One of my best friends, Caitlin, has always had severe panic attacks, starting at a young age. When I was younger, I never really knew what to think about it and after learning about Panic Disorder, I now understand. Panic disorder is defined as a disorder in which panic attacks occur frequently enough to cause the person difficulty in adjusting to daily life. Caitlin often has to avoid situations that could cause stress to her, like large cities, amusement parks, but it also can occur from a simple stressful situation at school. A panic attack is a sudden onset of intense panic in which multiple physical symptoms of stress occur, often with feelings that one is dying. I know that Caitlin would always tell me it felt as if she was having a heart attack or a stroke and I would laugh and call her a drama queen, but now I realize that it may in fact feel as if she is. I never really took her symptoms seriously enough until one day, when she had the worst of all panic attacks. It was graduation day. Everyone was so happy to be moving on after four years of torture. I saw Caitlin right before the ceremony and she looked totally fine. Finally, I took my turn and walked on stage, received my diploma from my principal, shook some hands, and returned to my seat with no sweat. When it was Caitlin’s turn, I realized that nobody was walking up. I looked over to the side where the students stood in line and prepared to walk on stage and I saw something that broke my heart. Caitlin was moving very slowly, holding onto a nearby teacher. She was shaking throughout her whole body as if she was having a seizure, hardly breathing, and could hardly move. Everyone around me stared at me, knowing I was her best friend, and I eventually ran up to her after she finally made her way to get her diploma. She told me it was her worst panic attack yet and that she thought she was going to die. Everything ended up being okay, it was merely I very scary situation and extremely embarrassing for my friend. After this situation, Caitlin’s panic attacks have seemed to also gotten worse. She has told me of one she had while in the car near Temple University, where she actually ended up having to go to the emergency room, and also of one in her public speaking class in college. I can’t imagine to have to worry about having a panic attack everywhere I went. At this point, I think Caitlin has even developed panic disorder with agoraphobia, which is the fear of leaving one’s familiar surroundings because one might have a panic attack. Caitlin’s fear of having panic attacks has risen, and it has affected her life in many ways. She feels as if she can’t do normal things that she used to do in every day life.