Hands start shaking.
Heart is pounding.
Everything feels loud, too much.
I might feel too hot.
I might feel too cold.
Something is wrong.
Something is terribly, horribly wrong.
I need to know what is wrong.
I need to know what has happened.
I need to know what's next.
I need to close my eyes.
I need quiet.
I need to hold on to someone, something, anything.
This is panic.
It is a strong, sweeping current.
To put one's feet down is counterintuitive.
To think with logic is to swim upstream.
If you're sitting beside someone when panic hits them,
Don't ask questions; decisions incite further panic.
"What do you need?"
I don't know what I need.
"Can I help you with something?"
"Do you need water?"
Please get me a glass.
But don't place it in my hands;
I may not be able to hold it.
Conversation is helpful.
You could tell me a story.
Your words may slow the centrifugal force of my convinced thoughts that something horrible has happened, will happen, is happening -
even if all is well.
But don't ask me to respond.
I probably can't answer you.
Just talk. Gently and quietly. About something else.
I might seem annoyed or agitated; that's because I'm trying to swim upstream and that's hard to do. I cannot control the physiology, I can only try to grab onto a limb of truth as the current threatens to carry me away.
If you're sitting with someone in panic,
talk slowly and gently.
Talk about something else.
Don't ask them to respond.
Just be patient.
They're waiting for the storm to pass.