I was walking, just down the street when suddenly I feel cold arms slither around my waist. They clawed and pulled at me painfully until I was forced backwards into a state of unknowing. I couldn’t see their face but I felt their icy stare burn into me like a flame, branding my soul as theirs for the taking. I thrashed and cried out but the world seemed so black and lifeless in my eyes I’m certain no one heard me. My aggressor’s rough grip kept my body stiff; I was like a ball in their hands, being tossed around with no control over which way I am thrown. The world was spinning and I could feel the air being sucked from my lungs, leaving me gasping for every breath. I have to force myself to concentrate on slowly sucking in air but my mind constantly travels back to the feeling of a fist tangled around my neck and every time I do, my breath leaves me again.
Wide-eyed, I looked down at my body; the panic is beginning to set in. My arms are clenched to my side and below them, my shaking hands fumble against my attacker's grip. To hide the fear the best that I could, I curled my hands around the bottom of my sweater and squeezed the material between my fingertips as hard as possible. Tears began to prick my eyes but I forced them back. I would not give my attacker the satisfaction of seeing how much they affect me. I didn’t stop digging my fingertips into my palm, not even when I felt blood seep under my nails through the light fabric of my shirt. My heartbeat echoed through my chest, my ribs a hollow shell to a continuous drum beat. “Deep breaths, everything is going to be alright.” I chanted over and over again in my mind. Even though I didn’t believe it, I hoped I could somehow fool myself into accepting it. My muffled cries spilled through the rough hand clasped tight around my head creating the steady pounding of a headache. I am still being gripped and tugged as my attacker weaves me through a crowd of people. Passing empty faces, all oblivious to the unfortunate situation unfolding behind my eyes. Maybe if they took a glimpse at me long enough they would see it. See that even with hundreds of people bustling around me my attacker wasn’t afraid of being caught; they didn’t need to hide, because to the rest of the world, my attacker didn’t exist. "All in your head," people would say; "an overreaction" until the fear of having to hide from a monster that never leaves becomes unbearable. You can’t tell me I’m just "being dramatic." You can’t say that it is all in my head when I can feel my aggressor's breath sending chills down the back of my neck. I can hear him laughing at me as I struggle and fail against the attack. My lip quivers at the sound; it chills me to the core. Terrifying me to the point where I feel as though the world around me is moving in slow motion and this single moment will never pass.
After what felt like hours of my soul slowly being ripped from my body, their grip finally loosened its suffocating hold; I was free… for now. I planted my feet where I was. My body felt too heavy to move anymore because even though they were no longer touching me I knew it wasn’t the end. No. Their ever-present shadow was always lurking behind me, watching, waiting for a moment of weakness, when they can reclaim their sadistic hold on me. After all, that’s what anxiety does, waits for the perfect moment to strike. It strikes and strikes until you can’t handle it anymore. You find yourself trying to scream out, crying and pleading that someone, somewhere will save you from the hell you’re living. Anxiety is always there, picking away at your insecurities, leaving you as nothing but a ghost of the person you used to be. Then all at once, it leaves you. You’re left, defeated and finally realizing that no matter how loud you beg, no one will ever hear you.