I can clearly remember when I had my first panic attack. I was 25 and was only 2 months pregnant with Nora. I had never experienced anything like this before that, but it was the first of what would soon be many episodes (I had quite a few within that first year).
Cornbread and I were leaders of a college youth group in our church at the time. As one of our fun things to do we all went downtown to watch the July 4th fireworks (which the city of Chicago holds on July 3rd). In addition to the fireworks, the city hosts The Taste of Chicago at that time every year. July 3 is traditionally the busiest day at the Taste due to all of the firework watchers.
I walked down there with 3 of our college girls. We were making our way through the fairway and trying to figure out what they all wanted to try. We were in the middle of a HUGE crowd - there were TONS of people there, but it still wasn't a problem. It became a problem when a long beer line intersected the fairway and stopped the through traffic (which we were a part of). We had several people in front of us, but they weren't moving - they couldn't get through the beer line. The crowd in front of us stopped. We stopped. The people far behind us, though, didn't know what was going on and they weren't stopping.
This is when I began to panic. Suddenly the whole idea of a mob mentality raced through my mind. Being trampled. I couldn't breathe - I was about a head shorter than anyone around me. I was pregnant. I was responsible for 3 college girls who were skinny and little. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't move and the people in front of us weren't moving, but we were feeling a slight push from the crowd behind us. Something had to give. I couldn't breathe. My chest was tight and I didn't know how we were going to get out of that situation.
Eventually things opened up and we were able to continue walking forward. The whole event probably lasted less than 5 minutes, but it was a looong 5 minutes for me.
I still don't know why this happened or what the root cause of all of this anxiety is. And I don't know why that specific situation kick started a true anxiety issue in me. I haven't been back to the Taste on the 3rd since then - I really should try to go and conquer at least that fear.
QOTD: Have you ever been to The Taste of (anything - any city)? If so, what was the best thing you tried?