Once I couldn’t breathe

Panic-attack by George Grie

Once I couldn’t breathe. Lungs felt constricted, small. Deep breaths weren’t possible. With shallow breath, came fear, panic. It could strike anytime, anywhere. Panic-attacks really can feel like dying. You can’t breathe, heart beats painfully, reality narrows down to a gauntlet of worst nightmares.

I became obsessed with avoiding. Perpetually on my watch, fearful of anything that awoke the panic. Eventually I became a nervous wreck, who couldn’t face public commuting, certain neighborhoods or going to my childhood small-town.
Life dwindled.

One day, a wise woman, asked how my breath was. First the question made little sense, but eventually I realized I didn’t breathe deep, with my stomach. The way I learned as a singer. Retraining, I discovered a connection with true-self, a path to less stress.
Possibility of self-love.
My voice.

There are moments between heart-beats.
Between breaths.
Wherein lies lifes true meaning.

© RedCat


I’m back to turning my life into prose or poetry. Here in just 144 words, I try to tell how full fledged anxiety and/or PTSD induced panic-attacks feel, what they do to you, and what I found to help me.

This is also much on my mind since I’m back to doing breath-exercises. It seems I have more to learn in this area too. Especially relating to breathing, meditating and self-compassion.

Posted in response to Prosery: Between Heartbeats.

10 thoughts on “Once I couldn’t breathe

Add yours

  1. Thank you for sharing some of your life in your prose piece, and what you found to help with panic attacks. I have suffered from them too and identified with much of what you have described, especially the opening paragraph. I love that you linked singing to breathing and self-love.

  2. I can so relate to all of this. I once took a self-guided seminar called Attacking Anxiety and Depression – years ago – and haven’t had a panic attack since. Once you know what they are and how you took yourself there, they become not as scary. I can see how mindful, slow, focused breathing can choke them off also.

    I’m with you in all of this. Maybe we’ve had similar life situations. I, too, am always seeking/finding my voice.

    Best wishes to you.

  3. I love when a story has a wise woman with a question calling for introspection! You’ve really conveyed the way that life itself constricts when the breath does, and the recovery movement as breath, and life, opens again in a new way.

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