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This is New

December 19
by
Matthew Rossi
in
Creative Outlets
with
.

It’s 4 am. The sinews

in my legs are on fire and

my chest feels like it’s caving

in,

Like I’m being

pressed

to

Death.

 

Like I’m being interrogated

as a witch, when I know full well

that the witchcraft

doing this to me is coming

 

from somewhere buried deep within

and I don’t want to afflict

anyone else

with It.

 

It.

 

It.

 

It.

 

Why does It even begin?

The walls twist and spin, my heart races,

and my mind is the only thing

that outpaces it.

 

And   I.   Can’t.   Seem.   To.   Fucking.   Breathe.

 

My sick, slobbering, staccato mind wrings the muscles

in my abdomen, in my thorax,

in my gastrocnemii, (to put it medically)

while my vision wavers

and blurs.

 

I force myself to move, to stretch, to push

out anything deeper than the shallow breath held

in my lungs with each passing second.

 

I scroll through my instagram feed

searching for an escape.

Pretty landscapes, Pretty people,

Pretty.

 

Something prettier than this,

prettier than me.

Something whole or

 

Something that at least has the visage

of wholeness,

of put-togetherness,

 

because right now I feel

Broken.

 

This is new.


This poem is about my experiences dealing with Anxiety and Panic Attacks. They’re very new to me. Up until last semester, I had never had a panic attack, never felt what it was like to have crippling doubt about if I was normal, if this was normal, if I could control something like this. With the help of my friends, family, and the love of my life—my sweet and supportive girlfriend—I’ve been able to keep myself in a good place. Some days, it still hits me for no discernible reason. Some nights I wake up with cramps and attacks out of nowhere, like I described in this poem. I hope that by sharing my story, other people dealing with anxiety, especially those who are just finding out what it entails, can find comfort in knowing that someone else knows what they are going through. Anxiety doesn’t define you. There is always a way to combat your anxiety and you should never stop searching for what it is that makes you feel grounded and safe!


Thank you so much to Emily Covais, Dana Sauro, and Kyle Marchuk for your efforts in partnership with Active Minds Loyola, Maryland Chapter.

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