Drowning …

Night-time panic attack. A brief glimpse.

Photo by Nick Russill on Unsplash

Eyes shot open in the darkness. Body tethered to the bed in fright pulling me under, squeezing life out of me. Breath panicked. Short. Mattress sucking me in, folding me in half. Trapped in my head. Eyes darting about. Seeing nothing. Nothing but darkness.

Where was my husband? Was he even in bed? Why can’t I feel him, hear him? I am alone. I am drowning.

Heart races. Eyes slow. Blinking. Slowly the mattress releases me. Chest is heavy. Hurting. Still can’t move my head. Ears begin to hear again. My husband breathes lightly next to me. Unaware.

I want to scream. Now I can. I can’t. I must stay silent. Must not wake him. Pillow softens the sobs. I couldn’t explain the train wreck that just shot through my head.

Rapid images, sounds, shouts, accusations fired through me machine gunning my senses. Memories, long buried rammed the front of my brain demanding a hearing. I can make no sense of them. So vivid I can almost smell them. My ears hurt from the screams in my head, the arguments long forgotten, now back.

Accusing fingers, rabid faces yell in mine. I am small. I cower. I shiver. I feel the tingle in my heart, in my fingers. I will not cry. I hide.

Behind the encyclopaedias. Always there. I still fit. Hiding behind knowledge. Well that’s the theory.

So much hate. So much anger. So much hurt. Am I really to blame?

What did I do? I rack my brains as my breathing eases. Heart slows. What did I do? Did I really cause this pain?

What did I do? I was born last. I had the audacity to be born last. My crime.

My punishment? A lifetime of blame for the lack of abundance in my siblings lives. It was my fault. All mine. The hurt. The anger. The lack.

I am exhausted. Mattress holds me. Pillow flipped to the cool side. Tears run warmly, freely down my face.

Sleep welcomes me back.



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Trudi Bishop

Trudi Bishop

Kiwi by birth but not always by nature. Spent most of my adult life in the UK. I’ve landed back in NZ, a stranger in a familiar land. Trying to figure this out.