It’s 4 am. The sinews
in my legs are on fire and
my chest feels like it’s caving
Like I’m being
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
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
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,
Something prettier than this,
prettier than me.
Something whole or
Something that at least has the visage
because right now I feel
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.