.

My mom, without knowing what was going on, texted me "I love you" during my panic attack (definitely proof that there is an unspoken mother/daughter connection). And, when she felt like something was wrong, she called me immediately.

Last night restored my faith in humanity, and I want to say thank you to Kate, Frank, my mom and the strangers who offered to help. You don't know how much that meant to me.

I share this story because I know a lot of people are afraid of letting people see their mental illness. But, if you let people in, they may surprise you. Last night showed me that, maybe, people are finally becoming more accepting of mental illness, and that, more often than not, others will help you and not judge you.

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  1. Monica, you are one of the nicest people I've ever known, so it's only fair that people be nice to you, always.

  2. Monica, you are one of the nicest people I've ever known, so it's only fair that people be nice to you, always.


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