By Steve Cichon
To describe the sensation can be elusive, but it often starts just a smidge beyond physical— kinda like the feeling someone is watching you.
Sometimes, that grows into general uneasiness. It’s dull pain in a hard-to-define area like pressing your thumb into an almost-healed bruise.
It’s the insatiable feeling of trying to breathe deeply on a hot, humid day, but not finding enough air to suck in.
It’s not dying of thirst, but it’s thirsty enough to quickly drink a whole glass of water and still be thirsty— but afraid to drink anymore because it’ll hurt your stomach.
Sometimes you can catch it and slow it down, but sometimes it takes you by surprise or there’s too much of something else going on, and it just keeps running in the background.
It’s a cramp you can’t quite stretch out enough and you know once you relax that extension your muscle’s cramping right back up again.
It starts getting harder to ignore with a strong pulsating heartbeat at the back of your throat and the feeling your brain might start swirling out of your ears.
It’s being very palpably scared and angry and sick— but at shadows rather than anything in particular.
It’s years of practice of trying to make your face look normal while your brain and your soul are screaming like they are being murdered.
Sometimes it’s a minute or two.
Sometimes it comes in waves for hours or days, and you feel like your in the surf being flung against the rocks over and over and over and over.
It’s horror and terror, and all you can do to fit it is to breathe, nervously move your hands, and pray the spinning stops.
Anxiety and panic feed into themselves and while you hope it ends soon, part of you is certain it never will.
Until it does. And the beat goes on.