I'm drowning. Yet I'm no where near water.
I'm falling. Yet my legs are firmly on the ground.
I'm alone. Yet surrounded by people.
My heart pounds loudly in my chest as if I've ran a marathon, my palms slick with sweat as I watch everyone around me going about normally. Can't they hear it?Can't they hear the loud thudding of my heart? Do they not feel that same suffocating need to leave the room?
Scratching the soft area above my collarbone I nod at something someone said all the while I feel as if the world was tilting. Swallowing past the lump in my throat I look past the heads that gathered before me and over to the front door.
My palms itched to escape the nonsense chatter, to crawl back into the safety of my apartment where it was dark and quiet. Where no one was waiting to judge my clothing or comment on my lack of contribution to the conversation. To where no one would ask why I keep a rubber band around my wrist or why I rarely smile.
My chest tightens as I spare a glance at the clock. Ten minutes?! I've only been at this party for ten minutes?! I can feel the walls closing in on me as the faces surrounding me blur. My chest rises and falls with the breath I'm struggling to take.
How do I breathe again? My trembling fingers glide over my wrist in search for the beige rubber band. Lowering my hands from view I tug on the elastic band and flinch as it snaps against the inside of my wrist.
The sharp pain slams into me, momentarily distracting me from the dizzying thoughts that had consumed me. Desperate to feel anything other then this suffocating fear I pull on the elastic again and again. Careful not to attract attention I continue to pull on the rubber band as the tension in my body dims a bit. My skin is red and stings but I welcome the pain like an old friend.
Over the years I've discovered the pain helped chase the anxiety away, it feeds the darkness within me and reminds me that I can feel something other than this miserable numbness. That I'm not quite dead on the inside. The pain is a reminder that I'm still fighting my demons.
A small smile tugs at the corner of my lips. Are they considered your demons when they are you're only companions? When they are the only ones who sit along side you in the dark as you cry? The only real beings that have stuck around you? The same demons that wake up with you as you face another day, another challenge.
Yet they are also the same demons that lurk in the darkest part of your mind, awaiting the moment they can creep up on you. At your most vulnerable moments they will step into the light promising relief but only delivering pain.
Closing my eyes I take a deep breath and remind myself to take this one moment at a time. One foot in front of the other and slowly reopen my eyes.
The crowd of unfamiliar faces erupt into laughter and I follow in suit hoping it didn't sound as hallow and fake as I felt.