It Came Out of the Darkness In the Middle of the Night

"Where is she?!  Where'd she go?!"  I urgently asked my roommate as I jolted out of bed.  I could barely catch my breath; had I been racing all night in my dreams.  I wasn't quite lucid and I was disoriented and dizzy.

My roommate rolled over in bed.  "She's in her room I imagine," she grumbled.

I placed my feet on the tile and clutched my chest.  I felt like I had a stitch in my heart muscle.  I can't breathe.  I thought.  Oh my God, I can't breathe!  I gripped the mattress because my breathing had become so rapid.  I couldn't catch my breath and I began to cry.  "What's—happening—to me?!”  I cried between gasps.  I felt disoriented and the room just wouldn’t stay still.  “I’m so scared,” I whimpered and I started to hyperventilate.

My roommate had gotten some candy in a paper bag the night before [coincidence?] and she thrust the bag in my hand and cupped it over my mouth.  At the time, I didn’t know what the point was in breathing into a paper bag*.

I grabbed my room phone and dialed the extension to the health center.  “I—can’t—breathe,” I gasped into the telephone.  “Help me.  Please.  W-what’s h-happening to m-me?”  I asked the office manager.

I was too frantic to walk to the health center, so the office manager sent Security to my dorm to pick me up in a car and take me to the center.  I lay down in the examination room and the office manager told me to try to inhale and exhale deeply.  The tears subsided and after five minutes I returned to a stable state of shaky calm and I could breathe again.  I had awoken into a panic attack, one of many that were to occur.

*The point of breathing into a paper bag is to help you take in carbon dioxide because when you’re hyperventilating, you’re inhaling too much oxygen.  To extract the oxygen from your blood, you need a certain amount of carbon dioxide.  When you hyperventilate, you do not give your body long enough to retain carbon dioxide, and so your body cannot use the oxygen you have.  This causes you to feel as if you are short of air, when actually you have too much.

brujis brujis
18-21, F
1 Response Jul 24, 2007

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