By Josephine Cardin
Mixed media (photograph, charchoal, pencil, pen)
Terrified, helpess, and convinced you're going to die. That's what a panic attack feels like. I experienced my first when I was about 11 years old. For over a decade I had no idea that there was a name for what was happening to me. My heart felt like it was going to push its way out of my chest and everything around me blurred.The dizziness would kick in and I felt like I suddenly forgot how to breathe. The outside world would crash into my consciousness and I was always sure I was going to die. The come-down wasn't any easier with a combination of depression, exhaustion, and humiliation. I'm fortunate to have sought help, but for 6 million Americans this is a constant struggle.
This series explores the symptoms and fear associated with panic disorder. The eight images in the series each depict a distinct, and often very common symptom of panic disorder, such as fear, depersonalization, and the thought that you'll lose control. What you actually feel during a panic attack is an exaggeration of the arousal of your sympathetic nervous system. Contrary to what most people think, panic disorder is not about people worrying too much, it is a debilitating disorder that sets your fight-or-flight response on overdrive, often times unprovoked.
Learning about it and sharing my experience with others who have been through the same is what has helped me overcome it, and I hope this project can inspire those still suffering to seek out help and know they're not alone.
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