The Perfect Panic Attack Poem by Scott Sims

The Perfect Panic Attack

Instructions on Having the Perfect Panic Attack
Find a trigger
A job interview, the claustrophobia of mass
Deciding what to have for dinner
It will help if you have a chronic condition:
Severe depression, an anxiety disorder, asthma
This is ideal, but may not be possible for
Your body will instinctively revert to its
most primal state, fearing for your life
Your sympathetic nervous system will activate
its fight or flight response
In the face of this perceived danger,
This decision between Chipotle and Chinese
The body can only panic for a maximum of about
20 minutes.
Follow these instructions closely to make
the most of this time
Your breathing is the only part of this process
you can control
Do not.
This would drastically shorten the attack
Focus on the constricting of your ribcage,
On your drum major heart conducting this frantic
Mistake this for a heart attack or a stroke.
If successful, you may lose control of your
The caveman in your limbs will tense every
muscle to flee his predator
Your arms and legs will go numb, starting
at your hands and feet
Every twitch and tingle an attempt to run
for your life
Stay in place. Do not go for a walk. Do not
call your friends, your mother, your psychiatrist,
an ambulance
By now, you should be in a full panic, hyperventilation
cutting off oxygen to your brain
You will feel faint, become certain of your
own death
Do not call your friends. Do not call your
mother. Do not call your psychiatrist.
A panic attack is a remarkably solitary experience
The presence of another person could have
a calming effect and cut the attack short.
Resist the temptation to fumble a hand through
the desk drawer
for the medication you have been prescribed
for this
Instead, locate the tool kit
Your grandfather gave you three years ago
When he told you, "I'm giving you this
so you can fix anything."
Place it on the desk. Open it.
Steady your right hand long enough to grasp
the box cutter
Note how close the blood vessels lie beneath
sheets of your skin
Place the blade of the box cutter to the snare
drum in your wrist
At this point, your panic attack may begin
to ebb
The body can only panic for a maximum of about
20 minutes
As your breathing and heart rate steady, find
a bottle of water to hydrate yourself
Drop the box cutter into the garbage can
Return the tool kit to the desk drawer
Distract yourself with a walk or a TV show
Your body will assume it has survived for
another day
Until the next trigger
At which point you will repeat the process
But do remember:
You are not having a heart attack
You are not dying
The body can only panic for a maximum of about
20 minutes
And in that time, every piece of you
Every basic, primal piece of you
Is screaming for you
To survive

Friday, November 1, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: depression
Error Success