The Guy Having a Panic Attack

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About Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is the author of three collections of poetry---Not So Profound (Green Bean Press, 2003), Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007) and After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009)—a collection of short stories, Frostbite (GBP, 2002), and several chapbooks of fiction and poetry. A chapbook of short prose pieces titled Hangover Breakfasts was recently published by Bottle of Smoke Press this fall. For more information, visit his website at NathanGraziano,com.


  1. I am a woman and have several panic attacks in my life. I appreciated your article as it’s always somehow reassuring to hear stories from others who have gone through the similar terrifying and confusing experience. I would say, though, that is really has nothing to do with being a man or not. We all want to feel strong and confident, not only men. As a woman I also feel weak, ungrounded, and too fragile when I go through that experience. It’s really not a difference between ‘manly or not’. It’s a difference between ‘those who have experienced a panic attack, and those who have not’. If you have experienced that kind of thing, you will know there’s nothing rational about it. It’s a thing that happens for a myriad of unclear and mysterious reasons. I have compassion and sympathy for anyone who has gone through it – man, woman, and child. I can appreciate your perspective – And I also think you add another layer of complexity and stress to your life by self-juding it as un-manly. Take that judgement away, because it doesn’t need to be there. I am sure that anyone who has experienced a panic attack will not be judging anyone else who has. It’s a crazy world out there – Be good to yourself as you would to others, panic attacks and all.

  2. Tom Matlack says:

    Thanks for writing this awesome post Nathan. I struggled with panic attacks throughout my life but most profoundly when I was younger. My other problems (addiction, depression) took me to deeper depths so I have not really written about them. But several times–the first day of school. sleep away camp, getting beat up in junior high among probably a couple dozen others–my panic overcame me to the point that I could not function and physically shut down. It’s good to remember that I am not alone with this problem.

    • Nate Graziano says:

      Tom, it sounds like you also have what I call the trifecta: anxiety, depression and addiction. They really are interrelated and it becomes a chicken/egg conundrum trying to figure out which causes which, and vice-versa. I completely know where you’re coming from. The panic attacks have abated a bit as I’ve gotten a little older, but they still lurk around me, and it is terrifying.

  3. Thank You for this article. As a young university student, who suffers with depression and anxiety – its just nice to relate on some level – living in fear of future panic attacks is somewhat de-habilitating for me at this moment.

    • Nate Graziano says:

      Stay strong, Chris. It’s important to remember—or try to keep in perspective—that the symptoms you are feeling, although very real, are psychosomatic. I have found that yoga has helped me. Nevertheless, you’re not alone, Chris. Remember that.

  4. I like reading through a post that can make people think.
    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

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