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Panic Attacks, Love, and How I Became Dead Inside

Updated: Feb 23

A young man


Have you ever had a panic attack? It is a state of being where you are hyperventilating, screaming, or doing other things that communicate unease and distress. In my 20s, I had countless of them, for reasons I do not wish to specify. I used to get into ones, far easier than an "average" person. However, once I recover from it, I continue my life as usual. Although threathening and intimidating, especially from a physically big man like myself, there is no actual threat. Both the victim of the panic attack and the people around them are essentially making a fuss.


As a self-respecting man I view such attacks as pathetic and sh

ameful, and as such, using my inner murder technique, the deep affect of my emotions were heavily flattened. Some people may claim that one will always be highly sensitive if they were ones to begin with. They are wrong.



Panic attacks are truly horrible, even if in experience alone. Now that I'm dead inside, I predict I will never have them anymore. Still, as a "seasoned" person with anxiety, I have to admit that I am surprised to see people get so worked up about things and people that I find bearable. Like pain and suffering. Tolerance for pain is imperative to endure it. I endured it enough to have little regard for it.


Why be so dramatic over such a basic feature? But I digress.


My experience has made me a person who rarely gets dramatic about things that are not so bad. Not so bad to me, of course. Many would find the isolation I force myself to be in as bad, for example. They might scream in anxiety and desperation for human company. For human touch. Deep inside, I know adjustment is key to endure life. Panic attacks will not help that quest, would it? My own emotions matter less when it comes to survival. That includes my own distress.


So, with time, my anxiety had become less and less severe, all in the name of practicality. All from the fact that there are very, very few people out there who are willing to accept the full me. Because at the times where I had these attacks, I wasn't shown empathy. I wasn't shown compassion. I was under threat by those too fearful to reduce my distress. Pathetic weaklings.

Sociopathic traits can be found even among other people who are highly sensitive. They can empathize. They can offer a hug. They may choose not to for their own emotional reasoning. They may even traumatize like a sociopath might. But they will use their high sensitivity as an excuse to avoid these gestures.


I have no desire to be whiny like them. So I detached myself from their hypocritical logic. Who would've known highly sensitive people still do not have empathy? At least some of them, of course. And unlike them, I will not use high sensitivity as an excuse to inflict suffering and not show compassion. That is because I killed this sensitivity in cold blood. I will be better than them. I am, better than them.


Because why would anyone show empathy and affection to me? Hm? I'm a man. A large man. People like me are seen as threats, not as people to show genuine care for. In the absence of empathy, we are grown in accordance.

If you had a panic attack, I assume it would be difficult for you to recover, not because you are "worse" than me, but because we are taught to take things too harshly when they are not to our liking.


But men like me just recover for a while and move on with their lives.


I have had that experience many times as a writer. People may come and complain about minor things, such as not enough evidence, such as being too controversial, or too "condescending".


These critics take my writing as if it were an offense directed at them, regardless of no such intent. Some of them are highly sensitive themselves. Some of them may outright be remorseless sociopaths. Either way, when I entered a panic attack from either side, no one had the guts to show me enough empathy.


So, I realized that it was a problem. I realized that I will only be relevant if I murder much of my emotion, and flatten my experience of them. After I did so, I noticed an improvement of reception from this world, from humanity. People began respecting me more.


It was all because my former self was too dysfunctional to survive here. Because expressing distress as a man will get you criticized for hosting a pity party. No one might come and offer a hug for you.


It is then when you might realize that intense emotion is a sign of weakness. A disadvantage. A liability. Perhaps, panic attacks are the most unwanted form of it. The remorseless may remain apathetic to it. The highly sensitive will cower in fear. And those in the middle might just carry on with their lives. Why would they help? What's in it for them?


He he he. Allow me to thank you all for making me the person I am today. I experienced so much distress that I became an Iron Woobie. My nerves suffered so much that I no longer care for negative or positive emotions.


My nerves adjusted to a different existence most of you may struggle to endure. They made me stronger. Tougher. Better.


As I realized that my anxiety disorder cannot be cured, I became accustomed to it. Accepting them as part of my reality, reduced them significantly.


I made many sacrifices in order to live a calmer life. Academics, driving, social company, just so I could avoid screaming in agony. It was never enough. So, I understood the problem was from within, and less from without. I understood that I was the problem.


When you regard yourself a problem, a dysfunction, it might be because you have no true love. People can whine about how much they love. Negative. True love is unconditional. Not about intensity of emotion. Because if I were truly loved, I would've shown empathy when under a panic attack. People's denial of reality could be quite embarrassing.


I guess I can say that, once you've endured so much pain in life, both physical and mental, you somehow become quite indifferent to many things people see as dramatic. This comes from a person that was oversensitive.


High sensitivity by itself doesn't have to be a problem. It might as well be a problem when it stands in your way for a better life. For a better way to cope with your issues. For the ability to think clearly, and most important of all -- the ability to show empathy yourself to others.


Hence why I refuse to be whiny like many other sensitive people who may be too engulfed in their own pain to even bother caring for others.


If there will be someone I like, like a woman, who will be in a panic attack, I will remember that demographic I was once a part of. I will try letting her be herself. I will offer a hug. I will offer tea. A listening ear, too. A chest to lay her head on. And a room in what is left of my heart. I will host her there, like she deserves. I will embrace her, so she will not feel the agony of loneliness that I felt for the vast majority of my life.


She's allowed to feel emotions. She's allowed to express them. I will be better than my abusers. I will avoid making threats, empty or otherwise. I refuse to be a coward, for I have gathered courage, as my theme song suggests. I am mentally prepared. Love... isn't only joy and admiration. It is also pain and suffering. Do you understand why I don't mind the "negative" feature?

Have a sense of self-restraint in order to avoid unnecessary suffering to both you and others, who, unlike me, are far more cowardly. Avoid toxic situations when they defy your interests. Take care of your mental health even if you don't have any mental disorders, diagnosed or otherwise. You shouldn't reach a state such as my own when people fear the truth. When they fear the truth, they will call you to repress it deep inside you, thinking that it's the solution.


The world doesn't owe you anything. Not even empathy. Giving you empathy and compassion, is their own prerogative. Expecting good results from every interaction with the world is too unrealistic. But, at least you got to learn from your mistakes.


This world... does not even owe you love. Knowing this, I turned into an anti-villainous antagonist of society.


Don't underestimate those whom you care for. Don't overestimate people who have no regard for you. Don't make mountains out of mice, and don't make mice out of mountains. Try to understand the true value of things, and act in accordance. Remember that anixety attacks are not helpful for anyone. Not even for you.


If anything, only in true love, you will be accepted for who you are. Do try to stay strong, by then.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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