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In Hell

Kari is a compassionate and empathetic individual. She loves the earth and all its life. She is a believer in the dignity of each of us.

Generalized Anxiety

Anxiety is a strange feeling. It is defined as fear of the unknown. And this definition does describe anxiety, but only a little.

Think about all the unknowns in life and you will begin to realize the scope of anxiety. Hopefully, understanding more about the scope will help you understand why I find my anxiety so overwhelming.

I wish anxiety was fear of something. Then I could determine that something and work to overcome it. But, having anxiety is not the same as having a phobia. I do not have fear of anything specifically, I just fear everything generally.

Not Weak, Not unreasonable

I'm sorry if you think I am weak. I know I am strong. I am and always will be a survivor.

I'm sorry if you think I am irrational. I know my fears are unreasonable but that doesn't stop the feelings. I can even tell myself that I'm not being logical when I have anxiety, but it will not matter. The feelings don't leave just because I have a rational thought. The feelings are unreasonable!

I wish I had more control of my feelings. Then I could just (insert action that increases anxiety) without having a disabling panic attack. For instance, I would be able to leave the house without having a disabling panic attack. It sounds so simple.

But it is not simple.

In Hell

I think I'm in hell,

Just for this moment.

My heart pounds and

My palms sweat.

Breathing in short, sharp gasps,

Huddled into my shirt's neck,

I look around

To assess the danger.

It's a beautiful day,

The sun is shining down,

Cold and stark,

In the chilly air.

No one is on the street.

Yet I know danger

Is on its way.

My heart taps it out in a message.

My head screams it in my mind,

"Danger, Danger."

My breath catches in my throat.

My body is uncontrolled and jerky.

Dizziness hides in

My peripheral vision.

My muscles tense,

Ready to jump,

Strike, run.

I turn my head and

See the sun is out,

Cold and harsh,

On the landscape.

Danger is just a step away.

Maybe it comes from inside.

Maybe the danger I feel is me,

My misbelieving

Unconscious mind.

Unable to make sense of the threat.

Unable to keep it out.

It invades my mind

In the shape of logic.

Assuring myself it is fact.

Danger is here.

The lions and snakes have come.

No place to run,

No place to hide,

No place is safe.

Go to sleep,

Go to sleep,

"Stop lying," you think.

You close your eyes.

And sleep

Seeking to escape

The hell living now.

I sleep more now. It is the only way to escape. And I need to escape this reality of fear. I am exhausted.

Thank You

I hope this poem helps you to understand how my anxiety feels. I want to thank you for being present in my life during this time. Thank you for not showing me impatience or annoyance. I wish I could think of a way to tell you how much your support means to me. Be well!


Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Mark, my feelings exactly! I'm not a fan of emotion, but I think that's why I have this problem. Thanks for stopping by.

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on May 10, 2021:

Anxiety, along with depression, my two least favorite emotions.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Lorna, thank you!! I do keep a journal, I find it helps. It does take courage to speak about my anxiety and panic attacks. But I want others to know they are not alone.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Misbah, this condition did sneak up on me. I was taking care of a friend and did not even realize I was denying myself. Life gets so complicated at times. You are right when you say anxiety is caused by long pain. Thank you for caring and your words of wisdom!!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Brenda, thank you so much!!

Lorna Lamon on May 10, 2021:

You have perfectly described the overwhelming feelings associated with anxiety Kari. I treat this disorder and know first-hand how debilitating it can be. I am glad you have professional help and are also taking steps to help yourself. I don't know if you keep a journal to help you identify what triggers the stress on a daily basis, and what helps.

It takes courage to talk about this condition and your poem shines a spotlight on how difficult anxiety can be to live with. I wish you well on your journey to recovery. Take care. Lorna

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Thank you Bill! Send my condolences to your son. I never understood how crippling anxiety can be, but now I do. One thing that pains me is that the word anxiety sounds so insipid, not at all like the panic attacks it produces.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Gregory, I see both a psychologist and psychiatrist. I am on medicine. I used to drink coffee all day long, but that was years ago. Now I limit myself to 2 cups a day. I will consider switching to decaf, that is a good idea. Thanks for recommending it! I don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Additionally I don’t (usually) eat processed foods. I also stay away from foods with flour and/or sugar. I appreciate your concern!!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on May 10, 2021:

Peggy, good wishes help, thank you! I see a psychologist for therapy and a psychiatrist for my medication. I don’t think the medicines help that much, but I'm scared to stop taking them. I sleep more than I should, but I also draw and paint, crochet, and write to distract myself. I remain thankful for all God's given me. I believe He never gives us more than we can handle. That is how I know I will get past this.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on May 09, 2021:

Hi Kari, I don’t know you but I read your poem after seeing it on my feed. I believe people who suffer with anxiety and stress disorders are the most brave people. Anxiety cannot be develop all of a sudden. It takes long pain to turn into anxiety. When you keep quiet while suffering. When you choose not to talk to anyone about what hurts you. When you think nothing good will happen even if you will share your feelings. The fear starts to build that nobody will care. If nobody will care what will I do? What will be the future?

I have seen people who have suffered anxiety. I know you are strong and you can overcome it. Believe me you can. Don’t let yourself down. You are a star and your have to shine bright. I wish whatever thing is disturbing you may end soon. Live life to its fullest. Express yourself to come out of this situation. Say what’s not said for so long. Tell them what you have never tried to tell for so long. Even if you think people won’t care still say it. Unload the burden. I know you can do it. You are brave. My best wishes and sincere prayers are with you.

Blessings and Peace

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 09, 2021:


Anxiety is a real problem.

I have faced it at briefly but only on occasion.

I cannot imagine that feeling every day.

Please take care & know there is nothing wrong with you.

We are here for you. Vent your fears..

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 09, 2021:

My son suffers from anxiety. Anyone who thinks he's weak is an idiot. Same for those who think you are weak.

Gregory DeVictor from Pittsburgh, PA on May 09, 2021:

Kari, I am sorry to hear about your anxiety issues. Are you seeking help from a medical professional about the anxiety? Have you tried any medications to alleviate the symptoms? Have you stopped eating and drinking certain foods and beverages that contain caffeine that can assuredly aggravate anxiety over the short- and long-term?

I know for a fact that caffeinated coffee created major anxiety problems for me for years. I always felt that “foreboding danger” lived at my doorstep. Then, I abruptly changed from caffeinated coffee to decaf in moderation, and my life radically changed.

Perhaps your anxiety is totally different to what I went through.

At any rate, the best of luck in your recovery efforts.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2021:

Hi Kari,

Thanks for sharing with us how your anxiety makes you feel. It sounds terrible that you are suffering so much, and sleep is your only outlet. Are you able to seek any medical help to address your feelings of anxiety? If good wishes help, know that a mountain of them are being sent your way today. Wishing you good health in the days to come.

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