To My Friend

When I think of you, I suffocate.

I feel my heart both squeezed of its air

And torn to its limits. Is it hate?

Thirteen years of friendship, turned to nightmare.

I feel so much pressure, never doing right.

I am always lacking in your eyes.

And I fight this hold you have on me, this spite

Slowly bringing our relationship to its demise.

BUT it’s not all on you: dance turns to sparring takes two

I am inconsistent, (eternally) anxious, and emotional,

Avoiding confrontation — just trying to make it through.

No more denial.

You think I’m treating you poorly, unfairly,

But the thing you seem to forget, always

Is that with my condition I’m fighting all the time and barely

treading water. Toxic friendship just adds to the haze.

It all came crashing down last New Year’s Eve, a night of stress

It sounds so insane, I know, that when you asked me to pick

you up in an Uber on my way, I said no. Total distress –

Couldn’t you understand a panic attack was coming quick?

You see, I have reason to be scared, I’m not putting on a show:

Last September I was in France for my cousin’s wedding, 

a dream.

But that panic attack I know so well (I’ve had dozens)

 and fear so

reared its head: my dad carried me back home, 

torn at the seams.

So, I make hard (sometimes seemingly illogical) choices, 

I respect

if you can’t work with that.

There are no rules to the way my brain works, I’ve checked.

So let me know where you’re at.

Know that I am trying my hardest, my best.


Does our friendship make it through this test?

By Elisa Rerolle