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Poetry Day Ireland - a poem about anxiety

It's Poetry Day Ireland and it seems a fitting day to put together my first post here. Unfortunately, I won't be heading out to any of the brilliant events being planned for tonight, as I'm staying home, in my onesie, suffering the effects of anxiety.


I've been thinking about my anxiety a lot recently. It's something which has affected me for years, and it makes me feel quite unwell, quite a lot of the time. You'd almost certainly never realise it, as I hide it well, but it's there.


For Poetry Day Ireland I'm going to share a poem I wrote ten years ago, which describes how it can feel when you're trying your best to do all the right things for yourself, but you're overwhelmed with the thoughts in your head and the physical symptoms of anxiety. In those moments, it's just so, so difficult and you just want someone to rescue you from it all.


So here it is.


Mental Quicksand - by Annie Bell

You're sinking: glued to one spot, in a vice.

Claggy mud grips like a vacuum device.

Beneath the mud, tonnes of silvery quicksand:

insidious master, gripping your hand.

Layers of granules sliding, sucking, you're bound

as your legs slowly penetrate into the ground.

Entombing your tired body: sliding, sucking.

Preserving your broken mind: sliding, sucking.

Descending further, your body's submerged.

You're floundering, thrashing, your energy purged.

But hard as you try, you sink further. You shout,

up to your neck, gasping, thrashing about.

Your lungs are constricted. Your cheeks are burning.

Your vision is blurred. Your stomach is churning.

A lifeline's thrown - heck! A noose for your throat,

choking, garotting you, when you needed a boat,

holding you just high enough to breathe:

suspended in a painful, purgatorial sleeve.

A strait-jacket, padded cell, chemical crutch

but stuck in quicksand, living doesn't mean much.

So there you hang, awaiting the rescuer's call,

hoping, praying for a miracle,

so you don't end it all.


© Annie Bell 2013

First published in The Poet Magazine 2021.



© Annie Bell 2018

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