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There was a time when I used to do a lot
of posting on the AOL Poetry & Story Boards,
where a "Topic of the Week" is suggested
as a theme for each week's postings.

One week the topic was "Panic."


PANIC ATTACK

The symptoms came on quickly
When first they did appear;
A quickening of the pulse rate,
A senseless sense of fear.
You're sound of mind and strong of heart
You know this can't be real.
But what's this sudden deadly dread
You try hard not to feel?
You wait a while - it goes away
You sigh in disbelief.
One moment you are gripped with fear
The next brings strange relief.
Days go by and all is well
It must have been a dream.
Then suddenly it's back again
And now you want to scream.
This time it's worse - you ask yourself
If it's a heart attack.
You thought these symptoms had all left
But they're insanely back.
The fear is overpowering
You know the end has come
You make it to the ER
But then you feel so dumb.
The heart rate slowed, the sweating stopped;
So how do you explain
These feelings that you thought you had
When there's no sign of pain?
The docotor smiles and says, "It's stress;
A mild attack of panic."
But you know deep inside your gut
It's all far too satanic.
The siezures now are getting worse;
The tranquilizers fail.
The courage that you used to have
Is now of no avail.
You wake up in a special room
And see inquiring faces.
They're whispering and taking notes.
You wonder what this place is.
They finally bring a specialist
Who says, "I know these signs."
A "chemical inbalance" in
The brain he then defines.
He puts you on some medicines.
That make you feel insane.
He says, "You have to give them time
To work upon your brain."
The drugs have finally met their goal;
The psychiatrist was right.
You take your daily dosage
And no longer have to fight.
We all know mental illness is
A plight of hapless others.
It couldn't be for you or me
Or any of our brothers.

(At least, that's what I used to think.)


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