the door of the rig office flung open and i saw our driller, chris, with his workclothes full of grime, flushed and breathing heavily, his gray eyes wide open looking straight at me..
“what’s wrong, chris“? i asked.
“robert“.. he said, “i’m having a panic attack“..
a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions. symptoms varies from faintness, trembling and even a sense of impending death.
i accompanied him to the rig clinic, and made him remove his boots as he half-reclined on the bed. i gave him a cup of cold water to drink, dimmed the lights and left him alone for a few minutes. when i went back, i asked him how he was doing, if he still feel the same, he said he calmed down a bit.
he added that it had happened to him way back, some years ago. i asked what caused it, he answered he sometimes get claustrophobic, feeling trapped.
about 5% of the population will experience panic attacks during their lifetimes, it affects more women than men, and appears to be inherited.
i have also read that most panic attacks usually peaks within 10 minutes and i saw this with chris. after a few more minutes with him inside the rig clinic he felt better, he got up, slipped his boots back, said thank you and went back to work.
he looked okay when i saw him today, as if nothing happened.