My sweater rests on my body, wet with tears from my most recent breakdown. I can’t feel the moisture, but I can see it now that I’m staring myself down in the mirror.
“Stop. Stop this,” I manage to whisper, barely audible.
“This isn’t helping. This won’t change anything. Worrying doesn’t change anything. What if’s are just what if’s…they don’t hold any power over you. Please, please calm down. Breathe.”
I suck in a long, deep breath.
“Just breathe. Don’t think about it.”
I’m back in bed now. Voices are echoing through my head. Whispers of tragedy linger in every corner of my mind. Still. They won’t leave me alone.
The tears come again. I find the most comfort in pulling my knees to my chest— it gives the illusion of a warm hug. Now rocking back and forth, I continue to talk myself down.
“Breathe. Shhhhhh,” I say. “Shhhh.”
A tingling sensation rumbles through my entire body. I’ve almost come unleashed. But, I can’t scream now. I can’t draw attention to myself. They can’t see my pain. I won’t let them see my fear.
I don’t know how to help, they’ll say.
These things can’t still be bothering you, they’ll preach.
“Breathe,” I whisper, again, letting my legs fall from my chest.
I’m shaking with fear. But, what am I even afraid of? I need someone to hug, but I can’t give in to the pain. I decide to suck it up, the night is almost over.
Maybe my phone will distract me. Out of habit, Twitter is the first thing my thumb finds, and I don’t resist clicking it.
“No, no, no. Why’d you get on your damn phone?” I plead to myself, after seeing something triggering on Twitter.
I’m shaking all over again. I can’t catch my breath. Suddenly, I’m lightheaded. I feel as though I’m playing tug-o-war with the oxygen in my lungs— the harder I pull, the further it escapes me…the rope slipping through my wet hands used—not seconds ago—to catch my tears.
“Stop! Breathe!” I’m not trying to be quiet now.
I’m rocking back and forth again, knees as close to my chest as they can get. Shhhhh. Shhhh.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” I say, slowly getting a grip on my voices volume.
Still trembling from the nights multiple panic attacks, I go back to the bathroom and wet a washcloth with freezing cold water. My dark eyes stare themselves in the mirror, reminding me of my humanity; I break the contact, heading back to bed, leaving too many words to be stuck at that moment forever.
This always helps, I think, placing the washcloth over my tired and swollen eyes. My hands find their way to my stomach, feeling as the air flows in and out of my body. And, eventually, I drift off into the only few hours of peace I’ll have for the next 13-hours— when the cycle starts all over, again.