Onomatopoeia suggestions? (anxiety attacks)

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Onomatopoeia suggestions? (anxiety attacks)

Postby LadyBrightcynder » April 10th, 2018, 6:15 pm

Hey there folks! Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this.

I'm working on a scene in my comic where a character is running, followed by having a panic attack. I'm an anxiety sufferer myself, so I know how I want to convey the feeling of having a panic attack... but I'm having a problem conveying that through sound effects.

I want to be able to show the transition from normal heavy breathing to tight gasps for breath. I prefer not to use "unsound effects" like "gasp!" if I can. I prefer to use phonetic sound effects - "hhhha!" instead of "gasp!" (except for comedic moments because I'm weird that way)

I'm open to suggestions from what onomatopoeia to use to stylisation of the text. I was thinking of having the letters representing the panic attack-breathing be spaced closely together to show how quick they are.

I'm up for any and all suggestions so fire away ^-^
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Re: Onomatopoeia suggestions? (anxiety attacks)

Postby Famimatsu » April 10th, 2018, 6:21 pm

A shaky, sharp kinda text is how I feel my own anxiety attacks would look. Maybe some kinda sharp color gradient into a black or white on it, with some sharp jagged lines on it, making it look sketchy?
As for an onomatopoeia... hmmm...
I usually spell out my own anxiety with a lot of h's. Like a hissing noise kind of? So like your "hhha" really, but more of a "hhhHHHHhhhh...." or a "HhhhHHHah..." kind of thing? The wheezing feeling of an H feels very suit.
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Re: Onomatopoeia suggestions? (anxiety attacks)

Postby mitchellbravo » April 10th, 2018, 7:45 pm

I'm terrible with onomatopoeia, so use of clashing, discomforting color or an aura of darkness around the person having the attack (particularly around the chest area) would be how i would "visualize" it. A high pitched ringing or stretched out "eeeee" might also feel appropriate, or if the person is having repeptitive obsessive panic thoughts, having those make up the "sounds" the character seems to be hearing could also add to the feeling. Thumping of a heartbeat, if the character is experiencing palpitations.


We have a weird lack of letters to represent breath sounds, considering how much breath sounds contribute to the non-word part of our "spoken" language.

Just my two cents, hopefully somebody better at giving letters to sounds will stop in!!
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Re: Onomatopoeia suggestions? (anxiety attacks)

Postby kayotics » April 10th, 2018, 9:10 pm

I think Famimatsu has a good point with the jagged text?

I don't get too many anxiety attacks, but I guess I'd probably focus more on the actual type than what the letters say? So, like, shaky lettering for the sharp breathing. I think a lot of "hhhhHHHH" can work? Maybe a "hic"?
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Re: Onomatopoeia suggestions? (anxiety attacks)

Postby LadyBrightcynder » April 15th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! These are all really helpful! I think I've got a good idea of what I want to go for now. :idea:
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