I love Greek mythology, and ever since I picked up The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, in the 6th grade, mythology has been a guilty pleasure of mine. I know plenty of deities, stories, monsters, and even some ways their language has crept into modern english. One example would be the god of the Wild, Pan.
Pan is like the head honcho of the satyrs, and if you don’t know what that means, just read The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. The faun, Mr. Tumnus, is the exact same thing. It’s just that when the Romans came and took over Greek culture, they basically changed names but still copied all of the Greek gods, stories, monsters, etc. So Pan, god of the Wild has the upper body of a man, but the horns and legs/feet (or rather hooves) of a goat.
Now, the name Pan isn’t too special, and I don’t think he’s also the Greek god of cookware, but I do think he’s the inspiration for panpipes. Satyrs are often depicted blowing through reeds that are all lashed together like some first century harmonica, which would make sense if their god, who is a greater satyr (haha those rhyme), invented them. But actually, another word we’ve derived from his name is “panic”.
Pan was attributed to the making of woodland noises, which apparently also inspired terror. Thus, panic. But today, I’ve discovered that Pan has made a home in my body. His cloven hooves continue to kick at my heart, causing a rapid pace that my breathing can’t catch up to. My stomach is empty, but he’s not allowing me to feel hungry by choking off my esophagus (it brings food from your mouth to your stomach for the uneducated readers). Pan dances on my ribs and plays his music in my head where my thoughts can do nothing but run wild.
Pardon my terrible allegory, but I’ve suffered from several panic attacks today. Thus my title: Pan Attacks! I don’t actually believe a Greek god is parading around my insides, but I hope the imagery was enough. My heart has taken off at a mile a minute (which is fast when you’re sitting in a bed). I haven’t felt the desire to eat when I know that I haven’t eaten all day. My mental fortress has been breached, leading to a vast array of thoughts keeping me jittery and emotional. My insides feel empty and cold, which is nothing short of baffling. The worst part is that sanity is ever elusive during an episode like this and the only constant I know of are the tears that always seem to find their way down my face in into my beard.
This is day one of what could be the beginning worst summer of my life. Or it could be the first day of a long journey of self-discovery and a victory. I believe that the choice is mine.