Panic is an emotion I really thought I’d felt the extent of before.

Key word: thought.

I was wrong.

Panic attacks should be for those who are mentally ill. How could they possibly happen to me? Oh — that’s right. I suppose losing your absolute world at just 25 in an unexpected, sudden way does warrant some panic. Yes. Panic seems probable in this situation.

Grief should really come with a warning label, ya know? Side effects may include: severe disorientation, sadness, loss of self, feelings of despair, loss of appetite, trauma to the heart, and unusually sudden panic attacks. You know what? I’ll pass…I think I’ll try something a little more homeopathic. “Have you tried essential oils?” *eye roll*

Listen folks, and I’m talking to you skeptics in the back row, panic attacks are R.E.A.L. Like, “do not pass go, do not collect $200” real. These are the kind of things you never see coming, can’t avoid, and can’t get rid of when they’re here (like the June bugs of grief… just unnecessary and gives you the heeby jeebies when they come near you).

The moment comes without much warning. It’s a build up of emotions, I’m sure, but all I could focus on was the intense tightness in my chest and being overcome with maddening panic. My whole body unanimously decided to start shaking, and then my lungs begged to stop breathing. The part of me that’s grieving wanted to let my body win. How wonderful would it be to give up and be reunited with my sweet Rocketman again?

Now, before you go calling any hotlines, please know I’m not suicidal, but I have the pain and more of someone who has been. I know Luke would want me to keep going and do things I’ve never done before. I live for him…I owe it to the both of us! I know Luke, and I’d better not give up that easy.

Dear panic attacks (and the rest of the world, for that matter),

This widowhood shit is for the birds.

Warmest Regards,

25 Year-Old Widow

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