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12+

Breathe Through It

by RainbowCereal


Inhale.

You look into the mirror and a stranger stares back. His eyes are melancholy his shoulders slump under the weight of the burden he bears. You pity him, but doesn't he know it's rude to stare?

Exhale.

You avoid mirrors, unable to withstand the sight anymore. You brush your teeth and shower in the dark and this works until you slip and very nearly take yourself out on a bathroom counter, so you reluctantly turn the lights on again. Nonetheless, you don't look him in the eye. You: 1, the empty man in the mirror: 0.

Inhale.

Your mood changes on a dime and you can't distinguish between when you're being reasonable and when you're not. It's intense and nonexistent at the same time, like you live your life experiencing everything too much and not enough but you can never remember what it's like when you look back. It's a cycle of experiencing everything for the first time. The idea that you've felt anything other than what you do presently is so terrifying you might puke.

Exhale.

You're learning to manage it. You understand now what it means to grab ahold of something good and hold onto it with every ounce of strength you possess. It's never easy, but you do it, and that is enough. It has to be enough.

Inhale.

This time, your breath catches in your throat just enough to prevent you from getting air. You're smothering, your body a coffin, dying while your mind races. You cling to yourself in a desperate attempt to keep everything from coming to pieces but it isn't enough to stop the shaking and you think to yourself, is this how I'm going to die? Nothing else matters except for the knowledge that you're dying and you're alone with nothing to show for it. You make a noise that's not quite words but embodies the grief and anger you feel for being this way. You're too young to have a past worth haunting you.

Exhale.

These episodes become fewer and far between. The pain shapes how you think and behave but you're growing beyond it, past it. Maybe someday you can look back at all of this and feel pride at how far you've come, but you still have a ways to go. I know we'll make it there.


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266 Reviews


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Reviews: 266

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Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:00 pm
silented1 says...



So good. Can't review.




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Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:13 am
ChesTacos wrote a review...



Beautifully written. I really enjoyed the ending and the inhale/exhale at the start of each paragraph. It helped me visualize the work better.

You're smothering, your body a coffin, dying while your mind races.


I really like this metaphor about a coffin and death. I think this story shows PTSD very well especially at the start and in the middle. I also like how in the end it got a bit better.

It has to be enough.


I also really like this line, something about it is just so powerful. Anyways, great work! That's all!




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Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:45 pm
FireEyes wrote a review...



Hello there again. I see you have a new piece. Lemme get to reviewing. I'm going to go paragraph by paragraph.

Your first paragraph took me 2 readings to understand somewhat you were trying to convey. I think you were going for the man in the mirror being your reflection. You pity yourself because when you look in the mirror you don't see the person you once knew. I also love that you used the word melancholy. Nothing really to say there I just love that word.

The second paragraph gives a different mood. Instead of shame, its more like reluctance.

Nearly taking yourself out on a bathroom counter.
That part of the sentence seems tonally out of place. It's more comedic than anything and seems to not fit all that well. Maybe try to replace "take yourself out" with another phrase that means the same thing like "killing yourself." That phrase might seem extreme but it means the same thing. So you could play around with that.

Now for the third paragraph. So this one dives into dissociation. I am not an expert, in fact I am far from it, but your use of second person point of view doesn't sit well with the idea of dissociation because dissociation is when an alter takes control of the consciousness. So when "I" dissociate you wouldn't be talking to or directing anything at me anymore, you are directing it at the alter that is in control at the time. That was just a nitpick I had.
It's a cycle of experiencing everything for the first time.
When someone dissociates they don't know what the other alter has done until they get back in control.

4th paragraph I think dives back into PTSD. I think its shows the stress part very well; holding onto something that can ease the tension of the stress you feel. Nothing more to say on that one because it's pretty straightforward.

Now in the fifth paragraph is where the writing really shines. This describes a panic attack to a "T". Something that annoys me is when people use ''panic attack'' and "anxiety attack" interchangeably. When someone goes through a panic attack the first thing that goes through their mind is, "I'm going to die." You excite that perfectly.
You're too young to have a past worth haunting you.
Man does that sentence hit hard. It can be so frustrating when someone says, "Your too young to be feeling these things." They say it like our feelings are invalid. I think this had to be my favourite paragraph.

Now for the last paragraph. Golly I love how this is like a recovery paragraph. The scars are still there but scars show where we have been. It's so beautifully written, I don't know what to say. Your last sentence though GEEZ WHIZ!
I know we'll make it there.
I can't express how much I love that you used "We'll" instead of "You'll." It's like you and I are on this journey together.

Other things I have to say is that I like how you used inhale and exhale between each paragraph to remind yourself to just keep breathing. Excellent work! *Chef's kiss* Love it! Anyway Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!






i really appreciate the review!! and also appreciate that u enjoyed Recovery Paragraph especially, i tend to end a lot of pieces like this on sad notes and at the time i was feeling a little more hopeful than anything else. i'm glad the feeling was properly conveyed!!
i Did want to clarify that the dissociation here isn't related to having DID / OSDD. i don't have alters but i do struggle a lot w a flavor of dissociation that can come w the things i do have (which in my case just feels like a really strong disconnect from myself and my life- hence the narrator not recognizing himself in a mirror, for example, or not recognizing emotions he himself is experiencing so everything always feels new).
but again!! i really do appreciate the feedback, i think i'll def reconsider "taking myself out" at least. thank you!



FireEyes says...


Ohh thanks for clarifying about the dissociation. and I also wanna say that i love your pfp




"You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein