The Attack of the Brain Bees

Anxiety is a big, all-encompassing disorder whose symptoms can affect every single aspect of life. For me, it is something that has constantly improved and disimproved for as long as I can accurately remember. Different aspects become stronger and weaker as time passes. Sometimes, my problems culminate in a low but constant buzzing that allows me to function inconspicuously but easily keeps me up for days on end. Other times, it manifests itself in bursts of extreme nervousness that make it rather difficult to concentrate and cause me to shake violently, but still allow almost normal function. Right now, however, anxiety attacks are the bane of my existence, and these do not allow normal function at all.

If you are unsure what an anxiety attack entails, offers a pretty good explanation:

There is a long list of anxiety symptoms. But because each body is somewhat chemically unique, anxiety affects each person differently. Consequently, anxiety symptoms vary from person to person in type or kind, number, intensity, and frequency. If your symptoms don’t exactly match this list, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anxiety. It simply means that you body is responding to anxiety slightly differently.

Common anxiety attack symptoms include:

  • A feeling of impending doom, that something horrible is about to happen, that you are in grave danger
  • A strong feeling of fear, foreboding
  • An urge to escape, to get out, to run away from danger
  • Blanching, turning white, looking pale
  • Blushing, skin blotches, turning red
  • Burning skin
  • Choking sensation, tightening throat, it feels like your throat is closing
  • Confusion
  • Depersonalization (feeling detached from reality, separate from one-self, separate from normal emotions)
  • Derealization (feeling unreal, in a dream-like state)
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness
  • Emotional distress
  • Emotional upset
  • Fear of going crazy
  • Fear of losing control, freaking out
  • Fearful thoughts that seem incessant
  • Feels like there is a tight band around your head
  • Hot or cold chills
  • Inability to calm yourself down
  • Knot in the stomach, tight stomach
  • Nausea
  • Numbness, tingling sensations in any part of the body
  • Panicky feeling
  • Pins and needles feeling
  • Plugged ear(s), stuffed ear(s)
  • Pounding heart
  • Racing heart
  • Shooting pains in the chest, neck, shoulder, head, or face
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Trembling, shaking (visibly shaking or just trembling on the inside)
  • Upset stomach
  • Urgent desire to go to the bathroom (urinate, defecate)
  • Vomiting

This is a pretty accurate description.

For me, during an anxiety attack, it feels like my head is full of bees (hence the title). Instead of one clear train of thought, it’s more like all of my thoughts are climbing over each other to try and get heard, and the result is that I can’t make sense of any of them. Without access to clear instructions in my head, I don’t know what to do, and I crumble. I’m scared and confused. I feel like I’m not in control of my own body. I struggle to breathe. I sweat, shake violently and have nosebleeds. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I start scratching at my arms and neck in a desperate attempt to have something else to focus on.
By the time I have calmed down, I’m covered in bruises, my skin stings and burns and my fingernails are bloody. It’s not an attractive sight.

These attacks are not something I would ever wish on someone else.

I don’t allow my friends or family to see me when I’m having one. The fact that I can react this dramatically to things like crowds and loud noises, things that most young people revel in, makes me feel incredibly weak. For this reason, if I feel stressed or overwhelmed I try to escape the situation as quickly and as quietly as possible.

There has only been one occasion on which I couldn’t escape in time for an attack, and it happened just one month ago. Everyone in the flat and the flat’s social group went to a “foam party” for Rachel’s birthday. By the time we got there, we had been drinking for a while (I’ve discovered that sometimes a small amount of alcohol renders me almost socially capable) so I was doing fine for the first hour or so. By half 12, however, Shannon had discovered me curled up at the side of the room, crying uncontrollably as I recovered from my first ever tipsy panic attack (no fun). Ever the good Samaritan, Shannon took me home and got me some company before returning to the party by taxi. She explained to the rest of our friends that “Tab was getting a bit stressed, and I wanted a walk so I took her home.” I think that that’s probably one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.

Before it went downhill: Curtis, Evan, Francesca and I at the foam party.

Got questions? Experiences? Feel free to comment!

Have a nice day.



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