Seven Billion

Decisions, decisions, decisions, decisions – too many decisions.

They surround me. Points of light in a

World that is spinning; spinning.

I want to cry: hot streams of tears that will empty me of my


But I can’t. I must put on a brave face

So that the voices don’t catch on that anything went


I must endure the strain in my throat that makes my voice dry and hoarse;

The questions that make my head whirl like a globe on a stand,

Full of people, countries, oceans.


A.N. I thought that I was done with this collection, but then the anxiety of perhaps having not made the right university choices overwhelmed me. It was all I thought about for several weeks. Being the first time that I had to make such a big life choice, I was determined to do it well. I chose. I got cold feet. I regretted. I panicked. Yet I could do nothing about it. All I could and all that I can do is remember that everything happens for a reason.


One minute,

You’re fine.


The next,

Your hands feel tingly, buzzing.

You’re overheating.

Your heart is sprinting a marathon.

Your legs feel weak.

As though your youth has been zapped and

Replaced with the senility of a gelatinous pensioner.

You can’t breathe

You can’t talk

Your calves give way

You collapse in hysterics

But lack the oxygen

To even express your pain.


A.N. This poem is about my first panic attack, and the last from this collection. At the time, I had no idea what was going on. I wasn’t anxious about any particular thing, but all that had been stressing me to do with school, extra-curricular activities and my personal health must have been building up and up until it all got too much. I remember having to sit down at every chance as I struggled to make it home, then collapsing on the floor in tears in front of my family, who took me to A&E. It is written in second person in order to allow readers to imagine experiencing the changes for themselves, or to create empathy in those who have gone through something similar.


I, snarled in thick limbs,

Cried myself to sleep last night.

Can you see the salt?


A.N. The story behind this haiku is greatly personal, but I would like to share it on here as both an explanation of the words, and a record for myself. I composed it as I fell asleep the day my psychologist had told me that I would have to keep gaining weight to be at a lower risk of relapse despite being a ‘healthy’ weight, albeit at the very bottom of the range. I must have known, deep down, that this would happen, but I held out hope, and even tried to argue against it. That night, hyperaware of the extra fat my body had accumulated, I broke down. That’s what EDs do to you, I realise: make it seem like a couple of numbers on a scale and vital body fat are the end of the world.




Old Ways

I’ve come so far since

I was petrified of juice –

Dessert was a veneer of cake –

My hands were permanently blue;

I’ve come so far since

My heart hammered before ‘mountainous’ dishes –

Hormones became like fae –

Calories dictated my choices;

I’ve come so far since

I refused to clear my plate –

Fullness equalled guilt –

Clothes hung off my frame.


I’ve come so far since

I cried over biscuits and milk –

Sitting bruised my tailbone –

A snack was an overdose.


I’ve come so far since

I lived to befriend death


I’ve come so far since



A.N. This poem is one of my most personal, it being about my struggle with disordered eating and subsequently an eating disorder. I have been maintaining a clinically healthy weight since January 2016, but every now and again this  poem serves as a reminder of the ‘life’ that I do not want to go back to. The title Old Ways is borrowed from Demi Lovato’s song on the album Confident; it relates well to my own experiences, especially considering her own history of eating disorders. My decision to make each stanza shorter than the other is meant to reflect my leaving the disorder behind.





Bursting Bubbles

Once there was a girl who lived in a


Which helped her to deal with the everyday struggle.

It enabled her to stay very much content,

Even. When. Her. Time. Was. Up. For. Rent.


But soon they became tired of her dreamy visage;

The way in which her eyes encompassed the stars.

They wanted to bring her back to                  reality,

Though the girl feared it would destroy her sanity.


The – protestors – prodded – her – safety-sphere

Until her pulse was stuck right up a gear.

However, they had no such luck,

For the wall was made of sturdier stuff.


So the next attempt proceeded and the shoving began:

As if they were using a battering ram;

Finally it was managed to push her off balance,

But she rose up bruised; bracing; valiant.


She thought they’d stop but it was just the start,

For now they aimed directly for her


Heavy curses vibrated her shell,

The tremors racing up the Richter scale.


She shouted back butthehurtrebounded;

Her bubble had never been so crowded.

(The haven that she’d once lived in

Was now comparable to a prison).


When she was down they were no more humane,

As belligerence






Heat melted the bubble and the ice it tore;

She knew her home couldn’t take much more.


Soon she was left – naked – bereft;

Shaking from the brutal theft.

Now the flames marred her body and the freeze ceased her prose,

Yet the worst part is that it didn’t bring close


A.N. Bursting Bubbles was borne out of my thinking about how I felt that my imagination and childlike ways were being squashed out of me as I got older, although the hyperbolic nature of the ballad makes it more fictional than the other poems in this collection. I’ve never wanted to grow up, but that hasn’t stopped it happening; I’ve since learned to just appreciate the life that I receive, no matter how fast-moving it may be.