It goes without saying that panic attacks can be totally brutal. And since they also affect everyone differently, it's problematic to generalize exactly what anxiety feels like.

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As a person who’s been dealing with anxiety for the past three and a half years (and a lot longer if I look back at undiagnosed symptoms), this is what a panic attack feels like for me, in GIF form, because seriously, is there any other more perfect mode of expression?

Maybe you’ll relate or maybe you’ll have your own set of GIFS that sum up what happens when the anxiety takes hold with all of the enthusiasm of Mark Wahlberg in a franchise reboot.

1. My heart starts beating fast, and I want to vom.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like Am I dying?

2. It feels like everyone is staring at me.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like Does everyone here have a problem with me? I wouldn’t blame them.

3. ... when did I start crying?

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

Yep. Those are real tears. How did this happen?

4. I literally cannot move, talk, or think.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like This is it for me now, guys. Go on without me. Save yourselves.

5. I need immediate assistance.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like I have no f*cking clue what I need exactly, but help me. Please.

6. It’s getting hot in here.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

Did I accidentally walk into a sauna? Why am I suddenly sweating so much?

7. My brain is…

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

I think the official term for this is FREAKING OUT!

8. There are a million conflicting thoughts in my head.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like This overload of ideas is completely confusing.

9. I become the most self-critical I’ve ever been.
16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

This is the worst possible time to think about every sh*tty thing I ever did, but that’s all I can think about, in excruciating detail. I am the worst.

10. I need to get out of here.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like Why? I don’t know. But I need to leave wherever this is, right now.

11. I disgust myself.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like Everything I do is repulsive. Looking in the mirror is painful. I’m sure I looked pretty once though? Probably never.

12. My whole body aches.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

I don’t understand. Why does everything hurt so much?

13. Words become meaningless.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

I no longer have the capacity to process what you’re saying. I just can’t.

14. My mind clears.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like And what’s left is truly terrifying. A barren, empty space.

15. Then as suddenly as it began, my panic attack starts to ease off.

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like

It’s like I was possessed by a demon spirit, but it’s being exorcised out of me.

16. It’s over for now but...

16 GIFs That Sum Up Exactly What a Panic Attack Feels Like I survived another bout of anxiety. The storm is over, for now. But stay vigilant, fellow panickers.

While these are some of the emotions and physical symptoms I endure during a panic attack, yours might be totally different. The most important thing is recognizing you might need help, support, or health care for your condition. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of, and however it manifests, it’s a process that can be worked through and managed.

Amy Mackelden is a weekend editor at ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Marie Claire. She’s written for Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Ravishly, The Independent, The Guardian, Hello Giggles, and Teen Vogue. She’s currently developing a show called MS Is My Boyfriend, about what multiple sclerosis is really like. Follow her on Twitter @AmyMackelden.

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