I wrote this poem after my last very frightening anaphylactic attack which got me whilst I was on my own, at home, in the middle of the snow in February last year.

Fear grips by Ruth Holroyd

My lips are tingling
I feel kind of odd
My brain is now jingling
Please help me God

First of all it’s the wheezing
My throat feels tight
I touch my face
And get quite a fright

It feels all puffy
My eyes are sore
My nose is streaming
I can’t take any more

I try to speak
My voice is gone
Just a croak is left
My throat blocked with stone

I call 999
“It’s alright, your call we can trace”
“Keep calm, stay on the line”
Tears rolling down my face

Out comes the Epipen
Sharp and bright
The needle in my thigh
Hold tight!

Fear grips me
I am struggling to breathe
The pain in my throat
Feels like a tightening sheathe

The itching skin
Bubbling with lumps
Unbearable burning
My stomach churning

How long will I wait now?
My throat is closing
I just feel so tired
Close my eyes and dozing

I begin to shake
Tears pour down my cheek
I quake and flake
I’m feeling so weak

I don’t want to die here
The panic swirls
I am losing control
I am sinking below

I feel so hot
I’m burning up
I cannot breathe
I cannot see

I close my eyes
And hear a sound
Hard soles on gravel
A door slams

A hand on my shoulder
A voice

On goes the mask
The blood pressure pump
Injections and needles
Questions, confusion

“It’s OK now Ruth.”
You’re going to be alright
I see myself in the mirror
What a fright!

Have you had an allergic reaction and had to use your EpiPen? What did it feel like? How did you feel?



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website http://whatallergy.com/ and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

6 Responses to A poem about having an anaphylactic attack…

  1. Cara_Voller


    I have never had an anaphylactic shock luckily but reading your poem made me scared for you and i know your OK!

    Reading your poem makes me feel sorry for everyone who goes through an anaphylactic shock.

    And thanks for another great poem!

    • Thanks Cara! I wrote it shortly after the last attack which really frightened me, I felt so helpless. Until you see someone having an attack you can’t ever imagine how truly terrifying it is to look death in the face.

  2. I can identify with all of your poem. My daughter, Alice, has had 3 anaphylactic shocks. One of the most frightening symptoms is the inability to breath and seeing her struggling for air. Also to see her little chest throbbing as her heart raced.

    This poem is very powerful and anyone who’s every had or witnessed an anaphylactic shock will totally identify with this.

  3. I almost died from an anaphylactic shock 34 months ago. I would like to share with you my story:


    • Thanks for sharing Evelyn. Your story brought a tear to my eye. Truly frightening and I cannot believe what you’ve been through. I have only has six anaphylactic attacks now and that’s too many. Stay safe!

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