I had my first panic attack during my senior year of high school, in the middle of anatomy class. We were prepping for a lab where we’d prick our finger, draw a bit of blood, and determine our blood type. I had been looking forward to this lab – I loved this kind of thing. Right before we were supposed to break off into our lab groups, my heart jumped into my throat. I felt heat over my entire body, and suddenly the room was spinning. I carefully stood and walked to my teacher, hoping I wouldn’t collapse en route. When I asked her if I could go to the nurse, she took it was a teachable moment.

“Don’t forget everyone, it’s OK if you’re afraid of blood! You can sit this experiment out!!”