People Share What Panic Attacks Actually Look Like Compared To The Movies

Movies can be a wonderful way to escape reality for a little while. They can be a great way to learn a bit about different worlds, experiences, and people. Let’s just remember that they’re not live-action medical textbooks. If you’ve seen someone get punched in the jaw over and over in a movie compared to getting popped in the chin just once in real life, you’ll know what I mean. Things get streamlined or embellished or downplayed as needed for the plot. This can cause real-life problems if everyone is taking them too literally.

Twitter user @smthgreatlou wanted to make a point about how films particularly portray panic attacks. They tweeted:

i hate when movies romanticize anxiety/panic attacks. for example, the main character is having a “panic attack“ and she’s sitting on the floor and her crush notices her, touches her hand and looks her in the eyes and she’s suddenly okay. well, let me tell you something

They added in the thread that when they feel their panic attacks coming on, their chest tightens, they start to shake, and by the time it hits, they’re hyperventilating and having serious trouble breathing. Their vision blurs and it’s difficult to focus on anything, even their crush. They sometimes even puke.

“It’s not a romantic kinda ‘save me’ thing,” they explained. “It’s horrible. Many people suffer from them. I hate it.”

Other people really related to this issue. Not just the panic attacks themselves, but the sense of frustration that what a panic attack looks like is romanticized for a plot device. These scenes are giving people the wrong idea about what to do when someone is having a panic attack in front of them:

Some people tried to share what helps them when they’re having a panic attack that wouldn’t work so well in a 90-minute feature:

If you have a relationship with someone who suffers from panic attacks, the best thing to do is to always ask them what they would like if they have one. You know, when they’re not having one. That kind of plan will make a big difference in the moment when they do need help. We shouldn’t take all our medical advice from movies…or Twitter. 

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