I’ve had a few times in my life where I was engulfed in panic, and they are episodes of utter terror and devastation. You can’t think of anything else and if you take action it is usually destructive. Once I was so bad I took a train 40 minutes to go play basketball, got there and immediately had to leave. I walked to a friend’s. His wife had just had a baby. I could barely talk. She was going through bad post baby syndrome (call Brooke Shields for the name, I’m not looking it up) and she later commented that I looked worse than her.
Here’s the worst part. A lot of times you end the panic attack by embracing the worst possible outcome. For instance, I was worried about failing. Failing was the worst possible outcome, but as it turned out the only way to end the panic attack was by ending the chance of success even though success may be a 60% probability. You make yourself fail immediately! You’ve failed completely but the panic is gone. It’s an insanely bad way to make decisions, but that’s what happens.