As a child reading about people getting so upset that they thought they would explode, I thought it was an exaggeration. Or that the character was being excessively dramatic. Reading those sorts of scenes after having anxiety attacks and panic attacks, I have a totally different understanding of the situation.
When the book says the character felt like their heart would explode from their chest, I know exactly how that feels. That’s a main part of what anxiety and panic feel like. It’s that same kind of feeling in your chest that you get when you watch a scary movie. That energy like you need to run away only there’s nothing there to run from. And the beating of your heart is so strong that it’s almost painful and definitely scary.
I wonder how many other things I dismiss as being dramatic that are really close to someone else’s reality.