You write “Anxiety” like a necessary side-effect. Like it’s some throwaway. Like it’s a symptom. And the family is always smiling. Show them. Show the shivering, the thousand mile stare. Show the despair and embarrassment. Hiding yourself from the one you love because you don’t want them to hate you the way you hate you. Looking at something, but not really looking, eating but not really eating, fucking but not really fucking, always a step removed, screaming from behind a film.
You write “Anxiety” like it’s a symptom, you forgot to bold the font and write it twice, write it twice, write it again and again and again, in between words like a misshapen apostrophe, you forgot to tell them about the hesitation before leaving the house, the checking in locked bathroom doors, the 2:00 a.m. prayers on the kitchen floor; you forgot to tell about the forums and the unanswered questions, you forgot to tell them that they may not be entitled to any form of compensation for the people and places they’ll lose; you forgot to tell them Anxiety is a fucking tumor.
I know my panic for what it was, a writhing pile of manic wolves all hopped on top of one another, making the ball all the more violent by the second. It was the true terror of Derry, lurking in the sewers and beckoning me into the current below my life, becoming whatever the hell it wanted to, just to scare me shitless. It was the sudden realization that I was going to die one day. Me. I was going to be dead and all the looming discomfort of this fact. It was the approaching marching band of my heart and issues and sinew and thoughts all collectively pulsating wildly out of my control and the accompanying thought that this was all I was. It was one hit off the bong too many, a weight of dumb washing over all of my senses and locking me into complete and utter stone. Unable to move, unable to think a single thought my own, just the discordant barks of the pile blocking out all intelligible sound. This was panic, this was the villain, not a clown or a mask, but a closet mirror that reflected nothing back but the screams of a 300,000 year old Amygdala.
Death before death. Your fine print could not scroll over the seconds I’ve felt.
This poem was written by Matt Leavitt. He holds all copyright to this work, nothing may be borrowed or manipulated without his full consent.
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