Not A Supernova, But A Panic Attack

I’ve just been hit with a huge revelation,
Another of these momentous occasions,

It’s a real turning point in self-explanation,
Along with ADHD, OCD and autismβ€”

I do know what panic attacks are,
And I do experience them,
β€”This has been a mystery,
Which has long confused me…

“A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes”,

“Fear of losing control or β€œgoing crazy”

This is precisely what’s happened,
Whenever I’ve ‘flown into a rage’,

Yet I’ve never been allowed to view it in this way,
Until now,
Never been able to get this across to people,
In a way they’d understand;

When I read the symptoms,
Of a panic attack,
β€”They are exactly, precisely what I experience,
In the moments before the explosion,
β€”Except they don’t do it justice;

So many times,
The situation has pushed me,
Further and further,
Pushing my soul to implode,

And so many times,
The explosion has had the inevitability,
Of a star reaching the end of its life,
β€”As I rapidly exhausted the only thing holding it in;

It all just happens so fast,
And all-too-many times,
I wasn’t fearing “going crazy”,
I was going crazy,

So many times,
The familial interactions,
For example,
Created such an intensity of fear,
And dread,
β€”I can’t even describe it,
That if I didn’t express it, in that moment,
My chest would implode,
My heart would stop,
And my body would explode,

β€”This is the feeling,
Which often returns to me in dreams,
Even penetrating natural sleep-paralysis,
Causing me to wake up with screams;

Such an intensity of all the very worst emotions,
It matches perfectly those panic attack descriptions,
But either I experience them exceptionally-badly,
Or my ability to hold them in is exceptionally-measly;

β€”Now, replace,
All of those descriptions of ‘Supernovae’,
With the name ‘Panic Attack’,
And you get a very different picture,

β€”Countless hundreds of times,
Have I actually been induced,
Into extreme, unadulterated panic attack?

Unimaginably many times,
I’ve had aggression and punishment, in return,
β€”Which only made those feelings worse,
And has left me in a crying mess,
On the floor,
Completely dead and lonely inside;

It’s the feeling of experiencing these panic attacks,
Completely against my will,
And exploding with pain and noise,
Also against my will,
β€”Only to have the world turning against me,
Never, ever giving any sympathy;

How many times,
Should I have had sympathy,
When I was viewed as acting deliberately,
Evilly and maliciously?

In fact, there have been times,
When people responded sympathetically,
β€”As rare as unicorns,
I could list the examples:

β€”The lady in the swimming pool car park,
Up in Edinburgh,
Who heard my dying screams,
And me smashing my horn in desperation,

β€”My aunt’s neighbour and her partner,
Who found me out the front,
Still intensely isolated,
And screaming in agony,

β€”The doctors at the practice,
When I screamed in absolute torment,
At how severe OCD had made me late,
For my extremely important appointment;

And then, of course,
There’s been my brother Toby,
Naturally able, also,
With this intense real empathy.



15 thoughts on “Not A Supernova, But A Panic Attack

  1. Hi Robin. This hits home. I’m sorry I did not understand the gravity of your situation until this poem. From one person with a mental illness to another, it grieves me that situations like these are all too common.

    I hope we can find a way back home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Varjak,

      Thank you so much for this. This has been my most important poem, of all the hundreds I’ve written. It’s also one of the most emotional and expressive.

      I don’t blame you at all, to be honest! I tend to have an overly-optimistic, light-humoured outlook, no matter what happens. I always like to return to making jokes and fun of things at any opportunity. I have an unshakeable belief in the goodness and fun of life :).

      I really really appreciate your ability to relate to this.

      “I hope we can find a way back home”
      β€”Absolutely! πŸ˜‰.


  2. Hi, I really like this poem. Mental illness and trauma runs in my family. So I like to hear other people’s stories. I’ve had a panic attack before. Not fun! I write about the same things on my page. Please follow and support back. Thank you. And please, keep writing. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, I’m sorry I took so long to approve your comment! Wasn’t personal I promise πŸ˜„.

      Thank you for your comment, and thank you very much! I’m so happy if my poem has helped somebody in a similar situation! Sorry to hear you have family trauma too, and that’s great that you write about these things! πŸ’™.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! You’re very welcome. Thank you for replying. And yes it’s a very sad thing to experience, but we’ve got this. Keep writing. πŸ™ŒπŸΎ

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Hal!

      I still can’t believe, that this has been unlocked, you seeβ€” a chance for other people to actually empathise with these situations I’ve experienced, now that I have the terminology!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s wonderful you have your brother who is empathic but the rest of your poem is heartbreaking.
    Please, take good care of yourself the best you can β™‘


  4. I wish your panic attacks had always been treated with kindness and sympathy instead of being met by anger. My heart goes out to you, Robin. πŸ’– You have written an amazing and powerful poem and I’m very glad that you feel it has helped you to write this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Ember. It really means a lot for you to describe the poem like that! It really was an important moment, and I was really energised to write. Your comments certainly help me too πŸ˜„πŸ’™.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And yeah, the attacks confused me for so long too. But at the same time, the environment which was causing them would also never have been sympathetic towards them, even if it was known what was happening, in these terms. It was only ever going to be getting away from the family environment that would help with that. But yeah, the few times I’ve done it in other environments, the consequences have nearly always been terrible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad that my comments are helpful, Robin. There is so much in your poem, and in particular the understanding that as a child you didn’t receive the comfort you needed when you had panic attacks as a child, presumably when you had been pushed way beyond your limits. I have been looking after children in various capacities for nearly forty years. I did a lot of baby sitting when I was at university, then I was very involved with my nephews when they were children and now I have my own lovely teenage daughter. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t act out sometimes and I know that panic attacks/ tantrums need to be met with calm and compassion. When this happens in childhood, the child grows up knowing that they are loved and with the ability to comfort themselves as an adult and to prevent themselves from going into overdrive. Sadly, in your case, this didn’t happen and so you are still susceptible to debilitating panic attacks, which are so terrifying for you. I am so sorry that you didn’t receive the care and understanding you needed as a child but I applaud all the efforts that you are making as an adult to understand what happened to you and break on through to a place of calm. I wish you every success and I think you will be successful because you clearly have a lot of internal strength and a kind soul. πŸ˜ƒπŸ’–

        Oh, and have you got to the disappearing pen episode in Season 2 of Community yet? If you have or when you do, you might notice how Annie’s meltdown is treated with respect by the other group members. That’s what good friends do.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for this Ember, I really appreciated this comment and your knowledge /experiences πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™. You have summarised everything perfectly πŸ™‚. I completely agree that I think the feeling of needing to express myself in ever stronger ways (and feeling unheard) contributed to being so uninhibited now in moments of intense frustration.

        I haven’t reached that episode yet! Actually I took a break before Season 2, but I’ll start it soon and let you know! πŸ˜„. That’s interesting to be able to view that episode through another perspective! I don’t remember it :D.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Very important things you’ve said… so, I’ll just leave it at that, you see!
    Me? So-called Bipolar but with so many reactions I’ll just leave it at Bi-Sicilian you see. No more meds, no more dreads, no more doctors stupid looks and prescription hooks! I’d retired, no worries, no bills, no running for the hills, happy as a lark but with a bit of Sicilian bark!

    Liked by 1 person

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