Panic Disorder Nearly Ruined My Life…Until I Found Tools To Manage & Control It


By Cami Julaine

You know that feeling you get when you’re riding a roller coaster, slowly going up hill, and your body anticipates the fall, but it hasn’t quite dropped yet? Imagine having that constant feeling for hours, sometimes even days, and if you’re like me, it sometimes even lasts for weeks. That is Panic Disorder. It’s like being underwater gasping for air, but slowly drowning. It’s being in constant crisis mode, for the fear and yet desperation of not surviving.

Sometimes it starts with disassociation, and always the distorted and irrational thoughts: “What if I’m crazy? What if I die? What if I lose control?” And most definitely ends with body reactions: numbness, tingling in the limbs, incredibly fast heart beat, gasping to catch a breath, dizziness, paranoia/hyper-awareness of surroundings, nausea, not being able to sit still, wanting to run and hide, chest pains, and basic physical and mental terror.

I first began suffering with panic disorder at a young age after I had a traumatic experience. I remember I would wake up and stare at my face in the mirror, and look at my eyes, stroke my cheek and think: “This is not my face. This is not my body, this doesn’t feel real. This all feels like a dream”. Time passes by and next thing you know, hours have been wasted. That’s exactly what disassociation is.


Nothing feels real. Completely detached from reality. Our bodies do this as a protective coping mechanism in order to not experience the full pain after something very stressful has happened in our lives. Growing up, I realized that I had triggers, and change was the one that is still a major trigger for me. Change is the only thing that is not temporary in life. Going into high school, I would suffer every day- I would wake up crying for no apparent reason. I felt like I was dying. My mom used to tell me it was like taking a kindergartner to school on their first day.

I used to always ask myself ,”How am i going to get through this day when i cant even eat breakfast?”. It only took a few panic attacks until the fear of getting a panic attack was taking over my life. I was sick to my stomach and it really began to affect my eating disorder recovery.

I was fearful of everything. Fearful of school. Of people. Of myself. Of my panic attacks. But mostly, fearful of my own thoughts: “Could I be crazy? Maybe I am?” And the twisted part is, I had nothing to be fearful of. I was always social in high school and had many friends. I always did well in school. But panic disorder likes to fight with what I thrive on.


I was at work one day, when I began to see colored spots in my eyes. I didn’t know if it was from looking into the sun too much, so I went to go sit down and got really dizzy and nauseous and could not stop crying. I left work early. I called my mentor and she calmed me down a bit until I thought I was able to drive home. I began to drive through Laguna Canyon and started to feel tingling and numbness in my hands, and started getting really dizzy. I was afraid I was going to lose control of the steering wheel and pulled over and called 911.

My head was racing: “What if I’m dying? I must be dying. I am going crazy. I cant drive home like this. How am I going to leave work? I need the money. I want to hide under the steering wheel.” Weeks after that I began avoiding everything from working, to social events, and even driving. I wouldn’t be left home alone. I was so paranoid and afraid I would have another panic attack, I wouldn’t even drive down Laguna Canyon for fear of having to pull over and call 911 again.

The little girl that was traumatized was running my life, instead of the 21 year old woman that I am.

Luckily for me I have a huge support system of friends that I could rely on daily to help me, and to push me to the best of my ability. I would check in with them through out the day. I asked people to drive me places for a little bit until I felt stable enough to drive. I took baby steps.


I remember I went to the grocery store by myself for the first time after, and felt like I was on top of the world. I was slowly taking back my power. I began to surrender and agree (yes, AGREE) to the thoughts. So when my head would say things like: “What if I have another panic attack?” Instead of fighting the thoughts, I agree with them and say, Yes, I could very well have another panic attack. But I trust that I can take care of myself and others will help me if I need them to. Panic disorder is like a bully. If you try to fight them, they just keep teasing. But if you agree with the thoughts, they shut up and feel defeated because they have nothing else to say.

I can not say I haven’t had a panic attack since, because I have. But now, I have tools to help me get through them. Meditation, yoga, journalling, hanging out with friends, getting outside in the sunshine, and asking for help have just been a few of the tools I have learned to use not only when I’m in a state of panic, but to also help prevent that debilitating level of anxiety. Most importantly, through this whole process, I have learned that I can take back my power, I am in charge of my thoughts, and although it is not easy, I can reach a state of peace, no matter how chaotic life can be, because I have the power.

If you’re suffering from this, you are NOT alone, even though you may feel like you are! 6 million people in America alone suffer with Panic Disorder, but Panic Disorder is the most treatable disorder, and with meditation, mindfulness, awesome friends, prayer, and surrender, you can take back your power and begin to get your life back again. To find more resources on Panic Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression, visit



Cami Julaine is a singer/songwriter and an aspiring actress. More importantly, she is an advocate for Eating Disorders, Trauma and Anxiety. Cami has spoken at multiple events on body image and has shared her personal story of anorexia/bulimia. You can follow her on social media:
Twitter – @camijulaine
Instagram – @TheRisingGoddess

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