Separating, divorcing and panic attacks that won’t go away. A true story.

Separating from your spouse? Say hello to Mr. Panic Attack.

Separating, divorcing and panic attacks. My true tale of learning to deal.

Panic: The Early Years.

Other kids had imaginary friends growing up, I had panic attacks.

I think I had my first panic attack when I was four. I remember a big one when I was seven, visiting Opryland. I began hyperventilating during a stage show medley of country classics and had to be taken to their medical center. (But really, was it a panic attack or a way to get the hell out of Opryland? I mean, who visits Opryland in the Tennessee summer heat?)

Panic attacks were frequent visitors, reappearing like Tori Spelling in a bad made for TV movie.

Panic: Adult Style

I thought that as an adult, I was done with panic attacks.

I was cocky, hadn’t had one in years, I was so obviously over them.

But when your life is somehow upended, the dormant ways float back to the surface.

Panic attacks visited me when I graduated from acting school in New York.

They came calling when I was planning my wedding in Los Angeles, and now, here they were. Back again.

Like the cross eyed cousin you don’t want to claim, they made an unannounced appearance in my head, and vowed to be my constant companion during my divorce.

I tried to get rid of them. I talked to myself. I reasoned.

I did my best Ujayi yoga breathing. I make deals.

“Let me get on this plane, I’d silently plead, “and we’ll have a big freak out when I land.”

They were like a bad houseguest that overstayed their welcome and were eating all the good stuff out of the fridge.

Dealing with Panic. My homemade solution.

So how do you dislodge panic? It only grows stronger with resistance. Push and it pushes back harder.

It’s like that old visualization exercise: “Don’t picture pink elephants.”

What do you see? Big, pink elephants.

After days of waking up mid-panic attack, I figured it out.

Don’t try to get rid of the panic. Learn to live with it. Learn to live in its shadow. Because for right now at least, panic is here to stay.

If you have panic attacks, I’m truly sorry. If you don’t have them, you’re lucky. They are a level of pain that’s unimaginable. You are dying, losing your mind, having a stroke, and a heart attack all at the same time.

How am I coping?

In a way, I’ve made peace with my panic. I know that panic is standing by and may decide to take over at any moment.

There’s nothing that I can do to stop that from happening. The only power that I truly have is my absolute powerlessness.


Has your separation brought on panic attacks for you? If so, please share. Would love to hear how you are coping with these crappy friends.



  1. says

    I think we all get in our heads a little too much and forget to look at the big picture. I have a lot of lady friends going through some relationship drama at the moment (including myself) and we are all constantly thinking TOO MUCH, when really men are not very COMPLEX – when we think too much, we drive ourselves crazy and give ourselves panic attacks. We need to take everything in stride and truly live our lives for US! Everything happens for a reason, so if X is supposed to be there, then he will be.

    • says

      So true! As women we do overthink everything, mull it over, dissect it in our brains. Sometimes I wish I could flip a switch and make myself stop obsessing. (Maybe that’s what God made wine for!) Sorry to hear that you’ve got drama going on. All that I can know is that like a thunderstorm, it will eventually pass. Stay strong.

      Loved your site, you have so much great info, charm, and charisma. Can’t wait to see more!

  2. says

    I had these on and off for a long time, after a rather lengthy bout with my first one when I was in my 20s. Fortunately, it’s been a long time since one has hit. But i know it could.

  3. says

    Hi Rosie! I feel for you but you have come up with a solution that works for you which is great. My one fear which is not really a panic attack although it could turn into one is heights! My daughter works on the 51st floor and the elevators have glass walls. I could not bring myself to go down in that elevator by myself it was frightening. Good luck and I admire you for sharing. Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty.

  4. Tatyana B. says

    As fellow panic attacker sufferer, I completely understand what it’s like for them to go away, and then when you think you’ll never see them again, they surprise you and resurface. It’s refreshing to hear that you have come to terms with them, and instead of running from them, you are accepting of it.

    Keep fighting!



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