Hi guys, turns out I really am still in the learning curve!
Last Saturday, I had a panic attack in the middle of the Cirque du Soleil show in Geneva, and had to leave and stay outside after the halftime break.
How it happened
Walking down to our seats, I felt a bit nauseous and dizzy but I thought I was just struggling with a little indigestion. Sitting down, I realized we were squished together in this big, dark and stuffy circus tent, on these tiny chairs, and it suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. The air became thick and I felt uncomfortable beyond reason.
The show started and I couldn’t feel any worse. I was trying to focus on my breath not to faint or throw up; I kept moving in my seat (although pretty limited). It felt like I was continuously falling off my chair, my hands were sweaty and cold and my feet too. I started shaking out of control and was trying to breathe slowly in my hands so I wouldn’t hyperventilate. To me, the music was too loud, and the show too fast, made me even more dizzy. Swirling gymnasts with their funny hats and psychedelic makeup and the drumming made me feel sick to my stomach — by the way, I usually LOVE these shows.
I anchored myself — or attempted to — by holding my partner’s arm and pressing my leg against his. Kept me safe and calm until halftime.
At the halftime, I was relieved I could finally get out of the crowd. I walked outside and breathed, and everything came back to normal in an instant.
But when it was time to get back inside for the second part of the show, I couldn’t bring myself to walk down to my seat again. I tried to get back into the tent, even walked a few steps towards our sitting area… and then felt the air become thick again, and felt my legs weaken. I chose to turn around and decided I wouldn’t do this to myself. So I hung outside for the other half, feeling all normal again.
This, my friends, is what a panic attack can feel like. I’ve had a few of these in the past, but never as strong as this time around.
Why it happened
I don’t know. That’s probably the most troubling. It came out of nowhere. I’ll be looking into it — and if any of you have any idea or can share on your own experience, please do.
I created Restless Monkey to share on my experiences to help others find support, understanding and develop their own solutions. For these exact reasons, I am hoping to find solutions in acupuncture and be able to share this with you. I’ll post an update in a month’s time — stay tuned.