The panic Diane Mueller felt when a plane hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11 did not vanish when the sun set on the horror of that day.
A week later, back at her job at the Pentagon, Mueller suffered her first panic attack, with symptoms so severe she thought she was having a heart attack.
And such episodes kept coming, for weeks, for months ... for years. "Anything would set it off," says Mueller, and that's still true today, a decade later, although the dizziness, sweating and racing heartbeat happen less frequently.
Mueller received counseling and kept her civilian job as a human resource specialist at the Pentagon; her husband, Mark, on active duty in the Air Force, was the one assigned to the post but actually worked in an off-site office.
"I didn't sign up for this -- he did," quips Mueller, now working at Hill Air Force Base and living in Ogden.
For a long time afterward, when out in public places, Mueller says she only felt safe knowing a hospital was nearby. At a visit to a fair, she remembers sending her family off to see the sights, but all she wanted to do was hang out around the ambulance station, set up in an open field and ready for any emergencies.
Years after the 2001 attack, Mueller flew into Boston's Logan Airport -- where some of the terrorists boarded their planes -- and thought for just a brief moment about how she was walking the same path the terrorists had walked.
Two days later, a panic attack engulfed her: "The brain triggered something that set off all the bells and whistles again. ... The mind is an incredible thing."
A counselor once told Mueller that Pentagon employees would suffer the "longest and the hardest" over 9/11 because they had to return to the "scene of the crime every single day."
The smell of jet fuel in her office and the sight of body bags in the outdoor courtyard are among Mueller's memories of those post-Sept. 11 days.
Yet she knows hers is only one experience among the many workers there that day -- "There are 25,000 others," she says, "that have some stories to be told, too."