False Alarm

The sound of the clock bounced back and forth, splitting the gentle silence of the library room.
Keyboards clicked rapidly as I fidgeted in my wooden chair, attempting to focus on my paper. I
typed new words and old ones over and over, deleting and rewriting them, but nothing seemed to
sound right.


My eyes blurred into the blue lit screen and I yawned when suddenly a light sensation on the left
side of my chest th

 

ump gently. The sensation grabs me for a moment, but I quickly reverted back
to my work. You’re okay I reminded myself.


I began pressing keys to form my first sentence. “It goes without saying-” I wrote when the dull
pain, once again, clenched lightly in my chest. I looked up from my screen and watch the room
blur around me. The tick tock sound fades as my ears ring and buzz. My heart thumped rapidly
and I place my right hand over my chest and felt my pulse bounce. My head felt light and empty
as I continued to blink. I looked around the room at all the scrunched faces behind their bright
screens, college students sweat over their next assignment. Our existence is temporary.
I stood up, attempting to gasp for air as I make my way out of the library. Everything in my
vision was fuzzy. The sounds around me continues to ring as I sped up my pace. I find a bench
close by to rest. What is wrong with me? My hands tremble for my phone. I furiously googled
chest pain and scrolled through the search results.


“Coronary Artery Disease, heart attack, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” I read the dark print on
my phone and red text that appeared underneath each illness “warning medical emergency.” I
began to shake uncontrollably as I frantically called my mom.


“Hello?” she answered. I burst into tears about my chest pains and how if I don’t go to the
doctors immediately, I could die. “You need to breathe” she responded calmly
“I’m serious,” I pleaded. I imagine this being my last phone call, the last clothes I wore, the last
words I said. How scary the unknown is, how haunting it is to lose your mind when you’re dead,
it’s even more haunting when you’re alive.


I pressed the circular end button and rise from the bench. The tattered leaves swirled and
crunched together, a guy in khaki pants struts by, I faintly hear the beat blaring from his
headphones. Everything is dull and hollow, no one understands, I don’t even understand. I felt
alone in my own body. The thought of me disappearing forever fueled my legs to begin a fast
pace toward my campus doctors office.


The walk there blurred in front of me. My senses were dulled but heighted, slow but quick. Time
doesn’t make sense. Nothing makes sense.

 

I approached the receptionist and she glanced up at me with tired eyes.


“Walk in?” she asked with no fluctuation in her voice. “Yeah I’m having pains in my chest,” I
began. I feel a gentle tug at my throat as my panicked eyes stared towards her.
She clenched onto her peppered hair observing my demeanor, then adjusted her glasses “I’ll get
someone,” She responded calmly, and raised from her desk chair. I took a seat in the waiting
room and glanced down at my lock screen. The picture of my friends and I smiling felt so
distant. It hurts knowing how happy I was then. I would have done anything to be in that
moment, to feel at ease. Each minute passed slowly and everything around me blurred and broke
like I was living in a twisted form of reality. Every object in the room softened around me. My
lightheadedness worsened as my heart rate picks up.


A nurse with a short blond ponytail called my name out from a corner of the waiting room. I
quickly paced towards her and a small room with a checkup table. I sat watching the blank walls
around me as she bombarded me with questions. A machine tugged at my arm feeling for my
pulse while another nurse listened to my heart rate and drew blood. This place felt foreign and
dull. A place made for helping humans exist. People spend years studying physical bodies to
help our mentalities. It’s comforting but frightening.


Time passed and a tall doctor with a strange demeanor knocked quietly on the side of the door.
“We ran a bunch of tests,” he told me. “An EKG, bloodwork and everything looks completely
normal. Especially for a 19-year-old. I think what you might be experiencing is anxiety. Do you
have a history of anxiety?”


I nodded, and felt my stomach starting to lift at the idea that I’ll be okay. It sank down again,
knowing that these episodes are bound to happen over and over. Panic after panic over the fear
that my body will stop functioning. A ping of guilt knocked on my conscious, I think of my
parents and how much distress I put them through. I need to fix this. My body is healthy but my
mind is worried sick.

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