Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

The waves softly crash into the shore. I can hear the men yelling at each other vaguely, like the seagulls. The howling of the wind is not only covering up the sounds of the beach, of the flapping of the wings and of the children playing in the distance, but also my thoughts. Minutes before, I had had what was probably a panic attack. How do you know if something is a panic attack? My heart was racing and everything looked blurry and I felt dizzy and I believe they say that panic attacks make you feel detached from your surroundings and I think that was what I felt.

Do you know that feeling, of your stomach dropping when you suddenly realize you did something really stupid? It was a bit like that, but longer and more intense and also even more uncomfortable. I was in my room when it happened, and I always thought ‘not knowing how you got somewhere’ sounded kind of fake and overly dramatic, but I can now confirm that this is a thing that actually happens. Anyway, I’m here now and the feeling of the sand between my fingers (I just sat down and am now running my hands through the rough and grainy sand-with-broken-shells-but-also-a-bunch-of-pebbles-for-good-measure concoction that covers Brighton beach. Or any UK beach, now that I think of it…) is calming me down somewhat. So is the slightly discomforting feeling of wind and drops of salty water in my face, and the smell of it. The taste of it on my tongue, even.

You’d expect a person to want calm and quiet when they’re having a panic attack but I think the sensory overload is taking up so much of my attention that I don’t have enough left for panicking. It feels good not to be panicking. The wind is blowing away the clouds, and I would love to see that as a metaphor of my distress fainting away but I’d rather not because while the clouds are moving away, the sky is also turning darker.

I don’t want my sky to be dark. I want it to be blue. I’m not ready for dark skies.

by Lola van Scharrenburg

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