There is a bubble inside me
It lives just below my chest cavity in a place called the pit of my stomach
I always know it’s there, but I don’t always know what it wants
It wants a piece of me
It wants to devour me whole
Sometimes it rises up and wraps its carefully manicured claws around my ribs and rattles my bones in an attempt to escape its cage
It clings just behind my sternum and hums menacingly next to my heart and in between my lungs
I can hear the blood, FEEL the blood, throbbing in my neck! Singing in my ears!
Can’t you hear it, too?
I mean, if I can hear it – it’s deafening – how can you not?
But you look so even!
You’ve got it all together.
No! I’ve got ants crawling up and down my body just underneath my skin and thoughts ricocheting off the inside of my skull like projectiles meant to harm and subdue with force but not to kill. Never to kill.
They’re killing me slowly.
And wouldn’t you know that all of this is directly tied to my tear ducts?
Why are you crying?
Why am I crying?
You seriously want to ask that question?
Because I’m not sure you seriously want an answer.
No! Because nothing I can tell you will make you understand when I don’t even understand myself!
I’m fighting phantoms. Real but unseen. Unreal but felt.
Felt so intensely sometimes I can’t walk.
(They call it asthma. What a joke.)
And when this bubble rises up, it can divide into a thousand tiny shards of glass, splitting me open from the inside.
Can’t you see me bleeding?
Writhing in pain and anguish.
But I’m a lake. Smooth and unruffled by breezes.
I’m a smiling, productive, loving, caring, church-going, wife and mother fighting every day of my life for just one single moment of true calm.
I don't even know what that means.
Is that what you see?
My thorough togetherness?
It’s a lie.
No! I’m living in a literal nightmare within my own body. Within my own house. And the chaos is going to sweep me away.
Pray for me. Light a candle for me. Dance skyclad under the dark of the moon for me. Remember that when I tell you I’m fine I’m not. But DO NOT tell me to calm down and that everything will be OK because you don’t know. You cannot know.
I never know.
That seemingly fragile bubble is made of titanium spiked with shards of glass held together by the glue of the waters of time and the blood of my own brittleness.
Take me seriously.
Feel sorry for me.
I don’t care.
But don’t expect me to be someone I’m not.
By the way, the name of my bubble is Anxiety.
(by me, written October 12, 2018)