Thin Space

Sometimes, it seems like a dream –
a bad dream, catalogued in three years of notes in my therapist’s office –
but a dream nonetheless.
Other times
I wake up, my brain dull and fuzzy.

I know it’s only a matter of time
until someone pushes the button –
the one I can’t ever access myself –
and I’ll be barefoot and crying,
standing in our cold garage, looking for
something – anything – to help me

hold on.
don’t lose control.
sheer panic.
i think i’m going to explode.
adrenaline surges, but I have nowhere to run and no one
to fight
but myself.

Something always has to give.
On a good day, it’s scraps of cardboard, torn to shreds
and put tidily back in the recycling bin. Or
a Mason jar sacrificed from the kitchen cabinet
– smash them in a bucket, I’ve learned.

Then come the tears.
Heaving sobs I can’t get to except
by breaking through the tough casing
that holds me speechless and combative.

The worst days leave behind shards of condemnation –
these I can’t take to the trash bin so easily.

what’s wrong with you?
aren’t you better yet?
can’t you hold it together?
you’ll never escape this.

 They’re like a mean bullies, kicking me while I’m down.

 Breathing reminds me I’m still standing.

Breathe in…1,2,3,4…
Breathe out… 1,2,3,4…
feel the floor.
feel your feet.
you are safe.
you are here.
you are loved.

Bedraggled, exhausted, tear stained,
I crawl out of the thin space
and return to today.


Annelise Roberts is a woman sifting through wreckage for the foundation that still remains. Writing is group therapy for her inner committee. She is more certain of less things than ever before but clings to the hope of truth and beauty. She is the wife of a patient, kind man who loves her persistently, and mother to three small boys who give her motivation to get out of bed each day, and ensure that she never sleeps.