Charlotte, with both hands, gripped the arms of the chair and held her breath. She knew this feeling well; panic attacks were frequent for Charlotte anymore.
The pain shot through her chest and and she stared straight ahead, feeling the invisible wall close in around her. Her grip on the chair’s arms grew and she felt as though she was going to tear the arms off. Quivering, everything felt cold and hot at the same time.
She wished she could close her eyes, shut out the world around her, but her shut eyes would only open her to the world of her mind, a scarier and far less predictable world, where familiar, sad, and deadly images would flood the vision of her mind’s eye so rapidly and without mercy that her panic would only grow to the point of irresistible agony.
She tried to regulate her breathing, to practice what her doctor had told her, but it proved to be difficult each time she suffered this, with short, quick breaths taking the place of the longer, deeper, more relaxed breaths she desperately craved.
She could never tell if she was dizzy during these episodes. Everything felt too off while that invisible wall crushed her. She couldn’t move her head, she couldn’t move her body, save for the involuntary spasms up and down her arms and legs and back, and she couldn’t break free from the powerful grip of this invisible force. Her body rejected her control and instead became a shaking stone, where movement proved not only a fleeting dream, but an impossibility.
Minutes passed and Charlotte fought the tears welling in her eyes. Not because she was embarrassed, or ashamed, but because it was the only power she felt she had left over her body when this happened.