By: Olivia Humphrey

Imagine yourself in a room full of balloons in a variety of colors, all with little white string.
Each balloon is an event; a lunch with friends, a family reunion, a party, a date.
You try to be attentive and pick up a balloon, only to have it pop in your unsuspecting hands.
The sound is nearly deafening- both the burst and the sobering silence afterwards.
The rubber lays across your palms and you know your mistake:
You had momentarily forgotten that your fingertips had been replaced with needles.
Your heartbeat races, your hands twitch, your breathing quickens.
You frantically apologize to no one in particular, tears running down your cheeks.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean for this to happen! Please forgive me!”
Your shaking has become uncontrollable, and you feel an earthquake rise from the floor.
The stream of tears has turned into a waterfall flowing out of each eye, and you begin to sink.
You’re breathing so quickly that a tornado forms from your lungs and spins into the room.
You’re not sure if your heart is beating too fast to track or if it’s stopped beating altogether.
You look at your fingertips- once soft, small, reminders of innocence and identity;
Now replaced with metal pieces of destruction, only bringing adulthood and instability.
You try to remove the needles, only pricking yourself and leaving blood stains everywhere.
You scream for help in the dimly lit room, only to be responded by your own echo.
Your voice is broken and sad and you can barely recognize it.
The bright colors and smooth string seem to mock you with their purity and simplicity.
This is having needles for fingertips in a room full of balloons.
This is missing opportunities and memories and only blaming yourself.
This is anxiety.