She shudders. She waits. She tells herself it is all in her head. In her mind, she knows this to be true. It feels real. It feels like it is presently happening. To her. She can’t control it. She can’t avoid it. She can’t get out.
The room becomes smaller and smaller. The windows are shut. The lights are off and nobody else is home. She can feel the air running out. She can feel her lungs struggling with each and every breath.
When it comes to this moment- the decision to fight or flight– she chooses neither. She chooses nothing. She chooses to ignore the problem and hope that it goes away. It does not stop. No matter what she does, how loud she thinks that she is screaming. She can pray. She can sing softly to herself. Nothing matters, nothing works.
Then, it is as if hands clasp around her neck. The hands begin to tighten their hold on her neck. The hands allow her to still breathe, yet reduce the amount of air. This causes her breaths to be shorter, to quicken. This causes panic inside of her body. This causes her to feel as if she is choking.
She has to keep reminding herself that she is not really choking. She is not really in this tiny room, either. She is not all alone, although it usually feels that way. She is in a dream reliving a horrible fear. She can’t do anything to stop it when it creeps up upon her. She can’t let go of the pain and then it begins to choke her.
If only the pain was not real, either. She could emasculate the pain. She could create new memories and the old ones would become invisible. The feelings of choking might subside. The feelings of not being able to get out might dissipate. She does not know how to control it. She does not understand the way her mind works. She is aware that it’s all in her head. That it is only the beginning.