Vigilant–A Haibun

It’s subtle but I immediately sense the telltale tightening throughout my body.  It quickly moves to hyper vigilance.  I look down at my hands and find them clutched together as if seeking sanctuary with the other from the impending increase in tension.  My heart rate quickens…there’s slight dizziness, nausea–which only serves to ratchet up the anxiety.  There’s never a turning back from this…it has to run its course, reach its peak and take me unwilling on an alarming provocation of harrowing fear and panic.

I search my mind; what was the trigger?  My thoughts are the culprit.  Circumstances from long ago, surge through my mind, almost obsessively at times, repeating in my physiology the fear that was produced…then.  The ensuing adrenaline rush propels the panic even further until every muscle is rigid and my shallow breathing works to feed my total disconsolate state.

stress burdens my soul
bleakness seals all directions
anxiety rules

I prefer to be alone and in quiet surroundings if too overwhelmed.  Being around people, even my loved ones, provides no comfort.  I must focus and not be distracted by superfluous words that are presented–with good intentions–but fail to soothe or calm. 

As a child and alone in the middle of the night when this “terror” would strike, I would yawn and shiver.  If it struck in the dead of winter, I wanted to run outside, to feel the snap of the cold that would bring on the shaking relief that would eventually dissipate the wayward energy.  Exhausted, I could then fall asleep.  I would turn to the Bible, the only spiritual book I knew at the time, and seek comfort from words that spoke of something…someone outside myself who promised peace…if I believed.

Heavenly Father
your daughter is suffering
have mercy on me

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  1. Oh I know this feeling all too painfully well. I also know that sometimes nothing anyone can say can make it go away either.
    Gosh, I feel every emotion here. What a fabulous write.


    • Very sorry that you know this feeling. That explains you feeling the emotion in this too.

      No, words from others don’t do a thing for me…unfortunately.


  2. i hope that mercy finds you and wraps you in its arms…felt verse today…and i hope that peace comes…


  3. Nice form…I have not tried my hand in this form as I need to improve on my fiction writing. I know this feeling too specially when I was a child. But in time, you learn to manage your thoughts and turn to others or the bible if, you prefer for solace and comfort. For me, solitude works too.

    Happy day ~


    • It’s an interesting combination, the haibun. Victoria introduced me to it some time ago…thought I would play with it again.

      My problem stems from some physical concerns as well with a nervous system with a “hair trigger”–but things are much more manageable these days. Thanks, Heaven.


  4. What a vivid description, Gayle! And scary too…
    I’ve never experienced a panic attack… but your vivid account made it so real!
    I hope you have a joyous 2012 filled with peace and prosperity!


  5. Haibun’s are challenging, but you did this one well. Anxiety is an evil spirit, I think.


    • Thank you, Laurie…I think this is my second try. Fun to give it a whirl!

      Yes, I agree..anxiety feels like an evil spirit.


  6. Really gripping account in verse, great job, hopefully you find that mercy.


    • I still deal with it but I have a better understanding of the cause, etc. which has helped immensely. Mercy and compassion have been found.

      Thanks, Pat.


  7. great one.

    happy new year.
    Thanks for the love to poets rally, keep it up.



  8. Wow…. I had to go to Wikipedia for a definition of the Haibun, but this is well done… I agree with the ones who said anxiety is an evil spirit… and I totally enjoyed reading this!


  9. In the aftermath I am grateful for the friends who understand and let me be. It’s tough. But I have learned of it, I can recognize it and wait for it to pass. Thank you for sharing this.

    All the best to you in the new year, Bodhirose.


    • I’ve learned a lot too and am grateful for those who allow me to be me. Sometimes it will just be a small little blip but other times I need medication to help with it. It has come and gone throughout my life. Taking care of myself with rest and good food helps too.

      All the best to you too, Ravenblack. I appreciate your visits and sharing with me.


  10. This is a beautiful form:Haibun. I like it. You do it
    very well. It ha a nice flow when read.
    Gosh … you sure have described my anxiety and fears.
    We would make nice bookends. We match, yet, are our own
    selves through our own design. Lovely, Gayle.
    Izzy xoxox


    • So many people seem to have trouble with this anxiety business. I’m sure it’s the cause of many drug and alcohol abusers. I absolutely can see why people would self-medicate themselves to relieve the pain. It can be pretty harsh.

      Yes, we seem to have shared some of the same fears through our lives, Izzy. I’m glad we found each other…you’re a wonderful friend.

      Namaste xoxo


  11. So well done and I love Haibun. You’re words really resonate with me. Glad to have read this today, makes me feel less alone! 🙂


    • Thanks so much. I’m glad you feel less alone and you should. I think there’s an epidemic of anxiety ridden people on the planet. 😦


  12. Too effective, Gayle, for those of us who’ve known the terror of a panic attack. I’ve had to talk myself off many a limb before it snapped. And I hate others seeing me like that. I run and hide until they are over.

    You describe it, as I said, too well.


    • It’s been a large part of my life since I was very young but found I have a physical component that has helped create the problem too.

      Yeah, I don’t like to be in that vulnerable state in front of people either..and it just adds to my anxiety spike! I want to be alone…


  13. i still find the haibun an intriguing form… this sounds harrowing, but you tell it well.


    • It is intriguing. If you try one, let me know. They are interesting little snippets of short story and haiku. Yes, can be quite harrowing. Thanks for your visit and comment.


  14. Androgoth

     /  January 5, 2012

    Before adding my thoughts I read your replies to previous comments on this fine piece of writing, but before that I didn’t realise that you were writing this down from personal experiences.

    How terrible those feelings must have been my great friend, and thankfully I have also read that these feelings are much less at the present time and that must be a pleasant relief my great friend…

    Have a truly wonderful Friday Gayle 🙂

    Androgoth XXx


    • Yes, it’s an all too true experience with panic attacks. They are more controlled now but will still come out of the blue sometimes and take me on a white-knuckled ride! Whew! Thank God for good drugs that can help! 🙂

      I appreciate your sweet compassion, Androgoth, and am grateful for your kind support. xoxo


  15. Wow, Gayle. This was a powerful write! As I read I was wondering if it was ptsd (something I have experienced at points in my life) and I have great empathy for you having to deal with the anxiety attacks. So glad you have found ways to endure yours! The mind and body can be cruel masters sometimes. The only way “out” is “through” and remember, “this too, shall pass.” 🙂 *hugs*


    • I think I have suffered from that at times too…I know one of my sisters has. It is good to know that I’m not alone in dealing with this but you have to wonder why people are so anxiety ridden…well, of course, there’s a million reasons aren’t there?

      There’s been some long stretches with this that I’ve wondered if it would ever pass…but eventually it did. I agree too, the mind and body can be a real challenge…in fact, perhaps, our only real challenge. Thanks for the sweet hugs. 🙂


  16. tightly written piece gayle. very well written. may peace be with you always.


    • Sorry for the delay in response, Trisha. I was away for the weekend and then received news of a sudden death of a loved one in my extended family…I’m in shock. A young woman only in her 30s..leaving behind two young sons and a grief stricken husband and family. We can’t believe it.


  17. Trisha, I forgot to say thank you. I always love your visits and want to acknowledge you. xo


  1. encore presentation: 2012 featured poets ~ Beez Laine aka @beezknez & Gayle Walters Rose aka BODHIROSE | my heart's love songs
  2. featured poets ~ Gayle Walters Rose aka Bodhirose + #giveaway | my heart's love songs

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