I had an anxiety attack today.
At work, while serving customers.
My chest was a cage, my heart a prisoner gunning for escape.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.
It scared me this time. I thought I was going to collapse right there while selling Christmas stamps. What a way to go, eh? The room was too bright, a swirling kaleidoscope of patterns, of conversations.
I needed to sit down.
I can’t sit down. There’s a line of people wanting stamps.
Needing postage to send to their loved ones over in Texas. London. Belgium. Morrocco.
My legs begin to falter; I feel tingles crawling up my legs, spider-like.
My world narrows and I don’t look up lest I faint; serving people while I talk to the counter in a bid to stave off the panic.
If I don’t look at them, maybe I’ll be ok.
Who are you kidding, Al – anxiety don’t work like that.
I grip the counter edge and I h o p e that I can make it just one more customer.
I need to sit down.
I need to breathe.
I may need orange juice.
A wave of panic – I feel tears clog my throat. I wonder if I begin to cry, would anyone care? Would they ask me if I’m ok? Or would they complain that I was too slow? Their Christmas presents won’t send themselves overseas, remember, I’m here only to serve them.
I hate them.
They are why I detest my job, why I get anxious every day.
People have forgotten what it’s like to be human. In the time of giving and of love, people are at their rudest, most volatile.
They don’t know that I own a heart just like them.
Or they pretend I’m a nothing.
I am not a servant.
I had an anxiety attack.
And I cried.
I called my mum because I needed to go home.
I didn’t want to be there anymore.
Another fake smile; can’t you see I’m about to implode? Can’t you see my heart trying to escape its cage? Can’t you see that I am in the midst of severe panic, yet you stand there? Wondering, why on earth this girl is trying so hard to breathe?