I didn’t really get the chance to talk about it, but I feel kind of proud of myself. Monday night I went to Uncultivated Rabbits and at the end of the writing poetry work shop a girl started having a panic attack. I noticed from the way she was breathing rapidly and her grip feeling tight and the loud broken cries that she was going into rapid shock. I know how that feels. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Your heart starts to hurt, it gets tight, you lose feelings in your arms, then your hands, and sometimes even your chest, even you legs. I took her outside along with the few other people trying to calm her down and had her take deep slow steady breaths, continually reminding her to take it slow and easy. I made her loosen her grip and kept telling her that even if we barely met I think it’s best to just let go of all the stress that could be causing the pain. I’ve been there; I’ve done that. My panic attacks come when I try suppressing the pain or stress, and in her case she was extremely stressed from grad school acceptances to her future performances coming out. I did my best to keep telling her to tell herself she is going to be fine. I kept telling her it’s going to be okay. In some ways, though we had panic attacks for different reasons (mine over my break up) I still saw bits of me in her when she was struggling. I wanted to do my best to help her get through this episode. (I even threw in a couple of my best corny jokes to let her laugh a little)
After she calmed down, one of the board members came up to me and thanked me. She was really impressed at how I handled the situation and took good care of the girl. I told her about my experiences dealing with panic attacks. Soon we got into the talk about my goals for my future, my major, the works. What she said next took me by surprise. She said that one day I’m going to be a great Physical Therapist because from what she saw, she noticed that I was really caring and genuine towards the girl. This gives me hope that maybe I can reform this tumult of a healthcare system we have. I want to be the kind of doctor that can somehow acknowledge my patient’s stories and learn from them as well. I want to be someone they can trust and nurse back. I feel it my duty and a blessing to be able to put a smile on people’s faces and help them get back to feeling alive.