BY RACHEL WONG
I remember the very first time I had a panic attack, and I remember the “help” that came with it.
I was 16 years old, getting ready for an end of the year production. My grandfather had recently passed away and I wasn’t getting any sleep. Rehearsals had been running longer than they usually did and I hadn’t been eating. One day during practice, I fainted. When I had finally gotten back on my feet, my director was angry at me, saying that I wasn’t pulling my weight. And despite what I told him, he threw probably the worst cliche possible at me – “the show must go on”.
And that triggered my first panic attack.
I was inconsolable. I sat on the sidelines crying, but it was the kind of crying that had no sound, just tears. I was shaking and trembling, dizzy and nauseous, and all the while, I could see people passing by. They were nudging each other, trying to get someone else to comfort me.
“You help her!”
“No, YOU help her,” they pleaded.
It was almost like I had the plague.