Sophia’s Story

It starts with a sudden, overwhelming sensation that something is terribly wrong. I’m in the grocery store, reaching for a carton of milk, when the first wave hits me. My heart races, pounding so hard it feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest. I can’t breathe. My vision narrows, I can’t seem to focus and the edges of the world blur.

I drop the milk and grab the shopping cart for support. The lights above seem too bright, the noise of the store too loud, the world becomes overwhelming. My skin becomes clammy, and I feel like I’m about to faint. I know it’s a panic attack, but that knowledge does nothing to stop the terror.

It feels like I’m dying, like I have to get out of here right now or something horrible will happen.

I leave my cart and walk towards the exit, pushing past other shoppers, my vision blurry. My legs feel weak, barely able to carry me. I rush through the doors and out into the car park, gasping for air. I lean against a car, my hands are shaking uncontrollably. The world feels surreal, like I’m watching myself from a distance.

Minutes pass, though it feels like an eternity, before the panic begins to decrease. My heart slows down, my breathing steadies, and the world comes back into focus. But the aftermath leaves me exhausted, drained, and embarrassed.

I wonder if anyone noticed, if they saw me fall apart. The thought of their judgment makes my stomach churn.

I sit in my car for a long time, trying to gather the strength to drive home. I replay the episode in my mind, over and over, each time feeling the residual fear. My panic disorder turns everyday activities into minefields, where any moment can trigger an attack. It’s a constant, looming threat that shadows me, making even simple tasks feel insurmountable.

I want to live without this fear, without the constant dread of the next attack. But for now, I focus on small victories—like making it home in one piece. Maybe tomorrow will be better, or maybe it won’t. All I can do is take it one day at a time.

Click here to return to the Panic Attack page