Lost In My Own Mind by Zoya Rizwan

         My heart races, thudding harshly against my chest. My looming fear towering above me, each bated breath is heavy in my lungs. My stomach aches; I already feel the wind rushing against me as I make my steady descent, falling into the pit of oblivion. “I can’t breathe” I repeat over and over again in a mantra. I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, oh why can’t I just breathe? I suffocate on my own air, my hands feel numb. I cannot understand a single thing going on around me and yet I shed my tears in rivulets as though I had lost everything.

        I tell myself that everything is okay, that there is nothing to fuss over. I brush it off like it’s nothing but a bit of dust collecting on a shelf. I tell myself that a single panic attack could not change anything, and I have never been any more wrong in my entire life. I’ve made my descent; I’ve fallen too far down, and yet I continue to tell myself that it’s nothing. That it’s nothing, that it’s nothing at all while the heaping weight that has been placed upon my shoulders drags me down to my doomed fate.

.  .  .

        Recovering from a panic attack was a lot more difficult than I had imagined. I tried to change myself, tried to push forward, but I was getting nowhere I wanted to be. I had wanted to do my best, but my best was never enough. I would push and shove myself forward, but all I felt was far too weak and too numb.

        Every word that fell out of my lips was meaningless. Every word I tried to read meant nothing. Their looks of displeasure burned through my skin, piercing my heart. I was labeled a slacker, though I swore I tried my hardest. I did everything I could; I would practice over and over again, but everything I did was in vain. I knew I could do it, I’d done it a thousand times before. So why could I not do it now? Why couldn’t I try hard enough? Why wasn’t I doing enough? I would find myself staring into nothing, conversations would become muffled and distorted in my ears.  My peers around me would excel above and beyond with absolute ease, though without fail I found myself stuck at the bottom time and time again. I was nothing but another lazy student is what they would say. I couldn’t understand, I wasn’t really being lazy, was I? How was this possible? I poured my very heart and soul, my effort, every single hour of my day into every task, and yet I would always find myself stuck in the same spot as before.

        And I felt alone. I felt alone in the dark, I never seemed to be understood. I’ve fallen far too low, I scramble to try and find my way out, to find the person I once was but she was nowhere to be seen. Every interest, every hobby, every ounce of determination I once held was gone. It vanished into thin air and I am stuck in a never-ending numb panic. So, I fall to my knees. I fall to my knees in a desperate prayer. I’ve realized my wrongs, I’ve realized the damage that has been done. It was then that my fall would seem to slow, I opened my eyes. I can see the damage that has been done. I fall no more. But have I caught myself too far down to repair this destruction? I find a different kind of determination spark within me.  I would find myself with time and patience. I would take a moment to stop and take it all in. And so, I breathed.

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