Before I was open about living with panic disorder, I didn't tell anyone in my life about how I felt when I experienced anxiety. I was afraid that my intense feelings and bodily sensations would scare them.
Now that I'm more comfortable in my own skin, I can better articulate to others (without fear) what it feels like to experience panic.
Yesterday, a close friend of mine asked me "what does it feel like?" She wanted to know what happens to me internally when I'm anxious. "I've never had a panic attack before. What is it like?" She wondered aloud.
I thought about this for a moment. I wanted to give her an accurate description of how I experience anxiety both physiologically and in my brain. After a short pause I said: "It feels like you're driving a car and suddenly, the brakes stop working."
"Whoa," she replied "That sounds awful."
"Yeah. It's not fun." I replied.
No fun is certainly an understatement. You are in that car. You have no choice but to drive. You can't stop it. The best you can do is be aware of your surroundings. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and breathe deeply. Eventually the car will run out of gas and slow down. But for now, all you can do is ride it out.