Anxiety & Panic Disorders


By Veronica Rosenberger

my chest is a woven steel cage
my heart screams as it beats against the bars

my shirt clings to slick skin
sweat drips in stereo over the ridges of my spine

my muscles are pulled tight
my legs quake from tension, tension about to snap

air is squeezed from my lungs
I gasp, I gulp but the vacuum screams in its strength

my tongue is thick in my razor throat
tendons pulled taut like strings on a nightmare harp

the metal box of my chest shrinks
squeezing, straining, succumbing to the vacuum

my stomach swirls and boils
acid licks my razor throat, burns my metal box chest

the world tilts, spinning faster
my body loses its tether and lists like a toppling ship

fire races up and down my arms
my cheeks burn as my brain sizzles in my skull

my fingers flop useless and numb
veins constrict and my toes die at the ends of brick feet

forehead knotted to clamp eyes closed
I see my body sweat and shake, I see my dying star implode

rationality claws at the back of my brain
scraping and scratching, slapped back into silence as the war rages on

blackness clamps down on my heart
my body is crushed, eyes bulging, mouth open, everything—stops.



Veronica Rosenberger graduated from Gettysburg College in 2013 and will be starting the MA program for Forensic Psychology at George Washington University in August of 2017. A strong advocate for mental health awareness, it was her undergraduate English honors thesis on monster literature that ultimately pointed her towards her new field.

For more information about panic disorders, please check out the features at ADAA and NIMH.

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