Panic Rising

I can feel the panic rising through me swiftly, like rushing waters during a hurricane. I’m suffocating on oxygen as my lungs struggle to keep up with my quickened heartbeat. Ready for an unseen battle, my chest tightens and my stomach flutters with a sinking sense of dark dread. The very tips of my fingers and toes tingle with numbness and I can feel all of the color drain from my face and neck. It’s hot under my skin—too hot—I don’t belong in it. The heat that radiates from me is toxic and runs deep. I long for a splash of cold water against my cheeks and forehead to cleanse me of this panic, but I must face the fight head on.

Escape is not an option.

There is a strong urge to run and hide, flee from the invisible monster that sits before me and screams. It is determined to break me.

Deep breaths.

My heart is a ticking time bomb, constrained in the cavity of my chest. It beats wildly against my breastbone and threatens to explode at any given second.

Stay calm.

My world spins as I try to grasp onto something solid, something that will keep me level with the rhythm of the earth.

Don’t move.

This dark fear is consuming all that I am! My adrenaline is pumping blood faster and faster through my battered system. I swallow hard, trying not to vomit up the bubbling anxiety as I do my best to calm my shaking hands.

Do not show fear.

Do not let them know.

Chin up. Shoulders back.

I stare straight ahead, fists curled into tight balls. I am prepared to defeat the ugly demon that stares me in the eyes.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

The panic slowly fades. The sense of impending doom feels like a lingering cloud. I’m left with a residual buzzing that rids me of my emotions. I feel like I’m caught in a foggy dream.

My reflection isn’t my own!

Am I even still alive?

Keep breathing.

Stay calm.

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