Oh boy, does this resonate with me. My long march with anxiety and panic attacks began when I was three years old and pulled over a bathroom cabinet. It wasn’t the crash of the cabinet and everything on or in it that sent me into a wailing tailspin. It was the skull-and-crossbones poison warning still visible on the label of the shattered bottle of ammonia. There I sat on the tile floor, stark naked and frozen to the spot by my terror. Meanwhile the death bottle spilled its evil, reeking liquid in a pool that surrounded me. The look of horror on my mother’s face and the rage on my father’s, when they came to see what I was screaming about, sealed the deal. Annihilation lurked everywhere. Who knew?

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Writer & educator. The Startup, Writing Cooperative, P.S. I Love You, The Ascent, more. Award-winning short fiction. Visit me at www.JanMFlynn.net.

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