Until the Show Starts Again

The Panic Attack

Artwork by EIJA

It usually starts the same way… My heartbeat accelerates and thoughts run through my mind like rabid dogs.

The world around me comes to a halt, and all of a sudden, it feels as if I’m naked and exposed on a stage with an audience of heckling spectators. They somehow know my deepest fears and darkest secrets.

I cower at the edge of my bed in a fetal position, trembling hands clenching my chest — I can hear my heart beat — thump, thump, thump, thump. “Breath in, breath out” I say to myself, almost instinctively as if this act has been done before. I pace my breathing and focus on calming my thoughts — 10 minutes pass and there is no relief, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes.

It’s as if their sneering faces are embedded in my mind – Those who I’ve loved and lost. I can feel their eyes pierce into my soul and slice through my chest like poison-laced knives. I try and scream but no words escape my lips – Instead, my screams are masked by salty tears that stain my sheets. I can’t escape, so I wait until the show ends and exit the stage.

After what seems like an eternity, my eyelids become heavy and I fall into a deep familiar sleep. When I wake, there’s an uneasy calm that remains where the storm passed. Although the worst of it is over, the damage leaves another mark that hides in plain view — until the show starts again.

Her Soul Heals

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