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How Poetry Saved My Life

Alaysha has been creating stories since she was in elementary school and writing and publishing poetry since the beginning of high school.

I was always very creative. I’ve been writing since I was nine, making fantasies in my head that I didn’t realize were fanfiction until much later. I was also very cheerful, if not socially awkward, but I always seemed to be happy. What you couldn't see was that the truly cheerful girl in me died in the 3rd grade.

I can’t remember a time when my family was happy, though that may have to do with the fact that I barely have any memories at all. My childhood passed by in a blur, I and still seem to be dissociating my way through life.

I was numb to everything, faking a smile, pretending to understand any of what was happening around me. I couldn't figure out why I was so different from everybody else.

My emotions were stunted, confusion seeming to be the most prevalent until it all came crashing down.

I’m not sure what started it. All I know is that one day I began to have daily panic attacks. I would hide away in my room, begging for the pain- emotional and physical- to end. I wanted a distraction from my turmoil.

Then one day I picked up a pen and just started writing. I started creating phrases that didn’t make much sense but showcased the thoughts inside my head perfectly. Days later, with a clear mind and heavy editing, I had my first piece of poetry,

It was almost as if a weight had been lifted off of me. I was no longer alone with my thoughts, they were somewhere other than running circles inside my brain. To be honest, this outlet may be the only reason I am alive today.

I’m not gonna lie, during the months of daily panic attacks, I thought many things that I am ashamed to admit, that I almost don’t want to say out loud because then I wouldn’t be able to deny the truth, but the dozens of pages of poetry did not need to me use the specific words in order to reveal what was actually happening, It, itself, was enough.

It was enough to keep me from actually doing anything I would regret. It led me to better coping mechanisms and was how I was finally about to reach out for support. Without my poetry, the ways I would have expresses my pain would not have been pretty or safe.

But I did have it and now I’m here, continuing to write just like that nine-year-old wished she could do all day. For me, poetry is more than just pretty words. It is a life jacket thrown just before I could drown in the waves threatening to consume me