Panic Attack

I can’t sleep. My eyes are red, my mouth is dry, my lips blistered from my obsessive licking. I roll over. My arm goes numb. I switch sides. My other arm goes numb. I roll onto my back. A brick crushes my chest, and the air struggles to fill up my lungs. In a blind panic I bolt out of bed and into the bathroom. My heart is racing, hands are sweating, knees are trembling, mind is faltering. 

No one can know. No one can see. I MUST keep this a secret. I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay. Everything is fine. Everything WILL BE fine. I’m okay. I’m okay. 

My uncontrollable sobs threaten to creep out from underneath the locked bathroom door and break the quiet silence of the night. I cover my mouth with a towel and let the tears flow freely.

They mustn’t know. No one can know. I’m okay. Please let me be okay. 
The world around me is spinning. I hold onto the edge of the bathtub and slowly lower myself to the floor. Why is this happening again? Why am I so sad? Why do I feel so alone?

I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m…not…okay. 

The realization of this sends me into another round of heaving breaths and muffled sobs. I can’t breathe. Why can’t I breathe? The air is thick and heavy and threatens to choke me. I cough and cough as if I can somehow cough up all this pain that’s threatening to tear through my chest. 

I’m not okay I’m not okay I’m not okay Oh God why am I not okay why is this happening to me why can’t I just be okay please stop please stop please stop

Silence. 

My breathing steadies. My chest begins to rise and fall, once again at a steady pace. 

Just. Breathe. Everything will be okay. Breathe. 

And it’s over. Just like that. Another panic attack has come and gone. I stand up slowly, my knees still shaking. Staring back at me from the mirror is an image of a broken girl, her face a dark shade of red, her eyes even darker. She’s a mess. Her matted hair is stuck to her freshly wetted cheeks, her nose dripping like a leaky faucet. 

I turn on the sink, check to make sure the water is cold, and then splash a wave onto my face, not caring where the water goes. It trickles down my red cheeks, washing away the sticky warmth my tears had left behind. A few more deep breathes, and back to bed I go. Sleep won’t come easily tonight. 

No one must know. No one can see. 

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Monsters

Sleep. It is a beautiful thing. It’s a necessary part of life. However, sometimes sleep simply isn’t possible. There you are, lying in bed all cozy and warm as your eyes begin to slowly close. Your mind starts to drift off into dream land. Your body relaxes and your breathing steadies to a slow and even pace…but suddenly, it happens. Monsters. There they are, creeping up the edges of your bed. Slipping under your sheets, they slither and slide all the way up to your ears. As your mind begins to fall asleep, the monsters begin to whisper. Doubts. Worries. Fears. All of your anxieties race desperately around head, clouding your thoughts with images of depression, loneliness, and fear. You sit up; panic fills your heart. Are these the monsters from your childhood? The ones that hide in your closet? The ones that you always begged your parents to chase away? No. Sadly, these monsters are worse. Much worse. Why, you may ask? It’s simple, really. It’s because these monsters are real. Worry is the monster who will make you obsess over decisions and the choices you make. Doubt will make you feel as though you aren’t good enough. Fear will stop you from accomplishing your dreams. All of these monsters lead to the biggest monsters of all: depression and anxiety. These monsters will not only haunt you at night. They will hunt you down even when the sun is shining its brightest. These monsters are cruel. They can make even the happiest of days dark and gloomy. They’ll push you to the floor and then kick you while you’re down. But wait! What’s that over there? There’s a light. A light so faint that, at first, you almost miss it. But it’s there. Shining bright even in the midst of all this darkness. Hope. Love. Peace. These things are coming. These things can scare away even the worst of monsters. They get brighter and brighter until you are overwhelmed with sheer joy! The monsters have fled back to the deep, dark depths from wince they came! There is once again a feeling of peace and relief in your heart and soon you begin to drift off to the wonderful world of sleep. So what lessons can be taken from this? Some of life’s scariest monsters are the ones that live in the darkened corners of your mind. While worry, doubt, and fear are all apart of this crazy thing we call life, they should not be the only thing that consumes us. There is hope, there is love, and there is peace to be found. You just have to find that tiny speck of light in the distance. Don’t let your doubts, worries, and fears pull you into the suffocating world known as depression. There is a way out, but it’s up to you to find it. Reach out for it and hold on tight. Never let go of the love, the hope, and the peace, for it will guide you back to the light. Hold on to the promise of a better tomorrow, and never again let those monsters take control over your mind. So when the sun sets on a long day, and your mind slowly slips into a deep sleep, push away those monsters for good and never let them come crawling back again.