I expereienced my first panic attack this week. It began at 9:00pm as was laying in bed wide awake next to my sleeping husband. I am slated to teach a college software class this fall semester.
I begin to picture myself in front of the classroom. Fifteen students staring at me. Eighteen year old boys muttering to each other, "She has no idea what she's doing. I know these programs better than she does. What a waste."
I try to breath slowly, but my heart keeps racing. Faster and faster. I can feel it pounding in my chest. I flip over. I flip over again. Back and forth. Back and forth. I silently tell myself, "You HAVE to think about something else."
I think about babies. I think about my friend's crazy yellow lab. I think about my job. I remember how clueless I was as a freshman in my software classes. I tell myself, "The students will be a clueless as I was. They won't know anything." I see myself in front of the classroom again. The students are staring at me. Brainy boys laugh as I fumble to answer simple questions, "She has no idea. I cannot believe I'm paying for this."
What happened to the good thoughts?!
I retreat to the living room and escape into the world of fiction until my heart stops racing and my eyes grow heavy. I return to bed near midnight and finally fall asleep. Now I know what a panic attack is.