When Anxiety Attacks

Gila Lyons brings her history of panic attacks to life:

My whole body was crying wolf, continually screaming danger when there was none. I know I feel like I can’t breathe, but can I breathe? I know I can’t open my jaw or unclench my fists, but can I will the adrenaline to stop making this so? I’ve practiced listening to the smaller, deeper voice that says, You’ve felt this way before, you’re probably fine. Yet often in the throes of a closing throat or shaking thighs it crosses my mind that one of these times it may be a real sign of impending danger—a heart attack, anaphylactic shock, death—the familiar litany I sing to myself when the physical symptoms arise, and if I try to talk myself out of it that’ll be the end of me, because this time it was real, this time, the wolf had come.