Imagined, Real

Words by Lydia, VIC

I wrote Imagined, Real during the week before exams to show how my anxiety manifests itself. I wanted to describe the physical symptoms and suffocating feelings it brings and how helpless it can make me feel. It’s so hard to explain to people what it’s like to be anxious and how restrictive it can be, so this poem was my attempt at explaining what it’s really like. Focussing on physical aspects of anxiety was also important to me to prove that anxiety is not something that is not ‘just in my head’, as some people wrongly believe.

Tight shoulders, neck, jaw.

Pain in the left side,

Between two ribs

An intense stabbing,

Throbbing pain

Concocted by an uneasy mind,

Imagined, Real.

Snapping, cracking, crumbling

Voice, posture, confidence.

Hands shaking, fidgets, scratches,

Taptaptaps and drums on the desk

Lip bleeds, bitten.

Eyes, deep brown and watery

Try, fail to focus.

An unwelcome thing

That shares her brain

Not today


Not today

Try again


Illustration by AileenYou can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenetc

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