I remember that I couldn’t breathe.

I gasped for air as my heart threatened to beat out of my chest. I frantically looked at my mom and dad for answers as I laid in their bed.

They looked confused—they hadn’t scolded me for something serious. They didn’t understand why I was freaking out.  I was hyperventilating and crying.  No matter how many times my dad told me to stop—and no matter how hard I tried to—the anxiety clung to me until I thought I might pass out.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I completely lost control.

After a while, I felt my body relax and the tears stopped, but I still felt the paranoia and exhaustion. Both side effects of my episode. It was like my body had been wrung dry, leaving my mental and emotional states in shambles. I would try to sleep it off, but the headache would linger for days.

That’s one of my first memories. What I felt as a kid, I’d later put a name to. Anxiety.

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