For me, the word, “panicked,” initially evokes a negative emotion or makes me think of something that results from a negative experience. Analyzing the word in my own over analytical INTJ way (short from Googling it), I interpret panic to be accompanied by an elevated level of fear, physiological responses to this fear, and loss of control over mind and body. However, different from fear which I believe to be an emotional response to a scary stimulus, I feel a state of panic remains in place until an end goal is achieved or the cause of the panic is terminated. I’ve never experienced panic to the degree I imagine the word to be worthy of. I don’t recall a time I’ve ever felt panicked other than an experience that, in retrospect, ended up being super funny.
One Halloween in the late 80’s, BFK, a mutual friend, and I went trick-or-treating in my neighborhood. We came across a house with what looked like a life-sized scarecrow dressed in denim overalls sitting on a patio chair holding a bucket of candy. Wanting our candy, we approached this scarecrow. As my hand entered his bucket, I noticed the “hair” on his head moving. In a split second, he grabbed my hand and we all went running up the hill screaming, laughing, and crying all at the same time. I recall that in that moment, I might have felt a sense of panic until we were far enough up the hill that we knew he wouldn’t get us. Now looking back on that moment, instead of recalling the panic as a negative response, I recall how much we laughed afterwards and how we told the story over and over to anyone who would listen. It really was one of the funniest moments of my life!