Panic Spills Over The Brim

Panic Spills Over The Brim

I feel myself breathing...

The feeling is not satiating. I know I have tasks I must complete, but I’m drained of all ability to fully function. Dragging myself through my day is a must. I’m not positive what came first, the anxiety or the IC. Sheer panic engulfs me when I’m having a flare, but I choose to continue through my day with mantras in my head, mantras I hate.

It’s not forever; it’s just for right now.

It’s a moment in time; not the big picture.

You’re stronger than your disease.

Pass through the place of your greatest pain.

This moment is made up of neverending torment. The negativity that makes up my inner voice reminds me of my worthless ways. I don’t feel strong; I feel weak, breakable, broken. I feel like a burden. I feel like giving up.

I don’t. I won’t. Some part of me is stronger than the anxiety and the pain of a flare. I still breathe. My lungs continue to take in air even when I feel like there is none.

Maybe the anxiety started after the death of a loved one. My step father died when I was 13; The day of my 8th grade graduation. I don’t know if I ever stopped holding my breath as I sucked in air and a part of me died when a fireman told me they’d done everything they could. I grew up in an instant. My life has seemed, at times, one downward spiral after another. My mom went off the deep end for a while though she came back I felt fully abandoned; and there’s parts of my personal history that I have buried so deep, that when they surface I feel afraid I’ll loose myself in the trauma, I panic in my attempts to shut out what I’m not ready to cope with. The following poem, to me, represents a turning point. The pivot your mind takes from ‘I’m truly fine’, to lying when you say it. It feels as if I’m not okay more days than I am. I perceive air as not entering my lungs easily, like forcing my body to breathe is an internal war. My lungs would rather render themselves, and me, immobile. I know that if I can put my energy into breathing, and really take in each breath, I can keep pushing forward in my pursuit of mental and physical healing.

How She Survives, Having Lost a Young Husband


She manages with no oxygen. Like

she’s in a room built without breathable

air. As if she’s a tree, she refuses to let

only carbon dioxide be her lack of

breath. As long as she commands

her lungs to compress and expand

she’ll keep living. Never mind the burn

in her throat and fire-filled chest.

She’ll keep existing in a room with no air.


Apple out,

K. Sullivan

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