I’ve always struggled with describing what having a panic attack is like. Today, I have a good analogy. It’s like trying to fold a fitted sheet. You know, the sheets that have the elastic corners to hug the mattress. Have you ever tried to fold one of those suckers? Well, needless to say, you feel like the sucker in the end and it’s still not folded.
First, you pick up the sheet and the find the corners. Put your hands in them and think, “yes, I can do this.” But then you start to fold and it looks off balance. The corners don’t match up. The lines don’t match when folded. You unfold and start again. This time it gets all bunched up in the corners and you start to become frustrated. You start folding this way and that. Using the chair or couch as an extra hand; holding your arms as wide as they’ll go while standing on your tippy toes; holding it over your head; wrapping it around your body. It’s useless and it’s hard to do, so you give up and throw it down or just fold it as best you can and put it away in the linen closet and think to yourself, “no one will see it in there.”
Well my friends, that is very similar as suffering a panic attack. You start out thinking everything is ok, but then it starts and you try and fight it. You try every little thing to stop it and finally you give in and lay down and feel like that’s it. It’s the end and you feel crumpled and disheveled. You feel like a sucker. After this, you pull yourself together as best you can and then put it away inside of you and think, “no one will see it in there.”
So today, I guess I’m fighting my way out of an unfolded, wet sheet.