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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Creative Non-Fiction by Renee Lake

Anxiety Moths

Day 1

Depression and anxiety are like insects. They burrow into your head, into your stomach, your blood, annoying moths, eating away at a sweater a little at a time until it unravels.

No one tells you how hard it is when your child suffers from the same illness as you.

No one tells you how hard communication becomes. It’s so difficult to talk, about everything, from fear and worries to hopes and dreams.

I pull and prod to get information out of her, to talk, to help, so I can understand. So, she can understand me. She says the evil thoughts fly around her mind, whipping against thoughts of love, friends, and home.

I know how she feels, like moths in your mind, seeking light and then smothering it. These are not happy, beautiful butterflies. They are moths, wings of damask. They are living in darkness, leaving behind larvae to eat through the soft places.

Day 2

I take her to the hospital. They poke and prod and ask the hard questions. The same questions I asked hours before. Is she safe? Des she have a plan?

The answers are scary. There isn’t a better word. She wants to step out into traffic. Moths fill her stomach, beating against the walls, making her sad, making her sick.

I understand; this is my life; daily. I’ve had more time to understand the thoughts and feelings. I have more coping mechanisms and more ways to communicate.

She doesn’t have the tools to deal with the awful thoughts threatening to swallow her whole. It is my job to make sure she’s safe.

We sit together in silence. The hospital is cold and I hate the smell. We wait to see if they can take her, help her and keep her safe.

Day 3

I leave her at the hospital. The car is overly warm when I get in. It smells of old French fries and dirty children. I sit, crying in my car. My husband is next to me, unsure of how to respond. We are both lost.

I don’t want to leave her. I can’t stay with her. She is going somewhere I can’t follow.

My moths are vengeful inside of me; they roll around, duplicating, growing, causing an ache in my chest.

It is hard to go home. My other children don’t understand where their sister went. I cannot sleep. I pace the halls. I turn on every light to chase out the darkness.

Food tastes like wool in my mouth, nothing more than fuel for the moths.

What day is it now? Has it been four days, or six?

Doctors tell us she needs new medication, additional therapy. My firecracker daughter complains about low-fat cheese. She wants her stuffed cat. She’s having caffeine withdrawals.

I take the books that she loves. Stories full of vampires falling in love, haunted boarding houses, and girls with blue crescent moons. I bring her sketchbooks that she can fill. She loves to draw eyes. She draws people, places, and things inside the eyes. I make sure she has clothes, toothpaste, deodorant and chap stick. I want her to be comfortable.

Day 7 and 8

I miss my daughter. Her brothers ask where she is, the frown on their faces precious and gloomy.

Her little sister tells me she doesn’t understand. There are too many feelings and thoughts crowding her mind. Does she have moths also? Are there furry, fuzzy wings inside her, brushing against her memories? Will they get worse? How do I quiet them?

I visit my daughter, and I call. Every moment I wonder when they will tell me she can come home.

I still can’t sleep or eat. My house feels like the color has been leached out of it. My movements like I am slogging through slime, painfully slow.

I know she is safe. I feel like I am failing her.

Day 9

All I think about is my daughter. I want my firecracker in her room, in her bed, where I can watch her.

We have group therapy over the computer. It’s awkward, but a start. The doctors tell me she is doing well, that she is polite and does what she’s told.

My firecracker tells me she knows we need better communication. That she’s trying to work on it.

They tell me she can come home tomorrow. Tomorrow is too soon and not soon enough.

I will do anything to help her get better. I will dance in the moonlight, pray to the Gods of old, fill medications, listen to professionals, read books, and I will talk. We will talk.

Why couldn’t we talk before?

Please talk to me!


I will gather every tool I can, tools to help us silence the moths.

Renee Lake is a bisexual 36-year-old Puerto Rican from Utah. She has four children. When she's not taming crazy kids or working full time she is writing. You can also find her exploring the wilds of Thedas or shopping at the Citadel. She has several novels for sale through Smashwords and Forgotten Hills, a paranormal romance, is now available through Melanage Books. You can see more of her flash fiction soon at MoonChild Magazine, 3 Moon Publishing, Lunate, Crepe and Pen and Nightingale and Sparrow.

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