It's dark and I can't breathe. There are voices nearby but I can't make them out. I'm trapped and the world is closing in on me. There is nothing that I can do to stop it.
I am having a panic attack.
After what feels like an eternity, I hear a voice.
"Are you alright, love?"
Am I alright? There is no air in my lungs. I am shaking more vigorously than a bowl of jelly in an earthquake and I don't know where I am. I am sure I'm going to die today.
"I'm sorry!" I say, through the tears and smudged makeup.
I don't know what I'm sorry for, but I know that what is happening to me must be my fault.
"Just breathe," the voice says. "You're ok."
How could I be ok? I am going to die of oxygen deficiency in the next 60 seconds.
"Everything is going to be fine" the voice continued. "I'm going to help you"
This time, I believe the mysterious voice. I concentrate on each breath and feel the oxygen rushing back into my lungs. Slowly, my eyes begin to open.
I am in my car and the owner of the voice is at my window.
"I can't breathe," I tell him.
"Yes, you can." He says. "You're doing it right now"
Actually, he's right. I am.
I focus again on my airflow and start to straighten out my thoughts. Maybe the world isn't going to close in on me. Maybe I'm not going to die today.
"You're fine and you're safe." He says. "I'll be back in a minute to help you." He wanders up the road.
I look around and see no danger. There is no emergency. There is no peril.
I am suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling of embarrassment and guilt. Not only have I made myself look like a complete idiot, I've also made a stranger take time out of his life to help me with a non-issue.
I feel sick and full of shame. I break down into tears, feeling useless and pathetic.
The man starts heading back and I manage to calm myself long enough for him to help me. I can't stand the idea of making him put up with more of my pointless crying.
He helps me out and as we part ways I apologise once more.
I manage to make it all the way around the corner before I collapse into tears again. What kind of person can't do these simple things?
So what caused this mini mental break down which made me fear for my life?
I took a wrong turn down a tiny one-way street and got stuck trying to turn around.
Panic attacks lie to you.