The jackhammer startled her awake and she sat bolt upright in bed, her hand on her chest she looked around wildly for the source of the noise that was filling her head. It must have been a hot night because the sheets were soaked with sweat, she was freezing now, but sticky with the residue of a sweaty nights sleep.
Sun streamed through the window burning her retinas, she swung her legs out of bed, pushed herself up and shuffled over to the curtains yanking them closed. She tried to take a deep breath, but couldn’t and she felt a strange pain and pressure in her chest, something was wrong. The pit in her stomach that already seemed miles deep deepened further and she moved quickly from the room. The jackhammer got louder, as she moved her joints protested she could almost hear them crying out for her to stop, but she had to see, she knew something was wrong.
She stumbled frantically to each room, checking, dreading, knowing. She pulled out drawers and threw pillows and sheets from beds leaving a path of destruction in her wake. She paused briefly wrapping her arms around her body and rocking back and forth in quick jerky motions.
Where? She wondered, Where is it? I know, I know.
Her breathing was becoming laboured and she was sweating again, she swiped at her forehead and realised her hands were shaking, everything hurt. The jackhammer got louder as she lurched into the kitchen, she held her hands over her ears to block out the noise, but they did nothing, her head was now pounding in time to the jackhammers staccato rhythm. She worried at her nails and cuticles and spun around the room in a quick circle,
Where? I know, oh god something terrible has happened. Have to stop it, have to stop it.
She threw open drawers trying to find something, anything that would help her understand, help her fix everything that was wrong. The jackhammer and her head combined to a volume that was almost overwhelming. Her tongue felt thick in her mouth and she could taste metal, it made her cringe.
Water she thought feverishly must have water.
She moved slower now and swayed her way over to the counter, she tried to pick up a glass and missed the first time. The second time she grasped it and then mused over how the glass seemed to warp in front of her, she didn’t remember noticing that before. She turned to get water from the faucet and stumbled; she flung out her hand to catch herself and missed falling to the floor, the glass rolled across the wooden floors. She turned onto her back and gazed up at the ceiling,
Funny, she thought, it’s swirling.
The pain in her chest was terrible, every part of her body hurt, the jackhammer and her head were louder and faster seemingly building towards a crescendo. The ceiling continued to swirl and now it was changing colour, the pristine white ceiling was turning a shade of grey and she could see black moving in from her peripherals to take over the grey, it was happening so fast. The jackhammer sung on. The black took over in a rush, her eyes closed and her whole body suddenly relaxed, finally the jackhammer slowed, but she could no longer hear it.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety please seek help: