So I’m pretty sure I’ve entered a new level of hell – having a full blown panic attack in my dream. Yeah. That’s been a fucking blast. Waking up with chest pains, elevated breathing, & in a cold sweat. I know it’s just a dream. I KNOW. But to my mind, it was real. To my body, I’m waking up & freaking out & I don’t know why. Then, I’m lying there for about an hour or so until everything calms down enough & I can go back to bed. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long; sometimes it’s more like 30 minutes. Regardless, it’s half an hour of hell. Try going back to sleep after that. Yeah. It doesn’t really happen.
And in my dreams, it seems like anything can trigger it. I find my dream self quickly overwhelmed & in the corner curled up in a ball. Next thing I know, I’m hyperventilating, rocking back & forth, & crying through the chest pains. I feel trapped in my skin. I once dreamt I was trying to rip my skin off because my chest was so tight. Yeah. It’s a nightmare.
So you can imagine my disgust when someone uses the term “panic attack” casually. These facetious assholes have no idea the torment people like myself go through. There have been plenty of times when I was a sobbing, painful mess right before I had to see people or go to work or whatever. Begging God to kill me just to get it over with. You just don’t know. Don’t call your mini freak out over losing your keys or something else minor a “panic attack.” I get it. As Americans, we use hyperboles like no one’s business (see what I did there?). But in this case, choose a different word.