A step outside.
And then another.
All eyes are on me, inside I shudder.

Bounce, bounce,
Begin to go faster,
Better not stop, I can’t stand their laughter.

Can I still breathe?
Catch a quick breath.
Can’t let them think I’m out of my depth.

Dare to feel good.
Daren’t make it look easy.
Do it in silence, stop with the wheezing.

Emotions come flooding.
Each nerve-ending tells me,
Even out here, in the clean air, I’m a phoney.

Going up this hill,
Great, the path is clear,
Give me strength, please, don’t stumble here.

Heavy legs.
Heavy heart.
Heaving my body up this inclined start.

I can’t do this.
I can’t, it’s too much.
I have to turn back, I’ve failed, I’m just…

Just what, what am I?
Just some nobody in shoes?
Just some insignificant entity, with nothing to lose?

Kitted out,
Kicking on,
Kind of a blur, was here, now gone.

Living this anxiety.
Letting everything build up.
Lowering my self-belief because my mind says just give up.

Maybe, I can reach the top.
Maybe, it’s not so far.
Maybe, they’re not actually all watching me from afar.

No, I’m weak, look, I’m slowing.
Now I’m a joke, they’re pointing my way.
Nothing has made me feel so pathetic and afraid.

Oh god, why is this happening.
Others don’t struggle like me.
Outside in the sunshine, climb hills, they said, you’ll see

People—I look up, no one around.
Perhaps, they ran off laughing.
Perhaps, they’ve finally realised, I’m the new clown in town.

Quickly, thoughts pour in, so
Quickening my step,
Quieting the din, silencing the storm, is my greatest challenge yet.

Right then, before me, the summit appears.
Running still, I can’t give up now.
Reaching the top takes all I’ve got, but I’ve made it to the clouds.

Serenity rises up from my heart.
Silly thoughts are overcome.
Seeing the beauty around me has helped me conquer this run.

Turning inwards to my thoughts,
Thinking closes my senses.
That’s how anxiety takes hold so strong, it throws up my defences.

Understanding how this happens.
Understanding who I am.
Understanding, it’s only part of me, and there’s more to my master plan.

Views like this are therapy.
Views up close or over hills.
Viewing my world from summits just here creates positive memories, longlasting thrills.

Woods, flowers, birdsong and sunsets.
With these sights come beautiful feelings and thoughts.
What difference could running make to my life, now that I’ve been taught…

Xeriscaping: society can no longer control me,
Yearning to shame all my tears.
Zooming in on my strength and courage, I’m now letting go of my fears.

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