I had a panic attack the other day.
Ripped off my necklace (broke it, in fact) and stretched the fabric of my shirt trying to pull it away from my throat.
I tried to tell the person next to me, in garbled words, that I was drowning, but she wouldn't listen. Kept telling me to calm down, even as the water swallowed me.
I wasn't actually drowning.
But it felt like it.
I sweated through my shirt, and my hands shook so badly that I dropped my pen, even as I clawed at my neck. The worst version of asphyxiation is the one where you're sucking in air, and your body's telling you that it's going to be okay, but your mind is screaming at you.
My throat seemed to close up even as I breathed, and it felt like someone was smothering me in blankets, rolls of heat flushing down my back and my shoulders. And my heart beat erratically, pushing against my chest and trying to force its way out.
Everything was blurred, sounds tuned out as I detached from the world, as the overwhelming fear gripped my mind in cold clutches, digging in as it held on tightly.
It felt like an eternity before the grip lessened. They told me it had been eight minutes.
I don't think I was drowning in water.
No, I think I was drowning in fear.