Daily Archives: Friday, 14 February 2014

FFF 14: Anatomy of a panic attack

I feel like I’m going to throw up. It’s not a physical thing. It’s proof of mind over matter. I’m thinking, and it’s making me choke. There’s a boa constrictor around my chest, just under my armpits, and every time I take a breath, it’s sliding its scaly body tighter around me.

I haven’t brushed my hair in weeks. There are spider webs on the lamp hanging over my desk. It’s funny what I think of when I’m dying. It feels like dying. I try to take deep breaths, but I can only gasp. I want to throw my arms back like I’m throwing off chains, walk away from all this. I don’t want to talk about it. I can’t talk about it; I can barely breathe.

Brutus has his fist around the handle of the blade deep in my back, between my spine and my right scapula. There’s no one there, no one I can see, but the memory does just as well, and it makes it difficult to move.

My legs and arms are weak, heavy. I’m shaking and I can’t take hold of my own courage firmly enough to keep it from escaping. It’s slipping through my fingers, the end of an oiled rope that I can’t quite reach.

There are distractions, but my mind circles again like vultures around carrion, and I’m stuck in a loop that only intensifies the constriction around my heart. It feels like my ribcage is caving in on itself.

Looking at my hands only makes me wonder if I’ve completely lost touch with reality. Everything hurts, but it’s also like watching someone else panic; I know what’s happening and I can’t stop it and I don’t know how to avoid it and everything is falling apart and I can’t breathe.

This post is part of Flash Fiction February.