Updated: Apr 25, 2020
It curls in the deepest pit of your stomach, nipping bitterly at your core. Rapidly, it shifts from creeping to engulfing your self-confidence, your pride, your very being until you cannot hold on any longer and everything is lost to the utter nothingness.
Your terror is manifested into a physical form, staining your cheek as it rolls towards the Earth with gravity’s gentle coaxing. Your breathing becomes labored as it hitches in your throat, caught like you’re unsuspectedly choking on a just too big swallow of food. It used to be so easy, it used to be something you did without even thinking. Now, it’s all you can think of as you succumb to the panic. It clutches you in its relentless grip.
It has you now. You want to hiccup. You can’t. You’re gasping, hyperventilating, unable to breathe, drowning, drowning, you’re drowning, you’ve forgotten how to swim in a torrent ravaged by the gale.
Death is there, keeping you company. You’re alone, absolutely alone (you’re fine, get over it, hurry up) — except for Death. Death rubs your back reassuringly, welcoming you in a tender embrace when no one else will, and you’re defeated, you don’t care anymore, the lack of oxygen is gratifying now, you want to pass out, you want it to be over in any way possible.
The sense of doom you feel is unnerving. You’re going to die, you can’t continue, you’re going to die, you want everything to end now, you’re going to die, a harrowing impulse to end this all seems like the only viable solution, you’re going to die, you’re going to die, you’re going to die.
After all, you’re bothering these other people who stiffly watch you have your episode, not knowing what to do. They’re annoyed, irritated; they think you just want attention and that you can control this. You need to be fixed, you can be fixed, and you can fix yourself.
I’m sorry, you whisper over and over again with what little air you have, sorry (I’m being a bother) sorry (I’m wasting your time) sorry (I’m making your own life harder) sorry (you have to watch this) sorry (I can’t get over this) sorry (I’m apologizing) sorry (I messed up) sorry (I have anxiety) sorry (I’m alive) sorry (I’m hurting you) sorry (I want to do bad things to myself) sorry (I’m making everything worse).
It’s okay, they say with an awkward smile, but you can tell what they’re thinking: I’m sorry too.
But it’s for an entirely different reason and you know it.