Panic Attack

The anxiety is there, just under the surface 
But no more than on a normal day
Although that then begs the question 
What is a normal day 
And is anxiety normal on a normal day
For normal people

But I’m not talking about other people’s normal
I’m talking about my normal 
And a normal day for me is normally filled
With anxiety bubbling away under the surface 

Sometimes it rears it’s ugly head 
Sometimes it stays where it is 
More recently it’s been fading away into nothingness 
As I heal from past traumas 

But then
Something happens 
A life changing event 
That drags up trauma upon trauma
Healed and unhealed 

I thought I was ok, but I’m not 

Anxiety levels rising again
I feel on edge 
But no more than on a normal day like I said
I hope it stays there, under the surface 
I focus on the sound of the tube 
And keep my breathing steady
I’m ok 

But then I step out onto the street
I see words on a sign. 
Words that remind me 
of what happened 
I try to refocus 
“Just walk” I tell myself “and breathe”

It’s too late and I know it 
I suddenly feel every single vein in my body
Constricting like a boa around its prey
Heart rate increasing
I can’t stop it

“Grounding techniques” I say on repeat in my brain
But my body won’t cooperate 
“Just walk then”
I say to myself 
“One foot at a time”
Focus focus focus 

Visions getting blurry 
Colours blending together 
Breathing is getting harder
Voices all around me 
Getting louder and louder 
But I can’t make out any words 

Sirens suddenly go off
Now the panic sets in
They’re coming for me again 
I can’t breathe 

“Focus! Focus”
“Another step.”
“Another step.”
It’s like my brain and my body are separate entities 
My brain in one place, my body in another 

Sensations I can’t explain, I’m suddenly conscious
Of every organ, every blood vessel, every nerve 
In every part of my body
I feel like my body is fighting itself
Pushing and pulling me in different directions

Focus. Focus
One more step
By now I can’t see at all
Just lights, colours and noise flashing in front of my eyes
Yes, I said noise, I can see it everywhere
The noise in my brain now louder than anything else,
Heart pumping like a piston on a steam train
But the steam has nowhere to go
And I’m about to implode 
Focus, just focus

One more corner
Will I make it?
My chest is so tight
I can’t breathe at all 
It’s just caught in my throat

Is this a heart attack?
No, its just a panic attack
‘Just a panic attack’

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