10 Things That Have Gotten Me Through Panic Attacks

“We are all writing poems about
 the mistakes we have made.

We are all puking on the carousel
 ride, trying to get off or stay on
 or maybe just have it slow down a 

We are all scrubbing the floor
 with our unloving.
We are all trying 
to clean out the closet of our 

We are all terrified of the end of
 the story, the tragedy
crawling in through the

We are all afraid of leaving 
what has already left,
of walking out,
of never locking the door
behind us.”

(Caitlyn Siehl, “The Fear”)

Hi, my name’s Faren and I have an anxiety disorder.

I have had this mentally/socially/ physically smothering disorder since I was 16 years old. Being a writer, I have hundreds of poems, mostly unfinished ones on my computer, dedicated to romancing this disorder. No matter how many houses you build to lock your feelings away, you cannot escape. No matter how normal you appear externally, internally you are dodging an anxiety minefield. You cannot just “feel okay”; you can just feel the temporary calm before the storm. I have jumped through hurdles trying to make my anxiety go away and yet, she haunts me like a ghost. She sits in the darkest corner of my room and laughs as I sweat thinking of that one time I said that awkward thing and now I wonder if that person thinks I’m an idiot. She holds the strings that make my hands jittery after standing still for five seconds. She is my mortal enemy, yet also my best friend. She is a security blanket that I cling to when I no longer feel comfortable socially. Sound fucked up? Welcome to the brain of an anxious person.

In all of the years of dealing with this disorder, I have a compilation of quotes from movies, passages from books that I love, sections from poems, and lyrics from songs that, though temporary, give me some type of relief that I’m going to be okay or at least that I’m not the only crazy person walking the Earth. I hope you enjoy this list or maybe even possibly find your own peace.


10. “You’re not alone/ There is more to this, I know/ You can make it out/ You will live to tell.” (Saosin, “You’re Not Alone”)

9. “I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.” (Jack Kerouac, On The Road)

8. “You talk like you’re apologizing for your own voice.
speak up.
grow up.
find your spine, stop shrinking.
there is nothing brave about keeping silent.”

(Caitlyn Siehl)

7. “When we get to my house, take a look at that town/ Take a look at how far I’ve gone/ I will never go back/ Never look back anymore.” (The Last Five Years soundtrack)


Photo courtesy of Warner Bros Entertainment

6. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows)

5. “Everyone, at some point in their lives, wakes up in the middle of the night with the feeling that they are all alone in the world, and that nobody loves them now and that nobody will ever love them, and that they will never have a decent night’s sleep again and will spend their lives wandering blearily around a loveless landscape, hoping desperately that their circumstances will improve, but suspecting, in their heart of hearts, that they will remain unloved forever. The best thing to do in these circumstances is to wake somebody else up, so that they can feel this way, too.” (Lemony Snicket, Horseradish)

4. “Live through this and you won’t look back.” (Stars, “Your Ex Lover Is Dead”)

3. “You look invincible,’ my mother said one night.
I loved these times, when we seemed to feel the same thing. I turned to her, wrapped in my thin gown, and said:
I am.”

(Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones)

2. “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” (Stephen Chbosky, Perks Of Being A Wallflower)


Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema

1. “The book says, ‘We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us!” (Magnolia) 


I hope you find comfort in these quotes as I have, dear friend.

Art courtesy of TamberElla

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