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12+

Overload

by Athanasius


The streets are full of busy bodies hastily making their way towards an unforgiving destination. A few are merely going towards their dreaded night shifts... others are breathing a sigh of relief at finally being able to go home. Or maybe, even getting ready to meet their dates under starlight in a fancy veranda from the classiest of restaurants their lovers decided was worth the price for their evening out.

For me, no such thing is my reality. Feeling all these people pass me by makes the itch between my shoulder blades practically wail to a maddening frequency. Colors everywhere feel like a cacophony against my eyes. Each time someone answer's a phone call it feels as if they're screaming in my ears the moment they say a 'hello'... despite it being in a moderate tone.

I needed to get out, get away. Blindly letting my hands push out of the way as I try to search for an escape in an ocean full of too many lives for me to deal with. If only silence came to me... holding me gently in a reassuring embrace when my breathing comes out ragged, unable to feel the oxygen fill my lungs properly.

My vision is becoming hazy the more desperately I try not to blink in search of a solution. I just need a way out... just one way out...

But it's no use as my legs give out beneath me, succumbing to the clutches of anxiety turning everything into a hellish reality. Everything spins out of control as I wish for an unreal peace. minutes pass by, or maybe hours. I feel my heart in my throat, unable to get my bearings as the world seems to darken.

And yet gentle hands guide headphones over my ears, holding them tightly in place. My gaze clashes with unknown emerald eyes. I understand not what they say as they mouth incomprehensible words, but the sound of instrumental chords softly lulling me with their melody feel like a blessing against my tumultuous thoughts.

The stranger still makes motions trying to get me to understand, until my brain allows a logical thought to seep through. One word, loud and clear. 'Breathe' And I do so like a newborn child coming into the world for the first time. At first too fast and improper, before my own memory recalls the teachings that helped me in my younger days.

"Inhale, exhale. Again, let's do this slowly. Breathe."

Calm... soothing. As my bearings come into focus again and the world doesn't feel so cumbersome. When I look again green eyes are not there, but my own hands are the ones clutching the headphones closely as the tension leaves my body. And I'm finally able to stand on my own legs again. 


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26 Reviews


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Reviews: 26

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Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:34 am
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mckaylaam wrote a review...



Hi there, I just want to start out by saying that I love this piece! It's something that I can definitely relate to, in a way, on a personal level; having anxiety/sensory overload issues can be a lot to deal with sometimes and I feel like this is a really good example of what it's like to be overwhelmed (or overloaded).

As redvictory mentioned in their review, I think that slightly altering the piece so that you aren't using as many ellipses would help maintain that dramatic effect you're aiming for. I would personally change the ellipses at "dreaded night shifts... others are breathing" and "they say a 'hello'... despite it being" to commas, but this is just personal preference of course.

Additionally, in the last paragraph when you used the word "bearings" a second time, it felt slightly repetitive - I would experiment with different words/phrases, maybe something like orienting oneself. Again, this is just personal preference so if you would rather stick with your original wording then that's perfectly okay!

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this piece and I love how you were able to evoke such a strong image from this that resonates with me. Keep up the great writing! :)




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26 Reviews


Points: 26
Reviews: 26

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Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:53 am
redvictory says...



This is so darling. :) Short but sweet, which is something I really admire! Being able to keep a story compact but still emotional and well-structured is such an awesome skill for a writer to have!

I only have a couple of nitpicks for you!

First of all, in the second paragraph, "answer's" should be "answers," no apostrophe. Again, just a little thing!

I would be careful with how many ellipses you use. It adds to the dreamy tone, I agree, but if you use too many, especially in a short piece like this, their effect wears off. Periods can do a lot for writing out choppy thoughts! Just experiment around, see what works and what doesn't. :)

Finally, the ending confused me a little. I'm sure there was some kind of symbol or twist there, but it was a little too vague for me. But that may just be my personal preference as a reader! No worries if you disagree.

Overall though, this was a really strong and well-done piece! I really felt the emotions written out at the beginning... you get me right into the narrator's head within the first paragraph! Also, I loved your use of headphones drowning out the world. It worked really well for the narrative, and I know just how the speaker feels.

Anyway, nice work! Thank you for sharing, and keep writing!!! :D




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26 Reviews


Points: 26
Reviews: 26

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Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:53 am
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redvictory wrote a review...



This is so darling. :) Short but sweet, which is something I really admire! Being able to keep a story compact but still emotional and well-structured is such an awesome skill for a writer to have!

I only have a couple of nitpicks for you!

First of all, in the second paragraph, "answer's" should be "answers," no apostrophe. Again, just a little thing!

I would be careful with how many ellipses you use. It adds to the dreamy tone, I agree, but if you use too many, especially in a short piece like this, their effect wears off. Periods can do a lot for writing out choppy thoughts! Just experiment around, see what works and what doesn't. :)

Finally, the ending confused me a little. I'm sure there was some kind of symbol or twist there, but it was a little too vague for me. But that may just be my personal preference as a reader! No worries if you disagree.

Overall though, this was a really strong and well-done piece! I really felt the emotions written out at the beginning... you get me right into the narrator's head within the first paragraph! Also, I loved your use of headphones drowning out the world. It worked really well for the narrative, and I know just how the speaker feels.

Anyway, nice work! Thank you for sharing, and keep writing!!! :D




Athanasius says...


I was meant to reply to this the day you commented but my mind is terrible at times concentrating and forgets the task I do at hand; hence how days later I am now replying. Deeply appreciate the feedback, I am wondering if to fix the mistakes or leave them as a reminder for future pieces so that I may learn to keep ellipses in a more subdued tone when I write any short piece.

It was vague, you got it right! I was trying to personify a bit what a grounding technique is. In this piece for example the person's clutch is music, but for another it might be drawing, or writing, etc. It's a good observation because I was writing this in a moment of overload and then I backed out of manifesting as a person those techniques one may use to relax or calm down when the world whizzes by.

I'm glad the emotions of the narrator can be felt, and can get the reader to experience to an extent what they're feeling. It let's me know what's good, but can even still be improved a bit. ^w^




Patience is the strength of the weak, impatience is the weakness of the strong.
— Immanuel Kant, Philosopher