The Story Of How Anxiety Consumed Me

There's a tiny monster in all of us

I wrote this poem as an allegorical expression of how anxiety cripples its victims. It’s my explanation of the “little butterfly,” the embodiment of fear we all feel when we consume too much caffeine or can’t control our own overthinking.

Where in the world am I? I feel it. It’s there on my shoulder, sitting there, keeping me company. Clinging to my thoughts, sharing its worry, darkness, and dismay. A being so minuscule yet so strong. Binding to me, he whispers, whispers his worry; feeling his fear weighing down my chest like lead.

Tick-tock.

Amidst his tiny claws, he slacks there, cupping a watch rusted from tears and etched with a strained, fractured timekeeper that slowly goes “tick-tock, tick-tock.”

Tick-tock.

“Please go away! I cannot catch my breath. For something so light, your grip is secure. For someone so tiny, your weight feels heavy. I feel weary and just want you to come to a merciful end.”

Tick-tock.

“Ol’ chap, I intend no harm. I just want a listening ear and some compassion,” confessed the innocent being. “Look at the time, and I will share my worries.”

Tick-tock.

Muttering he was, the beast continued his little game. As its victim, I remained baffled in a limbo of worries and at his mercy.

Tick-tock.

“Where are you now? I can hear and feel your presence, yet you are loose like sand in an hourglass!” I gasped as my heart skipped a beat.

“Calm down, sir,” uttered the squeaky voice, “You have plenty of time to fret. You have experienced nothing yet.”

Tick-tock.

“Show yourself! Show yourself, please! What is it that you want?” I begged. Yet I receive nothing in response except for eerie silence, as a flaky, dry hand slides down my collarbone and meets my rigid chest muscles.

slides down my collarbone and meets my rigid chest muscles.

Then suddenly he spoke.

“I simply want a friend. You know, a mate to share the good and bad with. I want someone to split my troubles with.”

Tick-tock.

“Tell me, how does it feel when nothing gets done and time literally slips through your fingertips? Isn’t it fun?” heckled the tiny beast. “Time is subjective and flows freely, waiting for no one. It is greedy. It paces to and fro with overwhelming emotions that drive the mind insane with truthful lies.”

“Stop!” I begged the tiny terror, “please stop all of this and leave me be! Let me sleep in peace! You wish to be friends, but didn’t even tell me your name.”

Tick-tock.

“Hush now. It’s time to rest, mate. Go to bed. Making your acquaintance has made me hungry, and I see a tasty morsel growing ever tastier in his disarray,” Phobos’s voice echoed.

Finally, the creature materialized from viscous shadows and tore off his skull mask. Nothing but a dark hole to engulf his prize like the glutton that he was. The clock struck twelve, and I awoke with this little monster sitting comfortably upon me as it caressed its clock. All that remained of me was a hollow husk of a victim, and my voice dissolved. I was nothing but a reverberating rib cage, going “tick-tock, tick-tock.”

Photo by Hailey Reed on Unsplash

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