• Leeds LGBT+ Literature Festival

Anxiety: A Snake Coiled Around my Chest

This poem is how I was experiencing anxiety at that time. The act of writing these feelings down, on focusing on the physical aspects, really helped clear my mind and find some calm for a period of time.


Content Warning: mental health/anxiety.


By Emily Metcalfe


Today, 10 October, is World Mental Health Day. There is an increased likelihood of having poor mental health in the LGBTQIA+ community. This is attributed to the issues faced by many LGBTQIA+ people such as discrimination and not feeling safe to be your authentic self.


At our Virtual LGBT+ Lit Fest in July earlier this year, we were joined by poet Louis Glazzard for an interactive poetry writing workshop. Louis helped me in focusing on the feelings behind what I wanted to write in a way that all my years at school never did. So when I was struggling with intense anxiety earlier this year, I decided to write down exactly what I was feeling. This poem is how I was experiencing anxiety at that time. The act of writing these feelings down, on focusing on the physical aspects, really helped clear my mind and find some calm for a period of time. A snake coiled around my chest, Lying heavily against my heart Like the punch of a fist. Dry scales scratching and scraping under my skin. Constantly moving, never settling or soothed. Squeezing around my throat, Hard to talk, hard to breathe. Body tensed to fight or run From what's inside.


Emily is the Founder and Chair for Leeds LGBT+ Literature Festival. She has been an activist and volunteer within the LGBT+, and more specifically the bi+, community for 7 years. Emily is a bi, demisexual and disabled queer book enthusiast with a goal to visit all the queer bookshops in the UK.

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