Underwater

My body fought for every last bit of air, as it thrashed against the invisible prison, I saw the exit but no longer had the strength to survive. I felt as though the air was being sucked out from my body, cold water filled my lungs and blood pounded behind my bleeding eyes. Numbness encompassed me as I hammered the door- but for all I knew I was dragging myself further down into the abyss.
6am
The alarm blared but I was already awake. I was often awake before it rang, for it has become a daily routine, waking up before the nightmare could resolve. The never-ending terror continued to relapse in my unconscious state, consuming my mind.
. . .
“I heard your alarm ages ago, what took you so long to get ready?”
My watch pulsed in red, 7:50.
“Are those dreams coming back?”, Mum was inquisitive but kept herself occupied in the kitchen. I furrowed my brow.
I hate it when she calls it that- a dream. A dream is when you’re in a world you wish you could be in. Not a dream arousing from feelings of intense fear, horror, and distress.
I shrugged her question off.
She knows I’m still having them. She was urging me for months to go to a therapist.
I know how much they charge, she works night shifts for extra cash, I’m not going to become another bill to pay off.
. . .
The school halls had always been daunting, always felt a dull presence, the feelings of the formidable eyes tracing my movements.
The eyes watching me like hawks, waiting for the moment I slip up.
Sophia called my name. I smiled and shrugged off the chills that ran through my body like static.
She still doesn’t know that I don’t want to be around people and the Noise.
. . .
I thought I was better, I hadn’t dreamt of the ocean in a while. I had built the courage to fake the new normal. I took a swim with my friends, braved the ocean.
I was not brave enough. It happened. Again. For what felt like the final time. The puppeteer had won, my reality was weak.

A flashlight woke me up, the man greeted me and explains my situation. Severe anxiety?
‘Serena, there was a shift in your teenage life that triggered your anxiety. Your nightmare took a form of your life, the feeling of being on edge exhibited in the car falling off the bridge into the water.’
. . .

My body fights for every last bit of air, as it thrashes against the invisible prison. Numbness encompasses me as water fills my lungs, I hammer down the door- but- this time I break free. It is a lucid dream; I am in control now. I swim, pushing myself further and further to the surface. The light is visible, with one last push I yank my head up breathing the crisp fresh air.

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