"Free me from the panic bird on my heart and my typewriter." Sylvia Plath
My Panic Bird flew away
Only to perch upon my shoulder again today
My Panic Bird with me resides
Inside my Heart, he always hides
My Panic Bird controls my steps
For his talons, tears I wept
My Panic Bird clamps my lips
Allowing my Love to stumble and slip
My Panic Bird has come back home.
To be with me, and me alone.
"For years writing had provided Plath with a means of reconciling her disparate selves, a tool for 'ordering and reordering the chaos of experience.' It was, Plath wrote, 'a religious act,' 'a reforming, a releaning, and reloving of people and the world as they are and as they might be.' In the end, however, even writing could not still 'the panic bird' that always fluttered near her heart." ~The New York Times
Sylvia Plath resided with the fear that her Panic Bird (mental instability) would descend upon her life, and fly away with her will to live. And eventually, it did. I understand her anxiety. You've been sick, but, suddenly, you're improving. Taking steps forward. But, in the corner of your eye, you can still see your Panic Bird lurking. Waiting for the right moment. The sight of that cruel Feathered Friend allows old fears to creep back in: What if all the pieces of your life fall apart? What if the people you love disappear? That's when your panic bird descends, you know. When everything starts falling apart. Panic Birds don't visit during joyful moments. Instead, he waits patiently until your entire life goes to hell in a hand basket. Then he pecks out what's left of your brain. My Panic Bird is hovering. I want assurances that this next year will be kind to me. That I will finally be happy. But there are no answers. I pray for assurances... I'm scared.